Herro was masterful Wednesday night, extending his scoring range from inside and out, he picked apart the Celtics’ defense, found open teammates in transition, and was constantly active away from the ball – which ultimately led to high percentage looks.
Herro’s game-high 37 points propelled the Heat to a 112-109 Game 4 victory, giving them a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series. Miami is now one win away from the NBA Finals.
Herro became the youngest player in franchise history to score 37 points in a playoff game. He put together a dominating performance before he sat with reporters and told them that none of it would have been possible without a very important teammate.
“Ever since I’ve been in Miami, Jimmy’s (Butler) been the biggest influence for me,” Herro said after Game 4. “And he continues to teach me and help me.”
Herro, a rookie who always fed off of his underdog persona, was raising eyebrows in a small gym at Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wisconsin before de-committing to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and signing a letter of intent to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. It was considered to be a risky move for Herro, a freshman who would have to earn playing time at a powerhouse program such as Kentucky and he took a chance on himself.
One year later, Herro says that chance has led to him continuing to take that bet over and over again.
“I’m just going to bet on myself, I’ve been doing that my whole life,” Herro stated. “I went from a small town in Milwaukee to Kentucky, nobody thought I would survive there and nobody thought I’d survive here so at the end of the day; it’s just betting on myself. Obviously, there’s a lot of factors play into it but at the end of the day I’m just going to bet on myself and that’s what I do; bet on myself.”
Tyler Herro: ‘Without Jimmy, I Probably Wouldn’t Be Doing This As A Rookie
Butler, who signed with the Heat last summer as a free agent, has taken on a mentor-like role in Miami. Eric Spoelstra’s roster is a good blend of veterans like Butler, Goran Dragic, and Jae Crowder in the fold while youngers like Duncan Robinson and rookies like Herro and Kendrick Nunn have made shockwaves around the league at one point or another this season.
Nunn was a front-runner for Rookie of the Year at the beginning of the season and ultimately finished third, Robinson is now regarded as arguably the NBA’s most impressive shooter while Herro could be the conference finals blow that the Celtics never come back from. The Heat rookie says the success we’re seeing from the younger Heat players is a testament to the trust instilled by Miami’s vets.
“Obviously, the coaches have trust in me but like coach said, the biggest thing is; my teammates from top to bottom trust me from the oldest guy to the youngest guy, and that’s big,” Herro said. “Not all vets are like that. And they really shine a light on me.”
According to Herro, no one’s light shines brighter than Butler’s.
“Jimmy, ever since I got here he’s been like a big brother to me and he’s shined a light on me,” Herro explained. “He’s taught me a lot of things, just continuing to get on me whether it’s something I want to hear or not he’s going to tell me what I need to hear and I appreciate him for that. Like I said before, without Jimmy, I probably wouldn’t be doing this as a rookie.”
Jimmy Butler: ‘I Am Proud Of The Kid, He Cares’
Herro finished the night 14-of-21, including 5-of-10 from deep to go with 6 rebounds. Dragic (24) and Butler (22) each scored over 20+ points.
“He’s always going to do what he’s asked to do and he’s gonna keep coming back to be better,” Butler said of Herro with a smile. “I can tell you over and over again how proud I am of the kid, he cares. He wants to win. He does whatever you ask him to do. I probably like his brothers more than I like him, to tell you the truth but you know, you got those guys who are scoring the points for us, me, that guy, Goran and Tyler I think it makes it a lot easier.
“We’re not turning the ball over, we’re getting shots on the goal. (If) we play like that? Good things happen.”