After being taken out of the Detroit Pistons game with 4:03 left in the 3rd quarter, Justise Winslow was out during the rest of the game for the Miami Heat. The starting lineup in the fourth quarter was Tyler Johnson, James Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Josh Richardson, and Kelly Olynyk. A botched dunk may have influenced Winslow’s no show in the last quarter.
When Hassan Whiteside scored with 7:03 left in 3rd quarter the Heat got their biggest lead of game, 73-62. Then Avery Bradley made a 3-pointer, Winslow blew an easy 2 points, and Bradley made his second 3-point basket to trim the lead to 73-68. Coach Erik Spoelstra called a timeout after those quick 6 points by Detroit.
Whether Winslow’s benching in fourth quarter means anything is open for discussion. So far Olynyk, J. Johnson, or Okaro White as starters haven’t produced better results than Winslow. In 4 games together, Winslow’s starting 5 beat the opposition by 29 points in their 40 minutes on the court. The quintet that started the 4th quarter is next best with a +12 points over 12 minutes.
Despite the dunk hiccup, Spo likes what he sees with his current starters,
"It's certainly compelling enough to continue like this," Spoelstra said following Tuesday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "There's some very good things with that starting unit. We just continue to need to build a consistent 48-minute game."
"He was starting to trend in the right direction, anyway," Spoelstra said, with Winslow starting the previous two games at small forward, in the paternity-leave absence of Dion Waiters, before this shift to power forward. "I just want him to make an impact when he's out there, on both ends of the court. At the four, he can play off of our guards and facilitate and then pick his spots where to be aggressive.”
The Pistons’ game was a lesson learned, like the Golden State Warriors’ game was for Whiteside.