Hassan Whiteside Scores 23 Points To Lead Heat To 117-109 Win Over Rockets
Hassan Whiteside Leads Heat To 117-109 Win vs Rockets
The 27-year-old center posted his 36th double-double and finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised his 7-foot youngster’s performance.
”When he plays with that level of physicality and effort and focus, it’s plain to see that we are a much different basketball team,” Spoelstra said. ”He played at his highest level, imposing his size and physicality on both sides of the court.”
Dion Waiters added 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Goran Dragic contributed 21 points for Miami, who snapped a two-game skid that followed a 13-game winning streak.
”Guys are coming together,” Whiteside said. ”Guys are a family and our hearts are in the right place. We’ve been jelling.”
Dating back to last season, Whiteside has recorded at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a game eight times.
James Harden recorded 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season–one more than the previous career franchise mark– for the Rockets, who lost for the second time in seven games. For the first time all season, Houston played in a game where they never held the lead.
The Heat finished 13 for 35 on 3-pointers, while the Rockets were 13 for 40.
Houston’s defense struggled without guard Patrick Beverley, who suffered a strained groin early in the second quarter. His replacement, Corey Brewer, played 27 minutes and scored just four points.
Miami led 58-45 at halftime and built a lead as big as 20 points in the third quarter before Houston began making shots and cut the deficit late.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni bemoaned his team’s failure to score more 3-pointers than their opponents.
”We just didn’t shoot the 3s at all in the first half and dug ourselves in a big hole,” D’Antoni said. ”Then everything has to go right and you know, things don’t go right, then the game’s over. We’re going to have clunkers and that was a clunker.”
Miami (25-32) are now two games behind Detroit for the final playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference.
Houston (40-18), meanwhile, holds the third spot in the West behind Golden State and San Antonio.
”We let a couple of games slip up, but we’ve got an opportunity for guys to get some rest and get their minds right and be ready to go for this push,” Harden said.
Harden was honored during a brief pre-game ceremony for being a starter for the Western Conference in this weekend’s All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Heat guard Josh Richardson remained sidelined with a sprained left foot but is expected to return for the first game following the All-Star break.
The Heat next visit Atlanta on Feb. 24 in their first game after the break.
The Rockets next visit New Orleans on Feb. 23.
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 03: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets battles for a loose basketball with Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat during their game at the Toyota Center on January 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas.