Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic make a case for key roles in Heat's rotation

Finding themselves on the brink of another tough loss, the Miami Heat turned to Tyler Herro and Nikola Jovic in overtime against the Atlanta Hawks.
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Finding themselves in a world of trouble in overtime after squandering a 15-point lead in the second half, the Miami Heat used two big performances from Tyler Herro and Nikola Jovic to survive a scare in Atlanta and defeat the Hawks in double overtime 117-111 Tuesday night.

Finding themselves on the brink of another tough loss, the Miami Heat turned to Tyler Herro and Nikola Jovic in overtime against the Atlanta Hawks.

After a Bam Adebayo goaltend on a Dejounte Murray layup tied the game at 101, the Heat went to their best player Jimmy Butler to close the game. Most of the time in clutch games for Miami where the Heat have the last shot, Erik Spoelstra usually lets his team push the pace so the defense won't set up after a timeout.

But after the goaltend, Spoelstra had to draw up a play with the clock stopped, and the possession that followed was arguably the worst final possession for the Heat this season.

To close out regulation, Caleb Martin, who was 0-for-9, set a screen for Butler who was going to his right. The problem was that Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jovic were standing in the same corner. Butler was crowded by Hawks defenders and the ball ended up in Herro's hands who had no choice but to hoist a deep three that missed.

The Heat's offensive woes began to bleed into overtime and suddenly they found themselves down 105-101. Desperately needing a bucket, Nikola Jovic hit a huge three-pointer to cut the lead to one. After Murray missed a three, Jovic secured the rebound and found Haywood Highsmith for the game-tying three.

The development of Jovic has been a bright spot for the Heat, who once went from playing spot minutes due to injuries and being out of the rotation to now being in closing lineups and making crucial decisions with the ball in his hands.

Even after the big Jovic sequences, the Heat could not close the deal in the first overtime after another Butler possession where the ball was glued to his hands late into the shot clock ended in a turnover.

Butler was having a very rough overtime, and someone else needed to run the show and close the deal for Miami in double overtime. The Heat decided to run the offense through Herro -- and it worked out.

After drawing a foul on Murray to get to the free throw line and sink two shots, Herro rejected a screen from Adebayo, got into the lane and hit a floater to give the Heat a two-possession lead.

With 1:10 left in the second overtime period, the Heat again went to the Herro-Adebayo pick-and-roll. After Herro dumped the ball to Adebayo who found himself with two on him near the foul line, Adebayo passed to Jovic on the baseline, who hit a driving reverse layup to make it a 115-109 lead for the Heat to seal the game.

Both Herro and Jovic have had their ups and downs over the season, but ever since Herro returned from injury, one constant has remained the same, and that has been Herro and Jovic being in closing lineups in crunch time.

Ever since joining the Heat in 2019, Herro has proven on multiple occasions that he deserves to be in the closing lineup for Miami, and it's safe to say that Herro will continue to be in the fourth quarter of clutch games. The question has been who will close with Butler, Adebayo and Herro.

As we approach the play-in and NBA Playoffs, Spoelstra has put his trust in Jovic to be in those lineups, and so far he has answered the call. If the Heat find themselves in a few more tight games to end the year and Jovic continues to have moments as he did Tuesday night and against the Pacers on Sunday, it would be hard not to include Jovic as not only someone who receives playoff minutes, but also someone who is a prime candidate to be in close games.