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Five Stars: Gold Fever

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Miami got their sixth win this season in Denver, with three of the top five players in the game.

NBA: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
Ellington makes the Five Stars for the first time.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Five Stars is a series where we at Hot Hot Hoops break down each box score through the 2016-17 season. Ranking the participants in the game by their cumulative GameScore, we can distill the top five players. Players are chosen to be in the five stars regardless of whether they play for the Heat or their opponent, in this case the Denver Nuggets.

First Star

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 25.4

Whiteside makes his 14th Five Stars this season, and his sixth First overall Star. In 32 minutes, he had game-high totals of 25 points, 16 rebounds (four offensive), and four blocked shots. He made 11-of-17 from the floor and three-of-five from the line, with an assist, a steal, and an even rating.

I like this group, I like the toughness that they’re building. Road wins are gratifying because they’re tough. They’re tough anywhere you go. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Second Star

Wayne Ellington (MIA) 20.0

Ellington finally makes his first appearance in the Five Stars, with an impressive 22 points in 31 minutes of action off the bench. He drained five-of-nine from outside, adding three-of-five from closer range and one of his two free throw attempts. He earned a plus-9 rating, with four steals, two rebounds, and two assists.

I got two open looks and I missed them. I told Tyler next time he comes off, look at his shot first but watch me in the corner because sometimes Chandler’s falling asleep. He did that and I knocked that one down. That’s when you feel pretty good. - Ellington

Third Star

Nikola Jokic (DEN) 18.0

Jokic came off the bench for the Nuggets and was one of four players to share the team lead with 17 points, although he did it in the fewest minutes, 24. He made seven-of-11 shots and three-for-four from the foul line, with a team-high 14 rebounds (three offensive). He added three helpers, a steal, and a plus-1 rating.

We talked pregame about we were taking care of the ball late and we had 19 turnovers. - Nuggets coach Michael Malone

Fourth Star

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 16.4

Johnson made his seventh Five Star appearance for Miami, also coming off the bench. He played 28 minutes and scored 18 points on seven-of-13 shooting. He made four-of-six from the foul line and didn’t attempt a three-pointer, adding a plus-8 rating, a team-high-tying seven assists, two rebounds, and a steal.

I can’t miss games because I’m missing teeth. My goal is to play all 82 and now I’m going to have to change it up an wear the mouthpiece. - Johnson

Fifth Star

Jameer Nelson (DEN) 14.3

Nelson played a game-high 37 minutes and made five-of-14 shots from the field to finish with 17 points. He went three-for-five from outside and four-of-six from the foul stripe, with a game-high eight assists, five rebounds, and a plus-2 rating.

Give them credit, they came in and kicked our butt. - Nelson

Notable

The Heat have a free throw problem that borders on systemic. Nobody on the team missed more than two free throws, but collectively, they made just 15-of-26 for a 57.7% success rate.

Wednesday’s Worst

Josh McRoberts (MIA) -0.3

McRoberts played 16 minutes and scored one point. He had three boards and three helpers, but missed all four of his field goal attempts, turned the ball over once, earned a minus-6 rating, and was whistled for three personal fouls.

Season Standings

Hassan Whiteside 100
Tyler Johnson 43
Dion Waiters 34
Goran Dragic 32
James Johnson 13
Josh Richardson 11
Wayne Ellington 8
Justise Winslow 6
Willie Reed 3
Rodney McGruder 3