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Five Stars: The Gospel According to Isaiah

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Isaiah Thomas tops the Five Stars with a career-high 52 points.

NBA: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Five Stars is a Hot Hot Hoops exclusive where we dig into the box score of each Heat game and pick apart the numbers under the numbers. The top five players are the Five Stars, regardless of which team they player for. I used the GameScore metric, with a slight adjustment for plus/minus to rank the players. This article is for Miami’s 117-114 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

First Star

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 41.2

Thomas was a league apart from everyone else on the floor, especially in a 29-point fourth quarter. Starting at point guard for the Celtics, the 5’9” waterbug made 15-of-26 shots overall, and a crippling nine-for-13 from outside. He also drained all 13 of his free throws, which is more than the entire Miami team even attempted. Thomas pulled down two rebounds with a steal, two turnovers, two fouls, and a plus-11 rating in a game-high 37 minutes, with an estimated single-game PER of 40.1.

It doesn’t seem real, it’s crazy. The fourth quarter, I’ve never done that before. - Thomas

Second Star

Al Horford (BOS) 20.2

Horford had half the game than did Thomas, but that was how far and away from the field that Thomas was from all the other men on the court. For his part, Horford sunk eight-of-12 shots overall, including three-of-six from deep and two-of-two from the line in 31 minutes starting at center for Boston. He finished with 21 points, along with six boards, four assists, a steal, two turnovers, a foul, and a plus-6 rating, with a 23.5 estimated PER.

Third Star

Josh Richardson (MIA) 18.1

JRich played 34 minutes, and finished in the Five Stars for the fifth time overall. He scored 19 points on eight-of-17 shooting, going two-of-five from outside and one-of-one from the stripe. Richardson added six rebounds, a game-high eight helpers, a game-high four steals, two blocks, three fouls, three turnovers, a minus-8 rating, and a 19.2 estimated PER.

Fourth Star

James Johnson (MIA) 17.8

JJ posted a team-high 27.9 estimated PER in 23 minutes, making eight-of-13 shots off the bench in his eighth Five Star performance. Johnson drained four-of-seven three-pointers, two-of-three free throws, and dished out six assists. He added three rebounds, two steals, two blocks, five turnovers, three fouls, and a minus-1 rating.

Fifth Star

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 16.8

TJ, with a 20.9 estimated PER in his 13th Five Star performance, scored 19 points off the bench in 29 minutes for Miami, with six assists, four rebounds, a blocked shot and a plus-3 rating. Johnson made eight-of-13 shots overall to match James Johnson, but only sunk one-of-three from outside and two-of-two from the stripe. He finished with five fouls, a turnover, and a sore chin after taking yet another elbow to the face.

Nightly Notable

Willie Reed (MIA) 7.3

Reed played just 14 minutes in relief of Whiteside, but was far more efficient than the max-deal center (more on him below). Reed put up an 18.8 estimated PER by scoring eight points with four rebounds, a block, and a plus-5 rating.

Friday’s Worst

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 8.5

Whiteside scored 10 points with eight rebounds and a block, as well as a sweet looking assist. Aside from that however, he appeared listless, earning a 9.6 estimated PER. Aimlessly wandering around the court, watching shorter men fight for rebounds easily within his reach, and generally appearing to put forth minimal effort in every situation. This is not a max-contract type guy, and yet somehow he is....

Season Standings

Hassan Whiteside 158
Goran Dragic 85
Tyler Johnson 75
Dion Waiters 34
James Johnson 32
Josh Richardson 26