Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell held little back when asked about the play of Heat rookie Tyler Herro late in Monday night’s game.
Herro scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 107-104 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena. The win improved the Heat to 22-8 and a league-best 13-1 at home.
Mitchell was guarding Herro on each of the baskets.
“He kicked my ass. He capitalized on my poor defense,” Mitchell said. “I take credit for that. I'll take the blame for that. It's on me. He kicked my ass on three straight possessions. We'll see him again."
Herro, who left Kentucky after one season and was drafted with the No. 13 pick, is averaging 14 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 42 percent shooting. He is the fifth-leading scorer among rookies.
With the Heat leading by two midway through the fourth quarter, Herro hit a 3-pointer to push the advantage to five. Later, he scored baskets on three straight possessions to help the Heat maintain the lead.
“He has that [poise],” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He had that in college. These are qualities you can’t really define. You know it when you see it.”
Herro has already silenced the doubters through just 30 games. It was only five months ago when Heat fans booed at the arena during a draft party when he was selected. Most felt the team should have went after a more high profile player, such as Bol Bol or Kevin Porter Jr. Herro wasn’t necessarily a household name while playing on a stacked Kentucky team.
He scored 14 points in his debut against Memphis in the season opener and hasn’t looked back. A high confidence level has played the biggest role in the success and it’s only going to keep growing.
“I’ve always been poised,” Herro said. “[The game] is really slowing down for me.”