Well, we certainly got a show on Wednesday night, didn’t we?
With both squads rested after getting Monday off in their regular game/day off rotation, we got to watch a Game 4 played largely with a single digit margin for the majority of the 48 minutes. At the end, though, it was the Miami Heat, thanks to a 37 point performance off the bench from rookie Tyler Herro, that got the win and moved themselves to a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.
After a first half that was mostly led by Miami other than three Boston leads and a few ties, the Heat came out of the locker room bringing the Heat and building a lead. It was 50-44 favoring Miami at halftime, but Jimmy Butler made it an eight point game on the first bucket of the third quarter. The lead apexed for the game when Goran Dragic sank a three at the 8:51 mark to make it 58-46. And yet, essentially, the rest of the quarter was all Boston as Jayson Tatum woke up from his oh-fer in the first half to score 16 points in the final seven minutes of the third quarter. His last bucket of the frame came with just five seconds left and pulled Boston within one, 77-76.
Boston’s energy would end up carrying them to an 85-84 lead with 8:51 to play as Daniel Theis flushed a feed from Jaylen Brown. 39-26 isn’t going to impress a lot of people in terms of a run, but that’s what the C’s did to put this game back in doubt.
People who didn’t doubt the outcome at this point? Tyler Herro. 12 of his game high 37 came after that Theis dunk. His buckets over the final eight minutes and change kept coming when Miami needed a bucket to grow their lead, and he kept providing. It looked like the Heat were going to be able to pull away as Herro gave them a 107-98 lead with under a minute to go, but a turnover by Dragic and a couple of replay reviews in Boston’s favor gave the Celtics multiple cracks at the rim, and a Brown triple with 16 seconds left made it 107-104. Who went to the rim and drew the foul? Tyler Herro, and he sank both to make it 109-104.
It wasn’t quite over, as Kemba Walker induced a shooting foul on a three, and hit his throws with under 10 seconds to go, but Butler made up for his miscue by sinking his critical throws with six seconds to play to give Miami a four point advantage. That was the space they needed, and that was that.
While Herro was going bonkers for all kinds of points, Jimmy Butler quietly did Jimmy Butler things, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block. He was only 8-for-20 from the field, but he did sink eight of his nine attempts from the stripe. Jae Crowder had only three points on 1-for-9 shooting and 1-for-7 from long range, which definitely explains why head coach Erik Spoelstra had him on the bench late. Crowder did add three rebounds and three assists, plus a block, too.
Up Next: Game 5 is Friday night, and Miami will be looking to close out the series and advance to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in franchise history. The wild part about it is that it would be their sixth Finals appearance since 2006 and it would be done with three different core constructions. Anyway, that’s a conversation for a different time, as the Heat need to actually win the series. Game 5 is scheduled for a 7:30pm Central Time tipoff, and ESPN will have the broadcast.