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Five Stars: Clearing the Benches

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Four out of the Five Stars started their respective games on the bench in Miami’s 107-102 win against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

NBA: Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-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 five-point win against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

First Star

Goran Dragic (MIA) 21.8

The Dragon played his way into the Five Stars for the 16th time this season, with his sixth First overall Star. Although reserve guard Tyler Johnson (more on him below) had a better actual GameScore, Dragic benefitted from his game-high plus-22 rating. Dragic played 30:03 starting at point guard for the injury-depleted Heat, draining five-for-12 from the field, missing both of his three pointers (Miami went 12-for-25 otherwise, a 48% shooting rate), and making all nine of his free throw attempts. Dragic also dished out a game-high seven assists, stole the ball twice, and pulled down one rebound, finishing with an approximate 20.9 Player Efficiency Rating (PER).

Second Star

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 19.1

Despite suffering from a crippling Migraine headache just 24 hours before, Tyler Johnson led eveyone with 23 points, scored on seven-for-11 shooting. He had a game-high approximate PER of 26.0, but his adjusted GameScore dropped him to the Second Star based on his minus-13 rating. In 30:24 off Miami’s bench, the NBA’s best sixth man (forgive me a little editorializing here) drained seven-of-11 shots overall, including two-of-four from deep and seven-of nine foul shots. He had six rebounds (three offensive), two helpers, two blocked shots and a steal. It was Johnson’s 14th Five Star Game, and his eighth game with two or more stars.

Johnson made a difficult three-point play to give the Heat a three-point lead with less than a minute to play, and on the next sequence, blocked a Matt Barnes layup on a breakaway to possible save Miami’s game.

I was trying to make the shot difficult, I wasn’t really trying to block it. - Johnson

Third Star

James Johnson (MIA) 15.5

The “other” Johnson finished the game with a 19.4 estimated PER, 14 points, six rebounds (two offensive) and six assists. In 25:29, the second cog of Miami’s off-the-bench wrecking crew made four-of-eight shots from the field, with two-of-three from outside and added four points on perfect foul shooting. He had six rebounds (two offensive), a game-high three blocks (matching Sacramento’s team total), and 14 points before fouling out late. This game represented Johnson’s Heat-fourth-best 10th game in the Five Stars.

Fourth Star

Anthony Tolliver (SAC) 15.1

Tolliver made it to the Five Stars largely on the strength of his team-best plus-16 rating, which awards 0.2 points per point in my adjusted formula. He came off the bench and drained five-of-six from the field, including one-of-two from over the rainbow and three-of-three shots from the line. His 15.3 estimated PER helped him join Kosta Koufos as the only two Kings over the NBA average of 15.0. Tolliver added three defensive rebounds, two assists, and a team-best plus-16 rating in 28:45.

Fifth Star

Garrett Temple (SAC) 13.3

Temple played 31:29 minutes in total for the Kings off the bench, finishing with 15 points, three steals, and two assists. He made seven-of-11 shots from the field and one-of-one from the foul stripe, with a plus-5 rating, and a 14.3 approximate PER.

Nightly Notable

Miami’s 25-for-29 night at the line resulted in an 86.2% free throw shooting success rate, their second best game this season. In addition, the Heat and the Kings combined to go 75-for-150 from the field), highlighting either bad defense or great offense, with the latter being more likely considering their aggregate 26-46 record.

Wednesday’s Worst

DeMarcus Cousins

Boogie played 31 minutes, and got held to 13 points and six boards on four-of-15 shooting. That’s 16 points below his NBA-second-best 29.0 points per night. A lot of his bad night can be attributed directly to Miami’s swarming defense (in direct conflict with what I said regarding your nightly notable), led by 14-year veteran Udonis Haslem, who wore Cousins like a glove for the 18 minutes that he was in the game.

Basically half our team was on him. We limited his catches in his sweet spots. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Five Star Standings

Hassan Whiteside 158
Goran Dragic 102
Tyler Johnson 83
James Johnson 41
Dion Waiters 34
Josh Richardson 26
Justise Winslow 16
Willie Reed 14
Wayne Ellington 9
Rodney McGruder 3
Derrick Williams 3
Josh McRoberts 1
Udonis Haslem 0
Luke Babbitt 0