Depleted and drained, the Miami Heat collected their second straight win in two nights against the Washington Wizards in blowout fashion Saturday night with a final score of 114-94. Hassan Whiteside, who returned from a one-game suspension, made up for his missed game yesterday with a much-needed 25 points and 23 rebounds off the bench. The seven-footer along with Goran Dragic and Luol Deng were dialed in from the start and led the way for a short-handed Heat team in excellent example.
Propelled by a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter, the Heat set the tone early and slowly built a stable lead that would last the rest of the game. Whiteside checked in with just under five minutes to play in the period, his first game since elbowing Spurs' big man Boban Marjanovic that resulted in a ejection and eventual suspension. Whiteside got right to work with a quick five points and five rebounds. Dragic's nine points led the Heat 30-19 after one.
Miami increased the discrepancy in the second quarter, leading by as much as 20. The Heat's defense was on par as All-Star guard John Wall was held scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the game. Wall's counterpart, Dragic, looked like the real All-Star; the point guard led both teams with 14 points at the break. In addition to the scoring, Dragic had several key assists, including a rare alley-oop to Whiteside to close the half. The dunk capped off Whiteside's 12 point, 14 rebound first half which had the Heat winning 59-44.
DRAGIC TO WHITESIDE FEAST YOUNG MANhttps://t.co/LgzSBLeYPb— All U Can Heat (@AllUCanHeat1) February 21, 2016
Despite an early scare that saw the Wizards get within in 10, the Heat countered back, led again by Dragic. The Heat's third-highest paid player scored eight of Miami's 23 third quarter points. Rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson got extended run with the absences of Bosh and Wade and made the most of it. Winslow reached double-figures in the third and Richardson played a game-high 35 minutes.
Not only did Richardson lead all players in minutes but the shooting guard led everybody in blocks, 3, with his final rejection of the game coming in the third over Bradley Beal (see video below). The Wizards, who played their third-game in three nights, looked discouraged and showed signs of giving up. The Heat led 82-64 heading into the fourth quarter.
Another one. pic.twitter.com/n0GzLQIPQx— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 21, 2016
It would be all fun and games in the final quarter of the game. The Heat scored their most points in the quarter (32) as Whiteside had 13 and Deng 12. Whiteside, who was rumored to have been in trade rumors before the deadline and was criticized for his performance in his last two games off the bench, silenced all talk of that with his 20th rebound of the game on a putback dunk with 9:18 left.
After leading the Heat with 30 points and 11 rebounds Friday night, Deng continued to be everywhere with an array of jumpers and defensive plays. Josh McRoberts, who also had a big game Friday (19 points, 10 assists, six rebounds), didn't have the high volume of assists like the night before but had a pretty fake and pass to Whiteside for a powerful slam that had the Heat crowd rocking and put the final touches on a big 114-94 win over division rival Wizards.
Without Wade (left knee soreness) and Bosh (reported blood clots), Deng put on another great performance and led the Heat with 27 points and 10 rebounds on 61% shooting. Despite the second-straight double-double, it was Whiteside that owned the show as the center finished with 25 points, 23 rebounds and two blocks. Dragic had another complete game with a season-high 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Winslow added 14 points and six boards in his fourth career start.
Whiteside is the third player to go 25-20 in less than 30 minutes since the early 80's. Alonzo Mourning and Bill Laimbeer the other two.— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) February 21, 2016
Wall looked nothing like a All-Star point guard, as the sixth-year guard finished with just 12 points and four assists on 29% shooting. Beal led the Wizards with 19 points off the bench and Gortat helped out with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Heat's solid defense held the Wizards to to 40% shooting while outrebounding the Wizards 67-45 and having 10 more assists (23-10). With the victory, Miami ties the season series at 2-2. While that ensues a tiebreaker, the standings don't appear to create a problem. The Wizards (25-29) are 10th in the Eastern Confrence and will be battling for a ticket into the playoffs as the Heat (31-24), fourth, try to lock up their own playoff berth while trying to get the highest seed possible.
Another Eastern Conference foe comes into town Monday night as the Heat play the Indiana Pacers @ 7:30 P.M.