NBA roundup: Heat’s Herro overwhelming pick as NBA’s Sixth Man of Year -

NBA roundup: Heat’s Herro overwhelming pick as NBA’s Sixth Man of Year

MIAMI — Tyler Herro was told before the season began that he wouldn’t be in the Miami Heat starting lineup. To his credit, he saw that as an opportunity.

“I said, `Let’s go for Sixth Man of the Year,”‘ Herro said.

And that’s what he got.

Herro was announced Tuesday as the NBA’s top sixth man this season, the first player to win the award as a member of the Heat. He averaged 20.7 points, nearly four more per game than any other reserve in the league, plus had a huge role in Miami securing the No. 1 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It means a lot,” Herro said. “I accepted the sixth-man role for a reason. I wanted to be the best sixth man in the league.”

By overwhelming consent of the 100 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league and vote on season-ending awards, that’s what Herro was. He received 96 first-place votes and 488 total points, well ahead of runner-up Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cameron Johnson of the Phoenix Suns was third.

Love got three first-place votes and 214 points in the system where players received five points for a first-place nod, three for second place and one for third. Johnson got one first-place vote and 128 points.

“Tyler was ignitable for this team,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He was that way all season.”

Herro had eight 30-point games off the bench this season, more than any other three players did combined. The last time a reserve had more than eight 30-point games was 2017-18, when Lou Williams had 11 for the Los Angeles Clippers. Before that, it was 1989-90, when Ricky Pierce had 17 for Milwaukee.

And in those years, Pierce and Williams – two of the best sixth men ever – wound up winning the award that Herro received Tuesday. Herro got the official word in a ceremony during practice Tuesday morning, with teammate Udonis Haslem serving as the presenter.

“When you come in and you’re going to be the featured player, that, to me, is a better role than a starting role in a lot of ways,” said Philadelphia Coach Doc Rivers, whose 76ers are facing Herro and the Heat in an Eastern Conference semifinal series that resumes Wednesday. Miami leads the series 1-0, with Herro scoring 25 points in the opener on Monday night.

“You look at the old Celtics with Kevin McHale and (John) Havlicek and you look at history, there’s been a lot of key sixth men to lead teams to a championship,” Rivers said. “They end up playing starter minutes. They just don’t start the game.”

McHale was a two-time winner of the award, including in Boston’s 1984 title season. Havlicek was part of eight Celtics championships, six of them as a reserve.

Herro is hoping to do the same this spring with Miami.

He actually played more minutes this season than anyone else on the Heat, posting career bests in most offensive categories, and was second on the team in points per game behind only Jimmy Butler’s 21.4 – just 0.7 ahead of Herro’s pace.

“I just realized what this team was built for,” Herro said. “It was built for a championship. When you look at our roster, if I was our coach, I would probably bring myself off the bench, too. Just looking at what we have on the team, if it makes sense to bring either me or Jimmy off the bench, obviously it’s going to be me. We’ve got to bring one of our main scorers off the bench. And I understand that.”

Sixth Man was the fourth major award to be announced this offseason, joining Most Improved (Memphis’ Ja Morant), Rookie of the Year (Toronto’s Scottie Barnes) and Defensive Player of the Year (Boston’s Marcus Smart ).


SUNS 121, MAVERICKS 114: Deandre Ayton scored 25 points, Devin Booker added 23 and top-seeded Phoenix won at home in Game 1 of  the Western Conference semifinals.

The Suns never trailed, jumping to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and rarely let off the gas. They shot 50.5% from the field, won the rebounding edge 51-36 and beat the Mavericks for the 10th straight time, counting regular season games.

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 45 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.0

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