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Five Stars: One For The Road

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The Heat head into the All Star break with a road win over the Houston Rockets.

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 player for. I used the GameScore metric, with a slight adjustment for plus/minus to rank the players. This article is about Miami’s 117-109 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

First Star

James Harden (HOU) 33.2

Harden was a force to be reckoned with, and for the second time in two games between the Heat and the Rockets he finished with a triple-double. He scored 38 points in 41:43 on the court, making 10-of-21 shots overall. He drained four-of-10 from long range, and sank 14 of an incredible 16 foul shot attempts. Some of the foul calls were questionable, and I’ll leave it at that. Harden also had a dozen rebounds and as many assists, with a blocked shot, a minus-6 rating, and an estimated PER of 29.7.

We let a couple of games slip up, but we've got an opportunity for guys to get some rest and get their minds right and be ready to go for this push. - Harden, dismissing the loss as nothing to really worry about.

Second Star

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 25.1

Whiteside tied for the Miami lead with 23 points in 31:24 in his 34th Five Star performance. He earned a plus-9 rating and a 26.7 estimated PER while pulling down 14 rebounds, blocking five shots, and dishing out one assist. He shot nine-for-13 from the field and five-of-eight from the stripe.

He played at his highest level, imposing his size and physicality on both sides of the court. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Third Star

Dion Waiters (MIA) 21.9

Waiters tied Whiteside’s 23 points, leading Miami with 36:30 on the floor in his 14th game in the Five Stars. He registered a 19.4 estimated PER and had a plus-11 rating, made eight-of-17 field goals, and three-of-four foul shots, He also pitched in with nine rebounds and a team-leading seven helpers, making four-of-nine three-pointers.

Fourth Star

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 14.8

Johnson, in his 20th Five Stars, played 32:41 off the bench and scored 16 points with seven rebounds (four offensive), four assists, and a plus-4 rating. In his 20th Five Stars, he drained two-of-six from distance with an estimated PER of 15. He made four-of-five shots from two-point land and five-of-seven from the stripe.

Fifth Star

Goran Dragic (MIA) 14.2

Dragic makes his 32nd Five Star appearance by scoring 21 points and earning a 16.6 estimated PER in just under 33 minutes. He made eight-of-14 shots overall, missing all five of his three-pointers and making five-of-seven free throws. He dished out five assists, with a rebound and a team-worst minus-5 rating.

When you have a big fellow behind you and you know that he's going to block the shot or at least he's going to contest it, it helps. - Dragic

Nightly Notable

The “Sixth Star” went to Rodney McGruder, who scored 11 points in 27 minutes. The “Seventh Star” went to Luke Babbitt, who scored nine points on three-of-four shooting from outside in 17 minutes. Houston had Harden, then the “Eighth Star” Ryan Anderson as the second biggest contributor on the team.

Wednesday’s Worst

Nobody was really all that terrible on either team. The closest we could see to a “bad game” were Eric Gordon’s four-for-15 effort and James Johnson’s three-for-10 night. Of course, Johnson also had seven boards and five assists.

Five Stars Standings

Hassan Whiteside 227
Goran Dragic 196
Tyler Johnson 112
Dion Waiters 92
James Johnson 90
Willie Reed 33
Wayne Ellington 33
Everyone Else 62