The Miami HEAT fell to the Orlando Magic 116-109 Wednesday night at Amway Center. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 26 points and 22 rebounds.
1. Whiteside Makes History
Grit and determination.
That’s what Whiteside displayed in the fourth quarter, as he did everything he could to try and will the HEAT to a comeback victory. When the dust settled, Whiteside tallied 14 points and eight boards in the period.
A perfect example of his sheer will came late in the fourth when he went up for a lob, re-gathered himself after Nikola Vučević defended it well and still came through with the jam.
In addition to his 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting and 22 rebounds (which was a HEAT opening night record), the big fella also had an assist and a block.
2. JJ Goes Off in the Fourth
Although James Johnson got into foul trouble early on, he certainly made his presence felt in the fourth quarter with four points, six assists and three rebounds.
Two of those four points came on this nifty spin and finish over Aaron Gordon:
Otherwise in the contest, Johnson showed explosiveness on a number of thunderous jams and defended Gordon pretty well.
In all, the 30-year-old scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, dished out a team-high eight assists, grabbed four boards and tallied a team-high plus-six rating.
3. Winslow Shines
After missing so much time last season due to injury, Justise Winslow wasted little time to put his imprint on the new year. From the moment he checked in for Goran Dragić late in the first quarter, it was pedal to the metal.
In the first half, the 21-year-old showed great court vision and set up his teammates with some superb feeds. Of course, he also came through with a few assertive drives, such as this one:
On the flip side of the ball, Winslow was everywhere guarding multiple guys, including Gordon, Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons and Jonathan Isaac. Talk about versatility.
The former Duke Blue Devil finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, four rebounds and two assists.
-From the very start, Kelly Olynyk showed his defensive versatility and did a nice job of switching on wing players. On the offensive end, the big man shared the ball well and kept things moving.
That said, one of his more impressive plays occurred late in the third quarter on a nifty jumper.
With about 28 seconds to play in the period, Olynyk smartly took advantage of the mismatch with D.J. Augustin on him in the post, absorbed contact from behind by Bismack Biyombo and completed the three-point play.
In all, Olynyk tallied 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
-A.J. Hammons (illness), Rodney McGruder (left tibia stress fracture), Okaro White (strained left shoulder) and Derrick Walton Jr. were inactive.
-The HEAT’s home opener will be on Saturday at 8:00 PM against the Indiana Pacers. Tickets for that game can be found here.