Tyler Herro believes the Miami Heat are close to the Boston Celtics’ level

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Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro believes that the team is close to the Boston Celtics’ level this season despite losing to Boston on Wednesday night.

“I think so,” Herro said when asked about how close the two teams are in ability. “I thought we competed our [butts] off [on Wednesday].”

The Heat were without Jimmy Butler on Wednesday night, yet they were trailing by just six points entering the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Heat fans, Boston outscored Miami 32-25 in the final frame to close out the win.

There’s no doubt that the Heat are a better team when Butler is healthy, but the reality is that Miami is far off from where Boston is in the standings and in several statistics so far this season.

Injuries have hampered the Heat with Herro, Butler, Victor Oladipo and other key rotation players missing time, but Miami is just 10-12 on the season heading into another road matchup against the Celtics on Friday.

To make matters worse, Miami is one of the worst road teams in the NBA so far this season, going just 2-8 in its 10 road matchups.

Last season, the Heat and Celtics met in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing a close series that ended with Boston winning in seven games. Both teams look slightly different this season, as Boston added guard Malcolm Brogdon while the Heat lost forward P.J. Tucker in the offseason.

Boston also hasn’t had starting center Robert Williams III yet this season due to a knee injury. Yet, the Celtics are 18-4 on the season, the best record in the NBA, and have won five straight games.

The Celtics rank No. 1 in the NBA in offensive rating and effective field goal percentage, and it’s made up for their defense taking a bit of a step back this season. Meanwhile, the Heat are 23rd in offensive rating, 12th in defensive rating and 24th in effective field goal percentage.

It’s likely that those numbers improve for Miami as the team gets healthy, but it still seems like it isn’t quite on the same level as the league’s best team.

A lot can change over the course of the season, but Miami needs health, improved offense and better play on the road in order to compete with the Celtics for a top spot in the East in the 2022-23 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.