Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Miami has a new man on campus and his name is Tyler Herro. Put some respect on his name.
Herro scored a Heat rookie-record 37 points and Miami beat the Celtics 112-109 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Miami Heat rookie playoff record was 27 by Dwyane Wade in 2004; it now belongs to Herro, who scored 17 points in the fourth alone.
“He’s not a rookie anymore,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We need his skillset. Does that mean it’s going to translate into that kind of point production every night? No, it doesn’t. I mean, we’re not necessarily built like that. Tyler is able to generate a lot of offense on random situations, which you need against a very good defense.”
Boston shot exactly 8-for-20 in each of the first two quarters and that, combined with 11 turnovers, helped Miami go into the half with a 50-44 lead.
Jayson Tatum after going 0-for-7 started to heat up became a 6-for-7 finish to the third quarter for him, he had 16 of Boston’s 32 points in that period and the Celtics were within striking distance 77-76 going into the fourth quarter.
Tatum scored all 28 of his points in the second half for Boston. They trimmed a double-digit deficit to take a one-point lead in the fourth — then the Heat made some adjustments and the game away. Jaylen Brown had 21 points, Kemba Walker chipped in 20, Gordon Hayward scored 14 and Marcus Smart finished with 10 points and 11 assists.
“I didn’t score in the first half. That’s unacceptable,” Tatum said. “I know I have to play better. That’s what I tried to do.”
Brown’s trey with 16 seconds left trimmed Miami’s lead to 107-104. Herro went to the line 2.1 seconds later and hit both of them, stretching the lead back to five points. Boston got within two points twice, Butler made a free throw with 1.1 seconds remaining, and the Celtics — out of timeouts — never got the last shot off.
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Goran Dragic had 22 and Bam Adebayo — dealing with shoulder soreness — chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds to help Miami take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They can close it out Friday night in Game 5.
“At the end of the day, we got to find a way,” Walker said. “That’s really all we can do. We can do it. It’s about pride. It’s about wanting to do it. Next game we got to come out and show that.”
Daniel Theis scored with 8:44 left to put the Celtics up 85-84, the Celtics’ first lead since 25-24 with 11:19 left in the second quarter. It was Boston’s only lead in the second half and it lasted only 16 seconds. Adebayo scored to give the Heat the lead, and Herro basically carried the team from there.
“Herro’s shot-making tonight was the difference in the game,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “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.”
Game 5 is Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), and the Heat are one victory from advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.