If the Boston Celtics targeted Tyler Herro in the 2019 NBA Draft, they have more reason than ever to lament their near miss.
Herro scored 37 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 112-109 win over the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday. The 21-year-old rookie put Miami up 3-1 and himself in the record book.
The only other player so young to score so much in a playoff game? Magic Johnson, who had 42 points in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals at age 20.
The Heat will look to reach the NBA Finals in Game 5 Friday. Teams leading a best-of-seven series 3-1 have won 95% of the time.
Miami’s big concern: Bam Adebayo, who hurt his wrist late in the game. Adebayo (20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals) played through the injury but appeared to be feeling it.
He and the Heat just kept grinding through everything, though.
Miami won despite shooting only 10-for-37 on 3-pointers (27%). Forget about make-or-miss league. The Heat willed themselves to victory with aggravating defense, hustle, rebounding… and, yes, big-time shot-making by Herro, who made 9-of-11 2-pointers and 5-of-10 3-pointers
The Celtics committed 19 turnovers – some forced by Miami, some self-inflicted. The Heat’s zone defense continues to make Boston uncomfortable, though Marcus Smart (10 points and 11 assists) found some success penetrating and kicking against it. Jaylen Brown (21 points and nine rebounds) knocked down some of those created looks.
After a scoreless first half, Jayson Tatum scored 28 points in the second half. Stephen Curry scored 33 second-half points after a scoreless first half in Game 6 against the Rockets last year. That’s the only time someone followed a scoreless first half with so many second-half points in the Basketball-Reference postseason database, which dates back to 1997.
But those successes weren’t sustained. Tatum (six), Smart (four) and Brown (four) all had too many turnovers.
This series is even by points scored. But Boston has been just a little too erratic, which is why Miami has the key 3-1 lead.