Heat Notes: Adebayo, Herro, Rozier, Richardson

With Jimmy Butler sidelined by an MCL sprain, the Heat are comfortable relying on Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro to be their on-court leaders, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Both players responded when they were asked to expand their games in Wednesday’s surprise victory at Boston. Adebayo scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and frequently served as the primary defender on Jayson Tatum.

“He had big responsibilities defensively,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then on the road, yes, it was really important that we had a place where we could just throw the ball and just kind of get settled, especially when they would go on runs or the crowd would get in it and he produced. He was great when we needed to get it settled and he went right to his spot and was able to get some relief points for us.”

Herro took a larger role in running the offense, handing out a career-high 14 assists to go with 24 points and five rebounds. Ten of his assists came on three-pointers as Miami set a franchise record by sinking 23 threes in a playoff game.

“We need his aggressiveness, we need his scoring, we need his shooting, we need his play-making,” Spoelstra said. “Depending on the possession, it can be any one of those things. But he was good on both ends of the court. He was very good defensively, he was competing on that end, a lot of winning things.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • A greater emphasis on three-point shooting was one of the adjustments Spoelstra and his staff made after the Game 1 loss, Chiang adds in a separate story. The Celtics were sending extra defenders at the Adebayo-Herro pick-and-roll, which created open shots from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Heat concentrated on switching rather than the combination of blitzing ball-handlers and drop coverage they used in the opener.
  • Terry Rozier will miss his ninth straight game today with a neck issue, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the rest of the first-round series, Chiang states in a mailbag column. Rozier has undergone numerous tests to determine what’s causing the neck pain, and the Heat are being “very cautious” about his condition, Chiang adds. Rozier was a starter before being sidelined, but Chiang doesn’t believe he’ll automatically be inserted back into the starting lineup if he’s able to return.
  • In the same piece, Chiang says it’s likely that Josh Richardson will pick up his $3.1MM player option and return to the team next season. Richardson owns a house in Miami and enjoys playing there, and Chiang points out that his market value will be limited after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in March.
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