After a disappointing two-game losing streak in which the Miami Heat appeared disjointed and their chemistry was decidedly out of tune, the team put together a complete performance on New Year's Day to rout the Dallas Mavericks 106-82.
The game started oddly enough, with no sign of Dwyane Wade at the start of tipoff. Tyler Johnson started in his place and Justise Winslow was a late scratch with his ongoing ankle injury. As for Wade, although he was listed among the starters, he was back in the locker room suffering from flu-like symptoms. Thankfully, Wade enjoyed an efficient game once he did enter the game in the second quarter and finished with 10 points on 5-6 shooting in 19 minutes.
Goran Dragic was aggressive early and often, Chris Bosh was a constant threat with 16 points, Gerald Green provided plenty of above-the-rim highlights with 19 points off the bench, and Luol Deng had his moments on both defense and offense, but it was the Hassan Whiteside show with an impressive double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds by halftime and finishing with a robust 25-point, 19-rebound effort in one of his better games of the season. He was even hitting shots from mid-range on his way to a 12-of-16 shooting performance.
"I'm just trying to get my All-Star ratings up," Whiteside told Heat reporter Jason Jackson after the game.
The Mavericks went cold against the Heat's active defense and fell behind early and only briefly managed to cut the deficit to single-digits, with the Heat able to convincingly answer with a run of their own to inflate their lead. Dallas had a four-game winning streak snapped, including a win against the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors, but never really got it going in Miami. Dirk Nowitzki did not pose much of a threat from outside, though Wesley Matthews briefly picked up the slack in the first half.
The Heat next face the Washington Wizards on the road Sunday at 6:00pm.