Tyler Herro the hero for Heat in Game 4

Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro had 37 points, six rebounds and three assists to lead his team past the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

Herro put his stamp on the game from start to finish, and the Heat edged the Celtics 112-109.

The 20-year-old shooting guard had the highest-scoring game ever by an NBA rookie in the conference finals, topping Andrew Toney’s 35 points for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1981.

Herro sank 5 of 10 3-pointers and 14 of 21 shots from the field. The only 20-year-old who had a higher-scoring playoff performance? A guy named Magic Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers with 42 points in their title-clinching Game 6 of the 1980 Finals.

In an interview with ESPN after the game, Tyler Herro said: “I feel good about it. There’s a lot of work to be done. We’re up 3-1, big win for us tonight We feel like we could’ve won Game 3, came out with more energy tonight.

“Credit to my teammates and coaches, we got the job done.”

Game 5 is on Friday at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Solid start

The Miami Heat led 50-44 at halftime, then held off the Boston Celtics down the stretch. For the Heat, avoiding a poor start was one of the three key adjustments for Game 4.

Fellow University of Kentucky alum Bam Adebayo contributed a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) for Miami, while Jimmy Butler had 24 points and nine boards.

Top Celtics performers

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum had a team-best 28 points, but he was held scoreless in the first half.

After the game, Tatum said “that’s unacceptable.”

“I know I have to play better,” Tatum told reporters. “That’s what I tried to do.”

Other top performers for Boston included Jaylen Brown (21 points), Kemba Walker (20), Gordon Hayward (14) and Marcus Smart, who had 10 points with 11 assists.

Coach Stevens’ assessment

In analyzing how Game 4 materialized, Boston coach Brad Stevens praised Tyler Herro’s performance.

“Herro’s shot-making tonight was … the difference in the game,” Stevens declared, according to published reports. “Jimmy was great late. Adebayo was his typical self. Dragic made some big plays. But Herro was ridiculously good tonight. That rim must have looked like the ocean to him.”

Coach Spoelstra’s comments

Describing Tyler Herro’s overall performance as a rookie so far, Erik Spoelstra summed it up this way on Wednesday: “He has a great competitive humility about him. He has a confidence. He has a fearlessness that is uncommon. But he’s humble enough to work, to be coachable, to take the mentorship from the veteran players that we have on our team, and he just continues to gain more confidence as we go.”

Tyler Herro background

The Heat selected Tyler Herro with the 13th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He attended the University of Kentucky for one season.

In the regular season, Herro started eight of his 55 games and averaged 13.5 points.

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