Good morning, folks. The Bucket was filling it up on Wednesday night. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – MIA leads 3-1
Calm, cool, and collected.
Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro has never once looked phased by the situation in his first-ever NBA playoff run. If anything, the 20-year old has performed like a 28-year old, playing under control during important moments and knowing when to attack on offense. Herro was absolutely magnificent during Game 4 on Wednesday night and played arguably the best stretch of basketball of his life thus far. The one-time Wildcat finished his night with a career-high 37 points, the most EVER by a rookie coming off the bench in a Conference Finals game. Herro was wildly efficient from the floor, shooting at a 14-21 clip including a 5-10 mark from deep. 17 of his 37 points came in a critical fourth quarter, where Miami barely held off the Boston Celtics to secure an important 112-109 win. Herro’s biggest shot of the night came with roughly four minutes left in the game: a 29-foot bomb in the eye of Celtics defender Marcus Smart that gave Miami a 98-90 lead. He would later ice the game away with a pair of free-throws to gave the Heat a five-point lead that they would ultimately hang onto.
Herro was all about his Buckets in the fourth quarter, but played the part of offensive general in the minutes leading up to his epic scoring exhibition. We’ve said it before, but he is anything but just a shooter. While shooting the rock might be his best overall attribute right now, his passing intelligence is years beyond where it should be and his confidence is higher than most 10-year veterans. Herro added six rebounds and three assists to his stat line, too. He became the youngest player since Magic Johnson to record at least 37 points in a playoff game.
“My teammates from top-to-bottom trust me,” Herro said after Game 4. “Without my teammates, I don’t think any of that would be possible.”
A career high 37 points couldn't have come at a better time for @raf_tyler!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 24, 2020
“I can tell you over and over again how proud I am of the kid,” Jimmy Butler said about Herro, according to The Athletic. “He cares. He does whatever you ask him to do.
“He listens, he’s learning and he just wants to win. So he’s going to continue to get better. Obviously, he’s a rookie, but I tell you, whenever he’s out there on the floor, the swag that he plays with, the moves that he makes, you’d think he’s been in the league for 10-plus (years).”
Herro has scored in double-figures in all 13 of his postseason games, including 59 total points over the last outings.
Helping protect the paint on the other end of the floor for Miami, Bam Adebayo was brilliant once again for the Heat, dropping 20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals while shooting 7-11 from the field. Despite a minor injury to his wrist in the fourth quarter, Adebayo played a near-flawless game. He continues to showcase a developed jump shot–even drilling a fadeaway jumper at one point from about 10-feet away–and was unstoppable as the final line of defense in Miami’s 2-3 zone. The Heat managed to turn the Celtics over 19 times in Game 4, mostly thanks to the effects of the zone, compared to only eight miscues for Miami. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart all recorded at least four turnovers for Boston. The Celtics actually shot better from the floor than Miami (47.6 percent compared to Miami’s 42.9 percent) and the perimeter (35 percent from 3 compared to Miami’s 27 percent) but posting a minus-11 in the turnover column against a defensive-minded team like the Heat proved to be a quick death sentence.
Speaking of Tatum, it took him until the second half before he finally announced himself to the game. He was held scoreless in the first half for just the second time in his postseason career, missing all seven of his shot attempts. However, coming out of the intermission, he couldn’t miss if he tried. The former Dukie poured in 28 points all in the final 24 minutes of game action, helping erase a double-digit Heat lead and eventually pulling ahead for a brief moment in the fourth quarter before Miami countered.
Enes Kanter did not make an appearance for the Celtics and has played just 15 minutes through four games thus far.
Game 5 is set for Friday evening. My body is ready.
|Tyler Herro (MIA)||112-109 W vs. BOS||37||14-21 (5-10)||6||3||0||0||1||-4||35|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||112-109 W vs. BOS||20||7-11 (0-1)||12||4||2||0||3||+8||40|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||109-112 L @ MIA||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – LAL leads 2-1
9:00 (TNT):  Lakers (Davis, Rondo) @  Nuggets (Murray)
You have to wonder if the Denver Nuggets will come out and try to tank Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers just so they can get themselves in a preferred position: down 3-1.
The Nuggets have been able to do something that no other team in NBA history has done before, overcome a 3-1 series deficit in two rounds of the same playoffs. Doing so for a third time would be one of the most unprecedented events in the sport and potentially doing so against the league’s most historic franchise only ups the ante. For the first time this series, Denver looked like a contender in its 114-106 Game 3 victory in which they turned the tables on the Lakers and took a commanding lead early before holding on down the stretch.
Anthony Davis (95 points) and Jamal Murray (74 points) are the series two leaders in points scored through three games. Rajon Rondo can tie Scottie Pippen for eighth all-time on the playoff career assists list, needing seven more to pass the former Chicago Bulls legend.