Stroke, scoring, swagger have Heat’s Tyler Herro in playoff mode

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Even now with stroke back, scoring up, swagger restored, Tyler Herro isn’t quite sure exactly what flipped the switch.

“There’s just a change in something,” the second-year Miami Heat guard said. “I don’t know what it was.”

The reasons might remain an abstract, but the results have been tangible, the Heat securing their playoff foothold as Herro has regained his footing.

Over his past five appearances, Herro has scored 20 or more three times. Over his previous 12, he had done it once.

“I just felt like the shots weren’t falling, or whatever the case may be,” he said, with the Heat turning their attention to Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at AmericanAirlines Arena. “But at the end of the day, like I said, continue to stick with it. It’s a long season. What goes around, comes around.”

With Herro having come around in an instant-offense reserve role, the Heat bench has been solidified. The boost expected with the trading-deadline addition of since-sidelined Victor Oladipo instead has been provided by Herro.

“Super happy for him. He deserves it, handles everything the right way,” Heat guard Duncan Robinson said of Herro’s revival. “He’s got a lot coming at him, obviously. He’s the consummate professional how he handles it.

“Everyone in that locker room wants to see him be successful because of who he is as a person. And not only that, but we all know what he’s capable of and what he does.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the disjointed nature of these last two pandemic-altered schedules has changed, and in some cases reversed, the learning curves for first- and second-year players.

“I think the whole season has been really good for Tyler to experience this,” Spoelstra said. “His rookie season was not typical for most young players. And I say this, even look at all the rookies this year. There have been a lot of ups-and-downs for the majority of them. And that’s a typical season for a young player.

“And then you have to learn the league, face adversity, respond to up-and-down opportunities and play, competition, all of that. And for the most part, everything was smooth sailing last year. This year, he’s had to deal with a bunch of different things, including minor, nagging injuries, storylines that are different, a role that’s a little bit different.”

This season, Herro, 21, has gone from starter to reserve, from point guard to shooting guard, all while bouncing from injured list to active roster.

“I think he just always approaches it the right way,” Spoelstra said. “Comes in trying to get better for the team, and to impact winning. And it hasn’t been just about whether he’s scoring or not. I think that that’s always the challenge for your players. Everybody wants to see what the final line is on the scoreboard.

“But we’re developing him as a complete player, to learn how to win, to impact winning. And he’s come a long way. I think it’s a large part because of his mindset approach to everything.”

This version of Herro, the one who closed with 24 points and 11 rebounds in the Tuesday night victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden that secured a playoff berth, is the closest facsimile to the Herro that helped the Heat advance to last season’s NBA Finals.

“I think it’s sustainable because we’ve all seen it before,” Robinson said. “Just the biggest thing is I, personally, just love seeing him play with that kind of grit and confidence. I don’t think that it necessarily wavered.

“But obviously it helps when the ball goes in and it kind of compounds it all. I tell him all the time, ‘Be a killer. Go be a killer out there.’ "

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