Heat guard Tyler Herro, who has been out since suffering a broken right hand in the Heat’s playoff opener, stated late Monday night that he intends to return to the game against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. When asked about TNT’s Chris Haynes’ allegation that Herro is eyeing a comeback in Game 3 in Miami on June 7, Herro answered, “We’ll see.” “I’m not sure.” The NBA Finals begin on Thursday in Denver, with Game 2 on Sunday in the same city. The Heat claimed Herro will be out for at least six weeks after hand surgery. The six-week milestone was reached this past Sunday, a day before Game 7 of the Celtics series.
“There’s still a little soreness in my hand,” Herro said. But it’s all just post-surgery scar tissue and such that I’m working through right now. I’d want to return for the Finals, but it all depends on how my hand feels. It feels great. “I’m in a good mood.” Herro was allowed to shoot and dribble with his surgically repaired hand only a week ago. However, he has yet to partake in a contact practise. “I’m going to be working out every day, twice, two, three times a day from here until the day I hopefully come back,” said Herro, who is travelling with the squad.
“So I’m going to keep working hard, see how my body responds day by day, and try to return as soon as possible.” Heat guard Gabe Vincent believes Herro’s return would be beneficial. “It’s great,” Vincent said. “Obviously, Tyler was a huge part of our team and he still is, on and off the court.” It’s been amazing having him around just as a voice and presence. It’s encouraging to watch him put in effort and improve.”
What has it been like for Herro to see this team reach the Finals, putting him in a position to return? “I had a feeling we’d be back in the Finals after we won in Milwaukee,” he remarked. “It’s been one hell of a ride.” To be on the safe side, I’ve gone on every road trip and have been a part of everything thus far. Being here with the crew has been fantastic. It’s been nice to watch the boys gather around one other. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to play again this season.”
“We play there once a year, so we don’t really have much experience,” Herro said of dealing with the altitude in Denver, where the Heat hasn’t won since 2016. This year, we played in Mexico City, which had a greater altitude than Denver. But, you know, you can feel it. It’s definitely an adjustment. But our squad is ready for anything at this stage. I can see us attempting to steal one or two as we did in Game 1 and 2 here [in Boston].”
In 67 games (all starts), Herro averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He hit 43.9 percent from the field, 37.8 percent on three-pointers, and 93.4 percent from the free throw line, which led the NBA and established a Heat record. He also became the first player in NBA history to hit at least 40 free throws without missing a single one in the fourth quarter.
Herro, 23, has averaged 17.7 points per game in 242 games (100 starts) over four NBA seasons. AND THEN WHAT?
After the game, Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted “Three Percent” – a reference to ESPN’s analytics department giving Miami a 3 percent probability of winning the series. The Heat have an 11.3 percent probability of beating Denver in the NBA Finals, according to ESPN’s analytics department. Caleb Martin, a Heat winger, scored 135 points on 60 percent shooting in the series versus Boston. According to CBS Sports, just six players in the last 40 years have scored more points on 60 percent shooting in a conference finals: Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shawn Kemp, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Dwight Howard. This playoffs, the Heat had seven undrafted players compete in a game, the most of any NBA Finals team since 1966.
The Heat have made the most NBA Finals appearances (seven) in the last 18 years, one more than Golden State. The Heat became just the second eighth-seed to reach the NBA Finals, after the 1999 Knicks, who were defeated by the Spurs.
According to ESPN, the Heat became the third club in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals despite finishing bottom in the league in scoring during the regular season. According to ESPN, the Heat have now won 41 straight playoff games while leading by at least ten points at halftime, which is the second-longest record in NBA history, behind only the Lakers (63 from 1985 to 2008). Miami’s previous defeat was against the Knicks in 2000, when it led by as much as ten points at halftime. At halftime of Game 7 on Monday, the Heat lead 52-41.