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Tyler Herro outdoes himself with 41 as shorthanded Heat hold off Rockets 111-108 to get to .500

The Miami Heat have been here before.

Quite literally here, as in location, predicament and time of year.

Last December, when COVID and injury ravaged the team’s roster, Erik Spoelstra found himself cobbling together a rotation against the Houston Rockets with the likes of Haywood Highsmith, Kyle Guy, Chris Silva and Nik Stauskas.

The Heat found a way that night at Toyota Center.

Thursday night, with Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon all out of the mix, the Heat again cobbled together both rotation and victory, this time a 111-108 decision over the Rockets at Toyota Center that evened their record at 15-15.

With Tyler Herro leading the way with a career-high 41 points and Jimmy Butler returning from his own night off with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, the Heat moved to 3-0 on this three-game trip that concludes Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City.

With a 4-0 trip, the Heat would move above .500 for the first time this season.

Fresh off of matching his career regular-season high of 35 in Wednesday night’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Herro this time closed 13 of 20 from the field, including 10 of 15 on 3-pointers.

As with last December’s win in Houston, there were complementary contributions across the board, including again from Highsmith, on a night 42-year-old Udonis Haslem started at center from the Heat.

Five Degrees of Heat from Thursday’s game:

1. Closing time: It was tied 29-29 after the first quarter, with the Heat moving to a 66-52 halftime lead. That 14-point lead was cut to 86-85 going into the fourth.

The Rockets then moved ahead in the fourth, before consecutive Herro 3-pointers staked the Heat to a 92-87 lead.

Houston then got back within three, but a Max Strus 3-pointer with 5:32 to play pushed the Heat lead to 109-99, with a Duncan Robinson basket following for a 12-point Heat lead with 4:54 left.

But with Butler missing a pair of free throws and committing a turnover, the Rockets moved within 111-106 with 2:55 to go.

Multiple misses followed on both ends, before Usman Garuba drew the Rockets within 111-108 with 41.2 seconds to play.

Ultimately, it came down to a Rockets timeout down three with 12.7 seconds left, with Kevin Porter off with a 3-pointer.

2. Herro again: A night after tying his career high with 35 points, Herro was up to 17 at the end of the first quarter and had 25 by halftime.

The 25 were his career high for a half, with the 17 tie for the fourth-highest scoring quarter of his four-year career.

Herro not only shot 4 of 6 on 3-pointers in the first period, but also converted all three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

At halftime, Herro was 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, with the rest of the roster 3 of 17.

Herro went into the fourth quarter with 33 points, with eight of the Heat’s 12 3-pointers at that stage.

It was the first instance of consecutive 35-point games from a Heat player since LeBron James did it in April 2014.

He became the fourth Heat player with at least 10 3-pointers in a game, joining Brian Shaw, Mario Chalmers and Duncan Robinson.

3. Butler back: Butler was back after resting on Wednesday. His immediate impact was six first-quarter rebounds.

Butler also was 5 of 7 from the line in the first half, the only Heat player other than Herro with more than one free throw in the first half.

Butler’s six first-half offensive rebounds tied his previous high for a game this season.

4. Taking a seat: While Lowry, Oladipo and Dedmon effectively were rested on the second night of the back-to-back set, Spoelstra said Adebayo has been dealing with ongoing ankle soreness, with it becoming more pronounced in Wednesday night’s victory.

“He’s been dealing with it a couple of games,” Spoelstra said. “If you saw him in the fourth quarter, like this was an easy decision for the head coach. I mean, he was laboring in the fourth, just gutting it out.

“Part of that was he got kicked really hard in the shin, when he got knocked down in the third quarter. But the ankle has been bothering him for a little amount of time.”

It was Adebayo’s third absence of the season, with the Heat 0-2 last month when he missed consecutive games with a bruised left knee.

5. So Haslem starts: Haslem made his first start since Aug. 14, 2000, the Heat’s meaningless regular-season finale while playing in the quarantine bubble at Disney World. It also was only Haslem’s third start since 2015-16.

Haslem went into Thursday night having played 24 minutes this season over four appearances.

As a matter of perspective, Haslem played collegiately against the father of Rockets center Jabari Smith Jr.

Haslem played the game’s first seven minutes and then the first four minutes of the second half, closing scoreless in those 11 minutes on 0-for-4 shooting, with two rebounds and a technical foul.

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Source: Berkshire mont

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