ASK IRA: Has Heat’s season turned into Tyler Herro or bust?

Q: Ira, Tyler Herro showed me so much Wednesday  night. Herro was basically unstoppable. His shot wasn’t falling but the Sixers could not stop him from getting off very makeable shots.  On top of that, he had nine assists. This offseason I do not want to hear any nonsense about trading him. – Joel, Fort Lauderdale.

A: Well if there ever was a need for Tyler Time, this certainly appears to be it. And to his credit, Tyler Herro did keep the Heat afloat in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. When the Heat traded for Terry Rozier, it almost seemed as if there was organizational doubt about Tyler as the team’s go-to shot creator. Now the canvas is his, amid the injury uncertainty elsewhere on the roster. Coby White had his night in the Bulls’ victory over the Hawks in the other play-in game. Now the Heat need Tyler Herro to have his play-in breakthrough. It could very well stand as Herro or bust on Friday night.

Q: The Kyle Lowry-Jaime Jaquez Jr. matchup, Lowry forced Jaquez into two costly fourth-quarter turnovers. I wonder if we needed a more veteran presence on the court at crunch time.  – Sean, Pompano Beach.

A: With Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson sidelined, and with Jimmy Butler ailing, it’s not as if Erik Spoelstra had much of a choice. And the Heat needed offense, with Jaime Jaquez Jr at that stage one of the few remaining scoring options on the wing. Who knows, maybe Friday night becomes Patty Mills’ turn?

Q: Ira, let’s not forget all that Jimmy Butler has done for the Heat. One injury and it’s as if none of it happened. – Saul.

A: But there is more to that equation, including the 22 missed games during the regular season that contributed to the eighth-place finish and this scramble to advance through the play-in round. The story of Jimmy Butler and the 2023-24 Heat was one written the opening week of the season, when Jimmy took off/was given off for rest. That set a tone of what delivered us to this moment.