Tyler Herro outdoes himself with 41 as depleted Heat hold off Rockets 111-108 to get to .500 – The Denver Post


The Miami Heat have been here before.

Quite literally here, as in location, predicament and time of year.

Last December, when COVID and injury ravaged the team’s roster, Erik Spoelstra found himself cobbling together a rotation against the Houston Rockets with the likes of Haywood Highsmith, Kyle Guy, Chris Silva and Nik Stauskas.

The Heat found a way that night at Toyota Center.

Thursday night, with Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon all out of the mix, the Heat again cobbled together both rotation and victory, this time a 111-108 decision over the Rockets at Toyota Center that evened their record at 15-15.

“It’s been inspiring on this road trip to see additional guys step up,” Spoelstra said.

But the constant the past two nights has been Tyler Herro.

A night after matching his career regular-season scoring high of 35 points, including the game-winning basket, against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Herro this time went for 41 points.

“Tyler was fantastic again,” Spoelstra said.

Herro’s night included 10-of-15 shooting on 3-pointers, tying the franchise record of Brian Shaw, Mario Chalmers and Duncan Robinson for conversions.

“I didn’t have any intention of coming in for the record,” Herro said with a smile.

Asked when he felt the hot hand might still be there, Herro stole Kevin Durant’s line of, “when I woke up.”

The Heat also had Jimmy Butler returning from his own night off with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

“He settles us,” Spoelstra said.

With the victory, the Heat moved to 3-0 on this three-game trip that concludes Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City. With a 4-0 trip, the Heat would move above .500 for the first time this season.

As with last December’s win in Houston, there were complementary contributions across the board, including nine points and six rebounds from center Orlando Robinson, who just this week was recalled from the G League, and again from Highsmith, who closed with eight points and seven rebounds, on a night 42-year-old Udonis Haslem started at center from the Heat.

Five Degrees of Heat from Thursday’s game:

1. Closing time: It was tied 29-29 after the first quarter, with the Heat moving to a 66-52 halftime lead. That 14-point lead was cut to 86-85 going into the fourth.

The Rockets then moved ahead in the fourth, before consecutive Herro 3-pointers staked the Heat to a 92-87 lead.

Houston then got back within three, but a Max Strus 3-pointer with 5:32 to play pushed the Heat lead to 109-99, with a Robinson basket following for a 12-point Heat lead with 4:54 left.

The Heat would not score again, winning it on defense.

“What it signifies to me,” Spoelstra said, “is hopefully we’re buying into our identity.”

2. Herro again: A night after tying his career high with 35 points, Herro was up to 17 at the end of the first quarter and had 25 by halftime.

The 25 were his career high for a half, with the 17 tie for the fourth-highest scoring quarter of his four-year career.

At halftime, Herro was 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, with the rest of the roster 3 of 17.

Herro went into the fourth quarter with 33 points, with eight of the Heat’s 12 3-pointers at that stage.

It was the first instance of consecutive 35-point games from a Heat player since LeBron James did it in April 2014.

“We get out of here with the dub and keep it moving,” Herro said.

Teammates had no problem taking it all in.

“It’s always exciting to see Tyler get rolling,” Butler said.

3. Butler back: Butler was back after resting on Wednesday. His immediate impact was six first-quarter rebounds.

Butler also was 5 of 7 from the line in the first half, the only Heat player other than Herro with more than one free throw in the first half.

Butler’s six first-half offensive rebounds tied his previous high for a game this season.

“This was a very important win for us on the road,” Butler said.

4. Taking a seat: While Lowry, Oladipo and Dedmon effectively were rested on the second night of the back-to-back set, Spoelstra said Adebayo has been dealing with ongoing ankle soreness, with it becoming more pronounced in Wednesday night’s victory.

“He’s been dealing with it a couple of games,” Spoelstra said. “If you saw him in the fourth quarter, like this was an easy decision for the head coach. I mean, he was laboring in the fourth, just gutting it out.

“Part of that was he got kicked really hard in the shin, when he got knocked down in the third quarter. But the ankle has been bothering him for a little amount of time.”

It was Adebayo’s third absence of the season, with the Heat 0-2 last month when he missed consecutive games with a bruised left knee.

5. So Haslem starts: Haslem made his first start since Aug. 14, 2000, the Heat’s meaningless regular-season finale while playing in the quarantine bubble at Disney World. It also was only Haslem’s third start since 2015-16.

Haslem went into Thursday night having played 24 minutes this season over four appearances.

As a matter of perspective, Haslem played collegiately against the father of Rockets center Jabari Smith Jr.

Haslem played the game’s first seven minutes and then the first four minutes of the second half, closing scoreless in those 11 minutes on 0-for-4 shooting, with two rebounds and a technical foul.



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