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 play for. I used the GameScore metric, with a slight adjustment for plus/minus to rank the players. This article is for Miami’s 104-96 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
James Johnson (MIA) 19.5
Johnson continues to produce in big minutes off the bench for the Heat. He earned his second First Star of the season and his 13th overall appearance on the countdown in 33:04. He earned a plus-12 rating and an 18.6 PER for the game, with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Johnson made six-of-11 shots (including the putback dunk in the video just below) from the field and three-of-four from the foul line, sinking two-of-three from deep.
Goran Dragic (MIA) 19.0
Dragic appears in the countdown for the 25th time, with a game-leading 20.8 PER in 32:47. He made six-of-13 shots overall, including one-of-two from outside. He also made seven-of-11 free throws, with eight helpers, three boards, three steals, and an even rating to go with his game-high 20 points.
Dion Waiters (MIA) 18.2
Waiters gets into the Five Stars for the 11th time this year, with 19 points on a seven-for-18 night from the field, including three-of-six three-pointers. He made two-of-four from the stripe and earned a plus-10 rating in a game-high 35:47, with nine assists, six rebounds, a blocked shot, and a 16.3 approximate PER.
Stay humble. Stay hungry. Continue to keep working. Get better day by day. Keep putting in the work and you see results. - Waiters
Rodney McGruder (MIA) 13.5
McGruder had a 12.4 PER in 31:32, scoring 13 points and finishing the game with a team-high plus-13 rating. He made five-of-nine overall and three-of-six from over the rainbow, with one rebound, two steals, and a blocked shot. McGruder didn’t get to the foul stripe, in his third Five Star appearance.
Isaiah Whitehead (BKN) 13.4
Whitehead came off Brooklyn’s bench for 23:39 just to rain on our straight flush here in the Five Stars. He made six-of-12 overall and one-of-three from long distance, with five assists, four rebounds, and a blocked shot. His 18.3 PER was one of two from the Nets over the NBA-average 15.0 mark (with Justin Hamilton, at 16.1).
Give them credit. They’re on a good roll. - Nets coach Kenny Atkinson
This eight-game winning bender is Miami’s longest such streak since the sun set on our “Big Three” era. I know there are proponents of the “tank.” I am not one of them, and you shouldn’t be either. Tanking is a terrible way to build a winner. For every “Suck for Luck” campaign (which turned out good for the Indianapolis Colts). There are three teams with one great player and yet another tank around the corner. F**k that. Win at all costs, all the time, forever and ever amen.
We’re not looking at standings right now. We’re concentrating on us. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
Tyler Johnson was back in the lineup for Miami, but he clearly wasn’t yet feeling it. He missed six-of-seven shots and finished with three points and a minus-6 rating in 19:13.
Five Stars Standings
Hassan Whiteside 185
Goran Dragic 163
Tyler Johnson 94
Dion Waiters 68
James Johnson 64
Willie Reed 33
Wayne Ellington 27
Josh Richardson 26
Justise Winslow 16
Rodney McGruder 9
Derrick Williams 3
Josh McRoberts 1
Luke Babbitt 1