Apr 19, 2023 - Sports

Game 2: Heat need to replace Herro to get past Bucks

The Heat will continue to lean on its best player, Jimmy Butler, to replace the scoring from injured starter Tyler Herro. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Heat are up a game but down their best shooter as they take on the Bucks Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first round playoff series.

Driving the news: Miami needs to find a way to replace Tyler Herro's scoring while potentially dealing with the return of Milwaukee's two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who left Sunday's game with a lower back contusion.

Why it matters: Even when fully healthy, the Heat are massive underdogs against the top-seeded Bucks.

  • But Miami already stole home-court advantage by winning Game 1 on the road, making Game 2 crucial. Just 7% of teams in playoff history recovered from an 0-2 deficit to win the series. (The Bucks did it in 2021 to win the Finals).

What they’re saying: NBA.com's Heat beat writer, Cooper Moorhead, argues that Miami must lean on its All-Star duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, whose combined 45 shot attempts Sunday were the most they’ve taken in a single game with the Heat, to replace Herro.

  • Butler scored 35 points with 11 assists and Adebayo added 22 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds.
  • "Antetokounmpo's status is the most important story of the next week, but as far as what Miami can control, this series might ultimately be decided by whether or not their two drink-stirring All-Stars, together, can keep punishing the Bucks …" Moorhead wrote.

Between the lines: Fill-in options for Herro include Duncan Robinson (who played just six minutes Sunday), Victor Oladipo (who didn't play), Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry or Kevin Love.

💭 Martin's thought bubble: The player whose skill set most compares to Herro is sharp-shooter Max Strus. The starter may be asked to spark Miami's offense like he did to start the play-in game against Chicago.

  • To replace Herro, I'd start Love to force Bucks center Brook Lopez to leave the paint and guard him at the three-point line (Love made four three-pointers Sunday).

The bottom line: "You can't fully make up what Tyler has been for our team all year long," Butler told reporters after Game 1.

  • "But guys got to step up, including myself, including Bam and whoever Spo calls upon to do an offensive assignment, a defensive assignment, to bring some energy, to dive on the floor, get a loose ball or rebound. It's like all hands on deck at all times and now more than ever."
  • "Ultimately, you replace players like Herro in the aggregate — albeit an unbalanced aggregate," Moorhead writes. "A little bit more from everyone, a lot of bit more from two players."

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Miami stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more