No return close for Tyler Herro. And Love’s decision, Bam’s mom and more Heat-Celtics talk
Heat guard Tyler Herro isn’t close to returning after fracturing his right hand in Miami’s first playoff game.
Herro isn’t yet shooting or dribbling.
When the Heat announced his surgery, the team said he’s expected to miss a minimum of six weeks. Such a timetable would mean a return no sooner than Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Asked if Herro could play in this series, Erik Spoelstra said Monday: “There’s no way I could even answer that right now. The good thing about a hand is you’re able to do other things with that, but you can’t shoot, you can’t dribble, that kind of stuff. I don’t have an update. He won’t be playing Wednesday [in Game 1]. Is that fair enough?”
The loss of Herro and Victor Oladipo (to a season-ending knee injury) means the Heat has essentially subtracted Herro, Oladipo and P.J. Tucker from last year’s Eastern Conference finals team, while adding Kevin Love and Cody Zeller.
The Celtics have added Malcolm Brogdon since last year’s Eastern finals while losing no rotation player.
“They’re a very deep team,” Love said. “Obviously, losing Vic, losing Tyler are guns we wish that we had.”
As for Love, he was asked what he was thinking when he watched the 76ers lose to the Celtics on Sunday. Love considered Philadelphia after his February buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I’m a great decision-maker,” Love said Monday, grinning. “This was always the first choice. And it always felt right. But it’s like going to a doctor and getting a second opinion. You always want to check all the boxes, understand what else is out there. But, again, this was always it for me.”
THIS AND THAT
The Celtics went with a bigger starting lineup in their Game 6 and 7 wins against Philadelphia, with 6-9 Robert Williams starting alongside 6-9 Al Horford. Those two started together against the Heat in last year’s Eastern finals.
Asked how to punish a lineup with that type of size, Love said: “The way you punish that is try to take advantage of the spacing. I’m someone you can’t leave. Even if the ball is swung to me and I don’t like it and it’s not a crisp pass, I can pass it right to a shot with guys like Duncan [Robinson], Gabe [Vincent], Max [Strus], whoever it might be for a three ball.
“That ball movement and not getting stuck [is critical]. You saw Philly; the ball would get stuck. That’s how you take advantage of it. They’re a very good defensive team.”
The Heat is 7-2 in the playoffs since Spoelstra reinserted the Love (6-8) in Miami’s starting lineup, alongside Bam Adebayo (6-9).
“I knew in this last series, there would be games where my sole purpose was to keep those two bigs off the glass,” Love said of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.
▪ Adebayo said he couldn’t watch the conclusion of the Celtics’ blowout win against the 76ers on Mother’s Day because his mom had other ideas.
“My mom turned it off and wanted to watch, what’s it called, with Steve Harvey? The ‘Family Feud,’ ” he said.
That was fine with Spoelstra, who said Adebayo’s relationship with his mom is “cool…You kind of have to reset and kind of decompress. ‘Family Feud’ is a great way to do it. I have not tried that.”
Spoelstra said he took a walk during a part of the Celtics-76ers game, knowing he could analyze tape after the game.
▪ Between the regular season and playoffs, the Heat has now outscored teams by 76 points in minutes defined by the NBA as “clutch” — the final five minutes of games with a margin of five points or less.
The Heat is 36-24 in games with clutch minutes.
Boston has outscored teams by 46 points in clutch minutes this season.
Both teams have shot very well in the clutch in the playoffs; the Heat is 20 for 40 from the field in clutch playoff minutes (50 percent), and Boston is shooting 51 percent in clutch postseason minutes.
▪ What in particular has the Heat done better in the playoffs than the regular season?
“Sticking with it,” Caleb Martin said. “Through the regular season, we had our moments up and down where we let those bad stretches get the best of us. We’re doing a better job of staying mentally positive through everything…. We have a lot of belief in this group. We’re in the right place mentally.”
▪ Milwaukee requested permission to interview Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn for its head coaching job, according to ESPN. The Bucks also reportedly have scheduled an interview with ABC/ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, among others.