When Erik Spoelstra first pulled Tyler Herro from the Miami Heat starting five, there was a little shock and awe. Maybe it was more from the fans who had grown a pseudo-crush on the baby-faced kid from Wisconsin.
Herro was a key starter during Miami’s improbable Finals run in the bubble. The 21-year-old averaged 16.0 points per game in the playoffs, including a 37-point performance in the Eastern Conference Finals. He was supposed to be a building block for the future, a second closer alongside All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. Then, Spoelstra unceremoniously dumped Herro from the starting five on Feb. 5. He was promised starter’s minutes, but he would get them off the bench.
On Thursday, Herro finally opened up about being benched and how the 2021 season has unfolded. While initially surprised by the demotion, the silky smooth jump shooter has taken it in stride. Whatever it takes to help the Heat win a championship.
“Definitely thought I would be starting,” Herro told reporters on Thursday, via Ira Winderman. “But I think as the season goes on, things change and I’m OK with coming off the bench right now and just continuing to do that.”
Fun Fact: Last night was the 16th time in his young career that @raf_tyler scored 20+ off the bench
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 2, 2021
And making big shots while seeing crunch-time minutes. Herro scored 19 points in a 27-minute stretch off the bench during Tuesday night’s loss. He drilled four 3-pointers in that one, just a few nights after putting up 29 points against Portland.
“I think they just trust me and I try to make winning plays,” Herro said. “I’m willing to take the big shots in the fourth quarter and I think they have confidence in me, and I think my teammates also trust me to go out there and try to win games.”
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Duncan Robinson Setting More Records
Herro was one of two “untouchable” players in the deadline deals for Nemanja Bjelica and Victor Oladipo. The other one? Duncan Robinson.
The undrafted three-point specialist has been the darling of Pat Riley’s eye and continues to reward his loyalty. The 26-year-old hit six treys on Saturday versus Cleveland and became the fastest player in NBA history to knock down 450 career three-pointers. He accomplished the feat in 138 games.
Fastest to 450 3-pointers, NBA history:
3. Trae Young, 177 games.
2. Luka Doncic, 171 games.
1. DUNCAN ROBINSON, 138 games.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 4, 2021
“It is always humbling when you’re able to write records in this league,” Robinson told reporters, via The Wolverine. “I most definitely have been a beneficiary of this current NBA, with the pace and space and three-point shooting. But I just try to go into my job and let those records fall where they may.”
Milestone for Heat Guard Goran Dragic
Robinson wasn’t the only Heat player making history. Point guard Goran Dragic vaulted into fifth place on the franchise’s all-time assist list (1,962) after jumping over Bimbo Coles. The Slovenian standout is now 18 assists away from tying LeBron James (1,980) for fourth, although well behind Dwyane Wade (5,310) for the top spot. Dragic recorded three assists during Miami’s 124-112 loss to Memphis on Tuesday night.
The Dragon has entered the top 5 of our all-time assists list 🐉
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 7, 2021
Next up for the Heat (26-25) is a Finals rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers (32-19) on April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Lakers are playing without All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis but new center Andre Drummond will return to the lineup. They have won two of their last three games while the Heat has won four of their last five contests. New center Dewayne Demond isn’t expected to suit up for Miami.