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Five Stars: Clean Sweep

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Eight wasn’t enough for the Heat, who earned their ninth straight win against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-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 play for. I used the GameScore metric, with a slight adjustment for plus/minus to rank the players. This article is for Miami’s 23-point win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Heat’s ninth straight victory.

First Star

Dion Waiters (MIA) 24.3

“Neon” Dion “Prime Time” Waiters may be the best dollar value of any player in the NBA right now. He’s making just under $3,000,000 this season, and recently found the edge he needed to finish off those drives to the rim. In tonight’s contest, he scored 20 points on nine-for-15 shooting in 29:49. He drained two-of-four from three-point range, with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks, and a game-high plus-33 rating. His 21.4 PER was one of four players above the 20.0 mark in his 12th Five Star appearance, and his third “First Star.”

We’re just having fun. - Waiters

Second Star

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 23.7

Whiteside makes his return to the Five Stars for the 30th time after a two-week hiatus, and earned a 22.4 estimated PER in 30:07 on the floor. He made eight-of-13 shots from the field and two-of-three from the line, with 18 rebounds (four offensive), two blocks, a steal, and a plus-25 rating to go with his 18 points.

Third Star

Goran Dragic (MIA) 23.3

The Dragon led Miami with an all-star calibre 27.5 PER for the game, and made his 26th appearance in the Five Stars. He scored a game-high 27 points on eight-for-13 shooting, making a nearly unconscious four-of-five from long-distance, with seven-of-nine foul shots finding the net. He added five rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a plus-5 rating.

Fourth Star

James Johnson (MIA) 15.5

Johnson (1) came off the bench for 23 minutes before getting ejected for his defense of Hassan Whiteside to make the Five Stars for a 14th time. He had a 21.4 estimated PER in his limited minutes, and scored 16 points on seven-of-13 shooting. He missed his only foul shot, and made two-of-six from over the rainbow, with three assists, three blocked shots, two rebounds, a plus-9 rating and a steal.

I don’t think I can beat everyone in the world up, but I’ll take my chances in that kind of situation. - Johnson, on his defense of Whiteside in the fourth quarter

Fifth Star

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 13.3

Johnson (2) got into the Five Stars for the 17th time this season, leading the team with 32:24 on the floor and a less impressive 11.2 estimated PER. He made four-of-11 shots overall and just one-of-five from three-point range to finish with 11 points. He made both of his foul shot attempts, and added five helpers, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Nightly Notable

  1. Miami actually claimed the elusive “Sixth Star” as well, on Luke Babbitt’s eight-point, two steal, one block, one assist, one rebound performance. His adjusted GameScore was just 8.2, but that was 0.3 higher than Atlanta’s best performer of the night.

2. Each of Miami’s Five Stars had statistics in each category; points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals, excepting Goran Dragic’s zero blocks and Hassan Whiteside’s zero assists.

Wednesday’s Worst

The Atlanta Hawks. It was bad.

Five Stars Standings

Hassan Whiteside 193
Goran Dragic 169
Tyler Johnson 96
Dion Waiters 78
James Johnson 68
Willie Reed 33
Wayne Ellington 27
Josh Richardson 26
Justise Winslow 16
Rodney McGruder 9
Derrick Williams 3
Josh McRoberts 1
Luke Babbitt 1