MIAMI, May 2 (UPI) — Tyler Herro scored 25 points and hit four 3-pointers to lead the Miami Heat to a strong finish and Game 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in their second-round playoff series Monday in Miami.
“He is relentless,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the 106-92 win at FTX Arena. “We need his skill level. As you face tougher teams, you need guys that can just make plays. … He is a big time X-factor for us offensively when he is in that kind of rhythm.”
Herro and Heat center Bam Adebayo torched the 76ers with their pick-and-roll connection. Adebayo chipped in 24 points and 12 rebounds.
“We found a pretty good connection,” Herro said of Adebayo. “He is a hard target to miss with how big he is and how high he jumps to the rim. He makes it easy on me.”
The Heat started hot, but gave up the lead at the end of the second quarter. Miami outscored Philadelphia 56-41 over the final 24 minutes to seal the victory.
Heat forward P.J. Tucker used pesky defense to smother 76ers guard James Harden, who made just five of 13 shots and totaled five turnovers.
The game featured just four lead changes and was tied twice. The Heat outscored the 76ers 52-46 in the paint and 42-21 off the bench.
The Heat went on a 7-0 run off the tip off. The 76ers responded with an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to three points, but the Heat took a 30-22 edge into the second.
Adebayo scored 10 points through the first 12 minutes.
The Heat offense cooled in the second as the 76ers roared back into the game. They outscored the Heat 29-20 over the final 12 minutes of the first half. The 76ers also scored eight unanswered points to end the quarter for a 51-50 edge at halftime.
Harden and forward Danny Green each scored a dozen in the second.
The Heat used a 10-0 run in the third to build a 70-61 lead. Miami put together an 8-2 run a few minutes later and took an 80-72 lead into the fourth.
The Heat opened the final frame on a 18-5 run to take a 21-point lead, its largest advantage of the night. Miami coasted to the victory over the final few minutes.
Game 2 of the series tips off at 7:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Miami. The series then moves to Philadelphia for Game 3 and Game 4.
The winner of the series will face the Milwaukee Bucks or Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. The Bucks own a 1-0 lead on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.