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Apr 5, 2024 7:19 am

Heat hope for Tyler Herro’s return vs. Rockets

Tyler Herro

Maybe the road is what the Miami Heat need.

Miami, which will visit the Houston Rockets on Friday night, is just 20-18 at home this season.

The Heat, who are 22-16 on the road, are coming off a painful 109-105 home loss to the 76ers on Thursday. Philadelphia finished the game on a 15-3 run as Miami (42-34) scored just one field goal in the final eight minutes.

In addition, Heat starting guard Terry Rozier injured his left knee on Miami’s final possession of the contest.

“(Rozier) banged knees,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We will have to see once we get to Houston.

“He says he feels fine. He’s tough. But we can’t take his word (until he’s checked out medically).”

Rozier said postgame, “I don’t know what happened, but I feel better now.”

Due to the loss, the Heat slipped from sixth to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Indiana Pacers (43-34). Only the top six teams in each conference are guaranteed playoff berths. Spots seven through 10 compete in the play-in tournament.

As far as how his players are competing, Spoelstra singled out reserve power forward Kevin Love for special praise after his 11-point, 16-rebound performance in 19 minutes on Thursday.

“How can you not love what Kevin brought to the game?” Spoelstra said. “His passion, energy, inspiration, diving on the floor, banging his head, scraping up his elbow — he was the human bruise tonight.”

The Heat also could get boost on Friday if Tyler Herro is able to return to action. The 24-year-old guard has been sidelined since late February due to a foot ailment, but he traveled with the team to Houston and might be able to play, The Athletic and the Miami Herald reported.

The Rockets (38-38) enter play Friday with a three-game losing streak that has all but ended their postseason hopes. After falling 133-110 to the visiting Warriors on Thursday, they are four games back of Golden State (42-34) for the final Western Conference play-in position.

With Golden State also holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Rockets are likely miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Prior to the three-game skid, the Rockets — quite shockingly — won 11 consecutive contests.

Houston guard Jalen Green, a 22-year-old who was the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, has scored 30 or more points five times over the past 11 games.

“He’s been carrying us since the All-Star break,” Rockets teammate Fred VanVleet said. “We trust him. We want to keep giving him the ball in his spots so that he can create. He can get hot.”

However, in his past three games, Green is averaging a cooled-off 17 points. He managed just 13 in the Thursday defeat.

In the only Rockets-Heat matchup so far this season, Green was held to 11 points on 2-for-10 shooting. He played 31 minutes, and he posted six assists, five rebounds and three turnovers. He hit 2 of 8 attempts from 3-point range.

Miami won that game 120-113 at home on Jan. 8, though VanVleet led all scorers with 32 points.

The Heat won without Jimmy Butler, although Herro was healthy, scoring a team-high 28 points. That game happened before the Heat acquired Rozier in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

–Field Level Media

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