Tyler Herro not only back, but back at the forefront for the Heat

MIAMI – Tyler Herro has found his continuity. The rest of the Miami Heat rotation? Still somewhat of an abstract.

After playing 48 minutes in Tuesday night’s dramatic double-overtime road victory over the Atlanta Hawks, Herro not only was back at it for 35:40 in Wednesday night’s costly 111-92 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but again led the way for the Heat offense.

“I feel great,” said Herro, who scored 21 points against Dallas after scoring 33 in Atlanta. “You know, I’m just happy to be out here playing again.”

Having made his return in last Friday’s road victory over the Houston Rockets, Herro has played 25, 31, 48 and 36 minutes in his four games after missing 20, still dealing with lingering tendinitis in his right foot.

“I was out for so long, with the injuries, I was just lagging and lingering on, continuing to linger on, so I’m happy to be out here,” he said, with the Heat turning their attention to Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors, the first of two home games against the Raptors to close out the regular season.

To Herro, moving pieces, including himself, have led to this moment of desperation in the playoff race.

“Ultimately,” he said, “we have to figure out a way that we can try to play at somewhat the same identity on the offensive end game to game. I feel like right now, it’s kind of just been changing game to game and it doesn’t help that we don’t have all of our guys.”

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The current uncertainty is the neck spasms of guard Terry Rozier, who has missed the past two games.

“I’m obviously a big part of that,” Herro said of the muddled rotation. “I was out for two months, almost. It’s not easy for us and it definitely isn’t easy on our coaching staff, because half the time they don’t even know who’s playing.”

To put into perspective the time missed by Herro, Wednesday night was his first action at Kaseya Center since the Feb. 11 Super Bowl Sunday loss to the Boston Celtics.

With his two 3-pointers, Herro extended his streak of games with at least one to 32 consecutive appearances, tying the longest such streak of his career, one that began in August 2020 in the pandemic quarantine bubble at Disney World. Herro has converted 102 3-pointers over his current 32-game streak.

Butler concerns

At a moment of truth, Jimmy Butler closed Wednesday night’s loss 5 of 8 from the field, attempting only five two-points shots, while also closing 2 of 3 on 3-pointers.

In addition, it was the first time this season he did not get to the foul line, a night after he was 12 of 12 on free throws in the double-overtime victory in Atlanta.

“We all understand how important it is to get Jimmy going,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Our team understands it. Jimmy understands it. The head coach understands it.

Butler scored just four points in Wednesday night’s second half.

“Some night like this,” Spoelstra said of Wednesday’s loss, “you’re just going to have to figure out a way to get it done and he’ll muster up what he needs to do down the stretch.”

Injury report

The Heat’s injury report remains largely copacetic for Friday night against the Raptors, with Rozier listed as questionable for a third consecutive game due to neck spasms, having missed the past two.

Guard Duncan Robinson, who has missed the past two games with a recurring back issue, is listed as out.

Remaining out is guard Josh Richardson, who is recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery.

All other players are listed as available.