Five Stars is a series that Hot Hot Hoops is running throughout the 2016-17 season where we rate each player to appear in each Miami Heat game. We rank the top five competitors in each contest, and list them regardless of who they play for. The second game of Miami’s home-and-home series with the Memphis Grizzlies resulted in a tightly fought and mostly well-played game for each team, but the Grizz took it by a 110-107 final.
Marc Gasol (MEM) 25.5
Gasol took top honors in Memphis’ final matchup against Miami this season. It shouldn’t be a surprise, as most Gasols’ take the First Star in games versus the Heat (Pau did it twice last season).
The younger of the Gasol brothers scored a game-high-tying 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting, even making two-of-four from deep and all four of his foul shot attempts. In 34 minutes, he rated a plus-6 with six assists and three defensive rebounds.
Dion Waiters (MIA) 21.8
Waiters continued to prove his mettle with another gritty effort despite a lingering groin injury, with a season high and game-high-tying 28 points, scored on 10-for-19 shooting. It’s the first time this season that he shot over 50% from the field, a pattern he stretched to beyond the arc, where he made four-of-five. He also sunk four-of-six from the stripe, with six helpers, five defensive boards, and a team-high plus-6 rating for the game.
As a side note, it seems like Waiters may be the best pure ball handling guard on the team right now, with the exception of the not-in-uniform Goran Dragic.
Mike Conley (MEM) 19.1
Conley started for the Grizzlies and played 34 minutes (every Memphis starter played between 33 and 35 minutes in total). He scored a team-second 21 points on six-of-13 shooting, making two-of-four from outside and all seven of his free throws. He added seven assists, three defensive rebounds, and a plus-3 rating for the game.
Conley made every - big - play down the stretch. It’s early right now, but if he’s not an All-Star it’ll be a crime - Miami coach Erik Spoelstra
Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 13.9
Whiteside, with Waiters, were the only Miami players to finish the game with a positive plus-minus rating. Whiteside posted a plus-2 (Derrick Williams and Josh Richardson finished with even plus-minus ratings). In 34 minutes, he drained seven-of-11 shots from the floor and one-of-four from the stripe, with a game-high 12 rebounds (four offensive), two blocked shots and a steal. And there was this....
JaMychal Green (MEM) 12.7
Green started at forward for Memphis and finished with a dozen points and seven rebounds (one offensive, half of Memphis’ output for the game). In 33 minutes, he was the only Memphis starter with a negative plus-minus rating, with a minus-2. He made four-of-six shots in total, including three-of-four from deep and one-of-two from the line, and added one assist, one steal, and one block.
A night after Udonis Haslem (two-for-two) was the only Heat player to shoot above 50%, the entire team came up one shot short of the mark on Saturday night (that last one by Josh Richardson would have been nice...). Luke Babbitt (see below), Tyler Johnson (three-for-seven), and Richardson (five-for-12) were the only Heat players to finish below 50% shooting.
Luke Babbit (MIA) -2.0
Babbitt was not sharp on Saturday night. He missed all four of his field goal attempts, two of them from three-point range, and added two defensive rebounds to his statline in 16 minutes. He also committed a personal foul.
Hassan Whiteside 83
Tyler Johnson 39
Dion Waiters 34
Goran Dragic 23
James Johnson 13
Josh Richardson 11
Justise Winlsow 6
Willie Reed 3
Rodney McGruder 3