The night started as Jimmy Butler’s show, but it ended as Tyler Herro’s coming out party.
Herro shined in his debut, scoring a team high 18 pts while leading the team in its 89 to 107 victory over the Spurs. Herro was a game high +29 and showed every facet of his game.
“It’s great for young guys to come in and have that confidence to be aggressive and to feel comfortable,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I’m sure he had a lot of nerves coming into tonight, not knowing what to expect.”
Spoelstra’s juge experimental starting lineup of Justise Winslow, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Meyers Leonard and Bam Adebayo got off to a rough start. The defense looked porous and the offense anemic, but after a few trips up and down the floor they seemed to settle in. Butler, especially, looked like he preferred to defer and didn’t score his first points until the second quarter – missing his first three shots mostly under duress or late in the shot clock.
Business really picked up when the bench unit entered the game late in the first quarter, led by Goran Dragic and the much-heralded Herro. Herro’s full offensive arsenal was on display in the first half. Step back three pointers, dribble drive push shots in the lane and turnaround midrange jumpers. By the end of the first half, Herro had the American Airlines Arena crowd breathlessly anticipating every possession.
Tyler leads the break, ends with a HUGE DJJ slam.
Herro is absolutely comfortable with the ball in his hands.
It's game 1 of the preseason but he already seams to answering some big questions.
— Bowcat Black 🇭🇹🇭🇹 (@Alf954) October 9, 2019
Adebayo and Leonard proved more than capable in the rebounding department, temporarily putting to rest a large concern this offseason with the departure of Hassan Whiteside. “We have to (rebound), not just necessarily Meyers. We have to be a group rebounding team. We talk about being one of the better defensive teams in the league, but we have to finish possessions,” said Spoelstra. The two combined for 19 rebounds while playing only 23 and 24 minutes. Adebayo also chipped in with 14 pts.
Winslow proved capable of handling the offense at times in an uneven performance, including a disappointing 0-4 from three point range after making the shot a priority this summer. After shooting almost 38% last season, this may prove to be much ado about nothing, but it’s a play that he needs to make if he wants to continue to lead the starting unit. Winslow finished with 11 pts, 3 assists and 4 turnovers.
Chris Silva was another bright spot for a Heat team in search of size off the bench. “He made us watch him. He’s had those moments in training camp too,” said Spoelstra. “He had a great block tonight, but he probably had 5 blocks better than that in training camp.”
Silva finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds in only 14 minutes.
The Heat blow out the Spurs in first preseason game.
Six players in double digits.
Five are 19-23 years old.
The other was Jimmy Butler.
Didn’t tank for any of them. @5ReasonsSports
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) October 9, 2019