Rookie Tyler Herro scored a career-high 37 points, Jimmy Butler added 24 and the Heat held off the Boston Celtics 112-109 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday (Sept 23), moving Miami within one win of a National Basketball Association Finals berth.
Herro, 20, made 14 of 21 shots off the bench to continue his dynamic playoff run as the Heat grabbed a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Goran Dragic had 22 points, and Bam Adebayo added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 28 points, all coming in the second half, and Jaylen Brown had 21. Kemba Walker scored 20, Gordon Hayward 14 and Marcus Smart had 10 points and 11 assists.
Miami will get the chance to close out the series in Game 5 on Friday.
Unlike in each of the first three games, when the Heat fell behind by double digits, Miami opened up a 58-46 lead early in the third quarter. Prior to that run, the Heat’s largest lead of the series was eight.
Tatum, scoreless on six shots in the first half, came to life with 16 points in the period as the Celtics got within 77-76 entering the fourth quarter.
Boston surged ahead for the first time since 11min 5sec into the second quarter on a Daniel Theis dunk with 8:51 to go in the game. An Adebayo basket and five points from Herro to reach 30 on the night put Miami up 91-85.
The Heat upped their advantage to 98-90 on Herro’s fifth three-pointer with 4:09 left. Brown hit a trey and Smart added a lay-up to get the Celtics within three, but Dragic and Butler each made short buckets to reset the margin to seven.
After Tatum hit a trey, Dragic responded from deep and Herro added a lay-up to put Miami up by nine with 56.2 seconds remaining. Boston got within three again on a Brown three-pointer with 16 seconds to go, but free throws by Herro and Butler helped Miami hold on.
Hayward hit a pair of free throws to tie the score at 40 with 3:38 left in the first half. The Heat responded with a 10-4 run to lead 50-44 at the break.