This game was supposed to be marked as one of the games of the year to watch. Kobe vs Wade. Instead, the injury report for players that are out for the season (Chris Bosh, Julius Randle, Josh McRoberts, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash) could of arguably made the best starting five. Turns out Hassan Whiteside made you forget all of them last night.
After a sluggish start Goran Dragic picked up the pace as you expected he would, and fed the ball into Hassan Whiteside, who once again became effective as the offense started running through him.
GIF: Goran finds Hassan in the paint for a 1st quarter dunk! pic.twitter.com/xFJl7KkkDp— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 5, 2015
Whiteside finished the 1st quarter with seven points and seven rebounds. On pace for a 28/28 right? That stat doesn't surprise you anymore does it? The best part: Whiteside didn't commit a foul in those first 12 minutes.
Despite the production from Whiteside, the offense from the 2nd quarter came from Jeremly Lin and the Laker bench. Lin had 5 points 4 assists and 2 steals and the LA bench had 15 points. The Lakers continued to shoot a lights out 58% from the floor and took a 51-46 at the half.
#ELHEATgame halftime: EL HEAT 46 - Lakers 51. Deng 11pts, Whiteside 9pts 8rebs, Dragic/Wade 8pts each, Walker 5pts.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 5, 2015
Pat Riley sat down with Jason Jackson during Halftime and essentially said Whiteside is a walking double double without even trying:
Pat Riley on Hassan Whiteside to Sun Sports: "I think he can get 16 and 12 without even going to him"— Adam Kuperstein (@AKuperstein) March 5, 2015
Whiteside got his "walking double double" (his 12th in the past 16 games) and even had a rejection that led to Dwyane Wade throwing a touchdown like lob to Dragic for the layup. The play was similar to last year when Wade passed it to....never mind.
GIF: Wade finds Goran down the floor to give Miami a 3rd quarter lead pic.twitter.com/jiAcJYXsGl— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 5, 2015
A sudden 9-0 run had Miami up 57-55 on LA as the Heat started winning the rebound battle 25-20. The third quarter ended with the Heat up 76-73 not only behind Whiteside's 10 points and 16 rebounds, but also a back court domination from Dragic's 16 points and five assists and Wade with his 18 of his own. Two of them took Heat Nation down memory lane:
GIF: D. Wade spins to the basket in the 3rd quarter for a dunk pic.twitter.com/9mM7vLk4SG— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 5, 2015
With the Laker bench having it's way with Miami, there was only one way to solve the problem and that was with a "W2 Form" In another words Wade and Whiteside checked back in with 7 minutes left and Miami trailing 84-80. Even though Whiteside continued to get hacked and fouled, he responded with rebounds and got his fourth 20 rebound game this season. Then with Miami up by one with less than a minute, all hell broke loose with this dunk:
Miami beat LA 100-94, behind Whiteside's 25 REBOUNDS, 17 points and four blocks. He scored the final seven points for Miami. Can we call Hassan LeWhiteside now?
Hassan Whiteside finishes with 18 points, 25 rebounds and four blocks. His salary ranks 446th among all players.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 5, 2015
Here's the stat line for everyone that stood out:
Hassan Whiteside - 18 points, 25 rebounds, 4 blocks
Dwyane Wade - 25 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
Goran Dragic - 21 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals
Luol Deng - 15 points, 6 rebounds
How does HeatNation feel right now? Coach Spo speaks for all of us:
Up next: Miami at Washington, Friday at 7pm.