The Heat, who won at a 49-win pace during the regular season, are one game away from making the NBA Finals, after their 112-109 Game 4 victory over the Celtics. The last below 50-win pace team to reach the Finals were the’03 New Jersey Nets – that’s how impressive Miami’s run has been.
The Heat were in control for the entirety of the contest, as they sealed the deal from the charity stripe, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. And despite the trio of Butler–Adebayo–Dragić once again coming up big for Miami, the story of the game was rookie Tyler Herro and his all-time great rookie playoff performance.
Herro finished the game with 37 points on 14-for-21 shooting from the field. Let’s put it into historical perspective:
- He’s the youngest player in NBA history to drop 30+ points coming off the bench in a postseason game.
- Tyler is one of four guys (Magic Johnson, Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings) to score 30 in the playoffs before turning 21.
- For guys 21 and under, Herro has the second-most points in a single playoff game, behind Magic’s 41.
- Herro also set the record for most points scored by a Miami rookie, beating D-Wade’s 27-point performance against the Hornets in ’04.
Mr. Herro was huge for the Heat in crunch time, hitting two free throws to put the Heat up by 5 with 13.9 left on the clock. Bucket had 17 points in the fourth, showing incredible swagger and confidence while draining one big shot after another.
That’s just who I am. I grew up like that, and I’m going to stay like that for as long as I’m in the league.Tyler Herro, ESPN
Jimmy Butler finished the game with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Goran Dragić added 22, with Bam Adebayo putting up a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, with only three other Heat players getting on the scoreboard.
The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum, who finished the contest with 28 points, despite going scoreless in the first 24 minutes of action. He went 10/16 from the field, 4/7 from 3, and 4/4 from the free-throw line in the 2nd half, keeping his team within striking distance, but not being able to get over the hump.
Jaylen Brown had 21, Kemba Walker added 20, and Marcus Smart had 10 points and 11 assists off the bench. Gordon Hayward provided a much-needed spark in nearly 30 minutes of play, adding 14 points and 7 rebounds, but the Celtics came up short and will face an elimination game on Friday. The way Miami is playing, it may end up being the C’s farewell game in the bubble.