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Ira Winderman: Heat have changed since Tyler Herro went out; how will they change upon his return?

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI — With this coming Wednesday marking four weeks since Tyler Herro went down with his Grade 2 ankle sprain, it is hard not to notice how much has transpired for the Miami Heat in the interim.

The injury came during what would grow into a seven-game winning streak and stretch of nine victories in 10 games.

But during the absence there also were blown 21-point leads in losses to the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, games in which the non-Herro offense ground to a halt.

All the while, quality depth was defined, from the mature-beyond-his-years impact of Jaime Jaquez Jr. to the unexpected impact of Haywood Highsmith as starting power forward, from Josh Richardson rekindling memories of his former self, to Duncan Robinson stepping in and thriving as starter, from Caleb Martin making strides from offseason knee pain, to Kevin Love re-emerging in reserve, and all the while Kyle Lowry seemingly turning back the clock.

With all of that coming in support of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

And, soon enough, Herro, too.

 

“Everybody knows about Tyler,” Martin said after the first of the week’s two games against the Indiana Pacers at Kaseya Center. “He’s going to come in and be Tyler. He’s been so big for us the last couple years I’ve been here, and I’m excited to get him back in the mix, too, just to add to the depth and get him back rolling.

“We’re going to be in good shape.”

But, this also is not the same team that Herro was ripped away from with that Nov. 8 misstep in Memphis.

Martin wasn’t a factor at the time. Richardson had yet to hit his stride. Jaquez until that night in Memphis had yet to score more than 11 in an NBA game. There still were questions about Robinson sustaining. The Heat to that point had won only twice this season with Highsmith as a starter.

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