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Tyler Herro shines in blowout Heat win

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Herro scored the Heat’s first 14 points.

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With Dion Waiters out for the Miami Heat Monday night against the Atlanta Hawks, Erik Spoelstra put rookie Tyler Herro in the starting lineup. It was Herro’s second start of the preseason.

The way he’s playing, Herro may be there permanently.

The guard from Kentucky scored Miami’s first 14 points and scored a team-high 23 points on 5-of-7 shooting from downtown to ignite a dominant 120-87 win over Atlanta. Miami moved to a perfect 3-0 in the preseason with the win.

The one downside for Miami was that Derrick Jones Jr. bruised his right knee in the fourth quarter after banging knees with John Collins. He limped to the locker room and did not return. With Kelly Olynyk out and James Johnson still having yet to play a minute of exhibition basketball, an injury to Jones at the beginning of the year would be costly.

And that’s also a shame, because Jones had some great moments in his 14-point, nine-rebound effort.

Together, Jones and Bam Adebayo put together a bit of a show with their dunks. Adebayo finished with a double-double, scoring 15 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw line (you know who would always struggle at the line? Hassan Whiteside) and grabbing 10 rebounds. The third-year center from Kentucky also recorded three blocks.

Kendrick Nunn, who has still not played in an NBA regular season game yet, made a strong impression Monday night. The 6-foot-3 guard made an array of 3s late in the game to finish with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. He will provide the Heat with some needed depth in the backcourt behind Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Herro.

On the flip side, Jimmy Butler continued to play the game on preseason mode. He didn’t score until the 4:25 mark of the second quarter and scored only seven points. It didn’t matter for Miami tonight — they managed to score 120 points — but the Heat are coming off some bad offensive seasons over the last few years. Miami signed Butler to be the go-to scorer, and he’ll need to do that once the games start to count.

Duncan Robinson shot just 1-for-8 from the field in an off night.

The Heat will visit the Orlando Magic Thursday at 7 p.m.