Rozier in recovery mode. And Heat chatter on Herro, Martin, Adebayo, Love, Highsmith/Tatum

When the Heat acquired Terry Rozier from Charlotte in January, Erik Spoelstra spoke excitedly about the possibilities of a Rozier/Tyler Herro backcourt.

But they ended up playing just 188 minutes over 11 games together, and it’s highly questionable if that number will increase before Miami’s postseason ends.

According to a source, Rozier’s neck injury – which has sidelined him the past six games – hasn’t fully healed, sidelining him for the start of the Heat-Celtics series that begins Sunday in Boston (1 p.m., ABC).

Rozier -- who spent his first four NBA seasons with Boston -- is expected to miss at least another week, potentially longer. While there has been some improvement, he’s considered “week to week.”

The Heat is listing the injury as neck spasms.

The injury is not considered career-threatening, according to a source. That’s sometimes a concern with neck injuries.

As for Herro, this postseason is meaningful for him after missing all but the first half of the first playoff game last year due to a broken hand.

“For me, it feels great,” Herro said. “Not being healthy last year, to [now] have this opportunity again, similar situation, means a lot.”

Beyond dealing with injuries the past two postseasons, Herro missed 40 games this season due to ankle and foot injuries. He spoke of that adversity late Friday night, after delivering an impactful 24-point, 10-rebound, 9-assist game in a 112-91 play-in win against Chicago. Herro, incidentally, has one career triple double – in November 2022 against Atlanta.

“I’m big on believing everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Let things play out. I feel I’m going to have my opportunity at one point, and I felt [Friday] was one step in that direction to… prove this young, quote unquote, core [is good].”

His performance Friday included a behind-the-back pass that traveled from the paint to the corner and resulted in a Caleb Martin three-pointer.

“That was lucky,” Herro said. “I didn’t even know I could do that.”

The Heat outscored the Bulls by 32 points in Herro’s 33 minutes; that was his best plus/minus of the season.

Herro finished the regular season averaging career highs in points (20.8) and assists (4.5), while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 39.6 percent on threes. He had nine assists in each of the two play-in games, and his playmaking has been particularly helpful.

This is “a great opportunity for Tyler,” Bam Adebayo said. “We need him to be himself because that’s his best version. I feel like we will win games when he’s his best version.”


Look for the Heat to use Haywood Highsmith some on Celtics star Jayson Tatum. Going back to last season’s playoffs, Tatum has made only five of his last 23 field goal attempts when defended by Highsmith.

What’s the key to defending Tatum?

“Just got to be physical with him, make him uncomfortable,” Highsmith said late Friday night. “Don’t let him get his rhythm dribbles. Don’t let him get into his rhythm too much, getting into his step backs. Making it uncomfortable, messing with his timing on his dribbles and trying to get to the basket.”

Tatum finished seventh in the NBA in scoring this season at 26.9 per game, while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 37.6 percent on threes.

This season, Highsmith limited the player he defended to 44.9 percent shooting; those players shot 46.7 percent against everyone else.


The Celtics, when they’re on defense, will undoubtedly be more aware of Martin after he averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in the Eastern Conference finals against them last season. He shot 60.2 percent from the field and 22 of 45 (48.9 percent) from three-point range.

What allowed him to flourish in that series?

“Part of it was I’m sure I was not on the scouting report,” he said. “Leaving guys open. You take stuff like that as disrespect. Some guys use it as fuel to the fire. Those opportunities come. you can’t be scared of moments and knock down some shots.

Does he expect to be on the scouting report for this series? “I’m assuming so, but you never know,” he said.


Among the interesting subplots of Friday’s play-in game was Spoelstra having his center, Adebayo, guard Bulls swingman and top scorer DeMar DeRozan. That’s an assignment Jimmy Butler - who’s out several weeks with a knee injury - would typically handle.

“Another day in the office,” Adebayo said of guarding DeRozan. “Coach trusted me to defend their star player as a center; [that] speaks a lot to who you are and what you bring to the team.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr. marveled at Adebayo’s ability to guard any position.

“One guy goes down, Bam comes up and steps up to the challenge and takes it head on,” Jaquez said. “That’s inspiring to us as teammates. That’s not something that he really does, but he can do….

“I mean, I think he’s the Defensive Player of the Year in the league. He showed it again [Friday] why that’s the case, guarding everyone from bigs to DeMar DeRozan on the wing. I think he’s just absolutely incredible and the presence is really felt and he really anchors us on the defensive end. To be able to have a guy like that is just a blessing.”

Now Adebayo will be needed some against Celtics 7-2 center Kristaps Porzingis, who averaged 21 points per game and shot 37.5 percent on threes this season.

“Porzingis can really space the floor, is shooting the ball at a high clip,” Adebayo said.

▪ Along with missing Butler and Rozier for Game 1 on Sunday, the Heat listed Duncan Robinson as questionable for the contest because of his lingering back injury.

▪ In Friday’s win against Chicago, Kevin Love became the first player in NBA history with at least 15 points, at least seven rebounds and at least 10 made free throws in 12 minutes or less, per HoobsHabit’s Simon Sperling and Statshead.

▪ ABC will carry Game 1 of Heat-Celtics, with lead team Mike Breen, Doris Burke and JJ Redick on the call. Bally Sports Sun will carry every first-round Heat game that’s not on ABC, beginning with Game 2, which will also be on TNT.