By Ollie Nash
Tyler Herro's name is forever in the history books after his breakout performance. Photo: NBA
The Miami Heat have taken a commanding 3-1 lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to the first ever “Tyler Herro playoff game,” but not without a late scare from the Celtics.
The rookie poured in 37 points on 14-21 shooting from the field and 5-10 from the three-point line to propel the Heat to a 112-109 win, their 11th of these playoffs from 13 games.
In a game where defence was king and neither team could hit consistent threes, Herro was a class above, with the 20-year-old leading the way. Boston eventually finished 14-40 from the arc, but Miami went just 10-37 from deep. This was still a big improvement from their three-quarter time numbers, Boston entering the fourth 9-29 and Miami 6-26 from the three.
Both teams’ stars were superb. Despite going scoreless in the first half, Jayson Tatum caught fire to pour in 16 third quarter points, finishing with 28. Kemba Walker (20), Jaylen Brown (21) and Gordon Hayward off the bench (14) were great in a losing effort for Boston.
Jimmy Butler (24), Bam Adebayo (20) and Goran Dragic (22) were a handy supporting cast for Herro on the Miami side.
As has been the case for the Heat throughout these playoffs, despite leading the entire game, it was never a blowout and Boston were in the game across all four quarters. A game-high 12-point lead for the Heat early in the third was quickly back to six, and it stayed around that mark for the remainder of the contest.
With 56-seconds left in the fourth quarter Miami took a nine-point lead off a Herro layup and the game was seemingly over. However, back-to-back threes from Tatum and Brown bought the game back to just three points with 16-seconds remaining.
Back and forth free throws finished the game, with Daniel Theis’s full-court pass to Brown for a last second three attempt being broken up and time running out.
Jimmy Butler and Jaylen Brown for excellent for their respective sides in Game 4. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Turnovers proved costly for Boston, they had 19 for the game which led to 17 Miami points. In comparison, Miami committed just eight for nine Celtics points. In a game where shooting numbers and other statistics were so even, turnovers proved to be the difference.
The turning point of the game came late in the second term. Miami moved to their zone that has proved so effective in these playoffs and did so again tonight. Dragic finished off a four-point play to give Miami a six-point lead and a nice buffer.
Boston was never out of it though and after some Tatum magic in the third, they took a one-point lead with just under nine minutes to play. This was their first since leading 25-24 in the first quarter.
An Adebayo dunk and five-straight points to Herro quickly gave Miami that six-point buffer again however, which they never relinquished.
Miami will now look to advance to their first NBA Finals since 2014 with a win on Saturday, kicking off at 10:30 am AEDT time on ESPN.
Cover Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports