The 20-year-old guard scored 37 points in a 112-109 win for his team, which now dominates the East final 3-1.
Miami Heat stayed one win from qualifying for the Finals of the NBA. This Wednesday, he left the Boston Celtics on the ropes in the definition of the Eastern Conference, by winning by 112 to 109. It was Tyler Herro’s big night, the young guard who already dares to take center stage and who advanced 3 to 1 to the Heat in the decisive series.
Herro, 20, performed well in the regular season. However, his explosion came in the Playoffs, in which he scored in double digits in the 13 games played so far.
This Wednesday was not just another game. The Milwaukee native achieved his best crop of points, by contributing 37 units for the victory of his team (66.7% in field goals, 50% in triples).
Only one player, the legendary Magic Johnson, scored higher than Herro at age 20 or younger in a postseason game: 42 points with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980 Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Herro, selected 13th in the draft, completed his roster with six rebounds and three assists in nearly 36 minutes of action.
The young star scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including two key free throws with 13.9 seconds to go, when the Celtics were just three points behind (107-104) desperately seeking a comeback.
“With him we’ve already been through that, he is no longer a rookie “He was praised by Miami coach Erick Spoelstra. “We need your skills.”
A little further behind was the work of Jimmy Butler, the great figure of the Heat, who had 24 points (3 in the last 10 seconds) and took 9 rebounds. Center Bam Adebayo added a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds and the experienced Slovenian Goran Dragic had 22 points.
Opaca was the performance of Jayson Tatum, the Boston star, despite finishing the game with 28 points.
“I didn’t score in the first half. That’s unacceptable“Tatum stressed.” We have to be better. We know what is at stake. We have to play a full game. It’s time to win or go home “added the forward, who also grabbed 9 rebounds, gave 4 assists, stole a ball and had 3 blocks.
Miami dominated the first two quarters, with sets of 24-23 and 26-21. But the Boston Celtics rallied in the ensuing period, in which they led the way in the result. And he started the last 12 minutes a single point behind his rival: 77-76.
Although a triple by Herro on the first play of the fourth increased the difference for the Heat, the suspense remained until the close of the game.
A 3-point hit by Jaylen Brown cut Miami’s lead to 107-104, with 16 seconds left. But Herro went to the line 2.1 seconds later and coldly scored a pair of free kicks, putting the lead back to five.
The Celtics got within two points a couple of times. However, Butler scored the second of two personnel pitches he took with 1.1 seconds left and left Boston without the option of attempting a last shot from outside the perimeter as they no longer had any timeouts available.
“Herro did a great job, his shot made a difference in the game,” said Brad Stevens, coach of the Celtics. “Herro was ridiculously good today. The hoop must have looked like an ocean. “
The fifth game will be played on Friday in the “bubble” of Orlando. That’s the night Miami fans are waiting to reach the NBA Finals, like in 2014.