The Miami HEAT defeated the Washington Wizards 106-103 Saturday night at Verizon Center. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 30 points.
1. Whiteside Feasts On Both Ends
After starting off slowly in his past two outings, Whiteside put that to rest in a hurry with a sharp first half against the Wizards. Throughout the first two quarters, the big fella wreaked havoc on both sides of the ball, as his stout defense led to opportunities in transition for his teammates. Not to mention, he finished a bunch of hook shots inside over Marcin Gortat.
While that was great, Whiteside continued to play well in the second half and absorbed a lot of contact inside. In fact, he led the team with nine points in the fourth, including a clutch hook shot that put Miami up 102-100 with 1:01 left. That said, his most impactful play of the night came on the defensive end.
With 5.8 seconds remaining in the contest, Whiteside switched onto Bradley Beal, stayed with the guard on the perimeter and swatted his shot to seal the deal for the HEAT.
In short, it was a fantastic all-around performance from the 27-year-old. In addition to his 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, Whiteside also grabbed 12 boards (five offensive), blocked three shots, dished out two assists and swiped two steals.
2. J. Johnson Empties The Tank
To put it simply, James Johnson laid it all on the line in the fourth quarter to help give the HEAT a very important win. Although he came away with a huge steal on Markieff Morris and a massive slam earlier in the fourth, his best play of the evening finally gave Miami the lead for good.
With 14.1 seconds to play in the game, Johnson took Morris off the dribble from the right wing, hit him with a spin move in the paint and finished the finger roll to put the HEAT up 104-103.
Let’s also not forget this fantastic hustle play from Johnson late in the second quarter.
In all, the forward tallied 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists against Washington.
3. Richardson Competes Hard On The Defensive End
From beginning to end, Josh Richardson gave John Wall fits and made everything difficult for the dynamic point guard. As such, Wall shot just 5-of-18 from the field and committed a game-high eight turnovers.
As usual, Richardson made some great plays in defensive transition, like these two blocks on Wall in the first and third quarters.
On the flip side of the ball, the young man out of Edmond, Oklahoma hit a huge three with 5:02 left in the fourth and also drilled two clutch free throws to put Miami up 106-103 with 9.7 seconds left.
Richardson finished with 10 points, three assists and a game-high five steals to go along with those aforementioned blocks.
-While Goran Dragić didn’t shoot as well as he’s used to, he facilitated the ball very well and led the HEAT with seven assists. Still, he stuck with it down the stretch and hit a clutch mid-range jumper that put Miami up 100-97 with 1:32 remaining in the game. When it was all said and done, the Slovenian tallied 18 points, four boards and two steals to go along with his seven assists.
-Tyler Johnson found the range quite often and put a lot of pressure on the Wizards throughout the night. On the flip side of the ball, he forced Beal into some tough looks. The Fresno State product ended up with 19 points, four rebounds and two assists.
-Luke Babbitt (strained right hip flexor), Dion Waiters (sprained left ankle), Justise Winslow (right shoulder surgery) and Josh McRoberts (left foot stress fracture) sat out.
-The HEAT will now head home for their final two games of the regular season against the Cavaliers and Wizards. Miami faces Cleveland on Monday at 7:30 PM and Washington on Wednesday at 8:00 PM. Tickets for both games can be found here.