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Heat 96, Bulls 84: Whiteside Dominates Five Stars

Miami boasts five of the top six stars in yesterday's game, including a historic explosion from the Great White(side) Hope.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I used the GameScore metric as published on www.basketball-reference.com to rank yesterday's players.

First Star

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 21.7

Whiteside played 24:37 on the night, ranking seventh on the Heat (behind even Shabazz Napier, but more on him later). His minutes were theoretically limited due to a bum ankle, but after playing just seven minutes in the first half (four points, four boards, five blocks), coach Spoelstra cut him loose for his record breaking night. He recorded 14 points on six-of-10 shooting, making two-of-four from the line and finishing at plus-5. He also tore down 13 boards (including six offensive) and blocked a Heat-record-obliterating 12 shots. For contrast sake, that was 14% of the Bulls field goal attempts on the night. He also committed four fouls.

It's a blessing. Like I told my teammates, you won't believe how things work out in life. Three months ago I was at the downtown Y just chilling, working on my game. I couldn't get a team to pick up the phone. - Whiteside

Second Star

Dwyane Wade (MIA) 14.6

Wade scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting from the field, all two-point attempts. He played 38:42, went six-for-six from the line, and matched Whiteside's plus-5 rating. He also pitched in with three rebounds and three assists, with five turnovers and three personal fouls. As in most games it seems, Wade came alive in the fourth quarter, continuing the trend of leading the NBA in fourth quarter scoring, going six-for-nine for 12 points.

Third Star (tie)

Chris Bosh (MIA) 13.8

Bosh played 36:21, one of four Heat players to log more than three quarters. He scored 20 points on nine-of-20 shooting but missed all four of his three point shots. He also made both of his foul shots and earned a game-high plus-16 rating, with seven rebounds, three assists, a steal, a foul and a turnover.

What he's doing is, of course, more than I expected. But I kinda saw the fit (after he signed). He's just playing at a high level right now. I just want him to stay grounded, just continue to work.

Third Star (tie)

Pau Gasol (CHI) 13.8

Despite all the smack talk over at Blogabull, the best player on the Bulls (by a fair margin) was first-time all-star starter Pau Gasol. He played 36:09 and scored 13 points on six-of-16 shooting, with a game-high 17 rebounds (six offensive). He also blocked four shots (amateur), dished out three assists, turned the ball over twice and committed two fouls. He finished the day with a minus-13 rating, better only than teammate Tony Snell’s minus-16.

I don't know if there's a straight explanation for it. We understand the importance of every game, especially here at home. We're trying to get ourselves going, get in some kind of rhythm but we haven't been able to do it yet.

Fifth Star

Mario Chalmers (MIA) 12.9

Chalmers led all Miami players with 40:20 on the floor, and scored 15 points on five-of-10 shooting, also going one-of-three from outside. (He’s the only player out of the top five players to have made a three-pointer, Miami’s only of the game). He also made all four of his foul shots, went plus-15, grabbed four rebounds with two steals, two fouls and three turnovers.

Honorable Mention

Derrick Rose (MIA) 10.2

Rose played 33:17 and led Chicago with 19 points on seven-of-17 shooting. He missed all six of his three pointers and dished out four assists.

The Rest

Luol Deng (MIA) 12.0
Aaron Brooks (CHI) 10.5
Taj Gibson (CHI) 8.2
Chris Andersen (MIA) 6.8
Joakim Noah (CHI) 5.2
Jimmy Butler (CHI) 4.5
Tony Snell (CHI) 4.4
Shawne Williams (MIA) 3.3
Nikola Mirotic (CHI) 1.9
Udonis Haslem (MIA) 0.9
Kirk Hinrich (CHI) 0.8

Dog of the Night

Shabazz Napier (MIA) -1.4

As in too many games to count recently, it seems, Napier posted a negative GameScore. It was the sixth time this season that his finished below zero. Napier played 26:41, missing all five shots including two three-pointers. He had three rebounds, three assists, one steal, two assists, three rebounds and ZERO points. If Napier wants to make a difference, we are going to need to see more of the ‘bazz and less of whatever this is.

Tomorrow night, the currently seventh-seeded Heat (20-24) will host the currently sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks (22-22).