It was a slightly scary last minute of play on Sunday night when Tyler Herro tweaked his ankle during a 120-107 win. The Miami Heat scorer told reporters he was “feeling fine” after the game and iced down his injured foot. No one expects it to be an issue for the playoffs.
“We feel really good as a team,” Herro said. “We’re in a great spot. We have a great matchup coming up in the first round.”
The Heat will take on the Milwaukee Bucks in a pseudo-rematch of last year’s second-round matchup. Miami won that series in five games, but everyone understands these are entirely different teams in 2021.
For Herro, it’s a chance to return to his hometown of Milwaukee and play in front of family and friends. He didn’t have the opportunity to travel last year when the two squads met in the playoffs due to COVID-19 protocols. They were stranded in the Orlando bubble.
“I’m excited, obviously last year we weren’t able to fly back and forth between Miami and Milwaukee,” Herro said. “But it’s still my home city and I’m excited to be able to go back. I’m excited to be able to have a couple of days there, but you know it’s going to be all business. It’s a business trip, and we’re going out there and take care of business.”
Herro finished with 16 points and dished out a career-high 11 assists in the regular-season finale. Miami rested several key players against Detroit, including Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Dewayne Dedmon.
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Heat Coach Enjoyed ‘Extraordinary Experience’
It was a weird 2021 basketball season, to say the least. Miami was hit hard early in the year by COVID-19 protocols, with eight players being sidelined at one point in January. Erik Spoelstra’s crew never complained and fought through those setbacks before earning the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. The head coach thinks the Heat are stronger for it.
“It was an extraordinary experience to be able to through a season like this,” Spoelstra told reporters. “I think we all grew from it. From the regular season and all the different challenges, and all the things that were much different than in previous years, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed that challenge. I enjoyed the unpredictability and newness of this kind of season.
“And I think a lot of people and teams around the league are experiencing something similar and I’m grateful that I was able to go through that experience with this locker room. And now that is all behind us and this is the best time of year, the playoffs … and the best competition.”
Duncan Robinson Discusses Team Identity
Heat shooting guard Duncan Robinson — yes, the guy possibly looking at $20 million per year — shared what the Heat have to do to make a lengthy postseason run. It all starts with establishing their identity, particularly on the defensive end.
Case in point, Miami’s dominating 106-94 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last week. Udonis Haslem set the tone and everyone else fed off his energy. They’ll need to bring that type of aggressive mentality into their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“When we play to our identity, we’re really tough to beat,” Robinson said. “When we’re at our best version, we’re making it tough on teams by protecting the paint, flying around on defense, and being disruptive on that end. And then getting out and sharing the ball and scoring, so when we play like that, we can be tough to beat. That’s probably the biggest takeaway.”
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