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Hassan Whiteside’s 2-point game made him a franchise player for a night

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Waiters’ +30 and Whiteside’s +20 ratings versus Hawks were real keys to victory

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Johnson’s game-high 23 points and the Miami Heat’s 17 made 3-point shots were beneficiaries of the floor spacing that Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters provided the team. Hassan set many screen assists, as well as block assists, that gave his teammates fast-break opportunities and open looks.

Waiters collapsed the Hawks defense, while Whiteside drew his defenders into paint and willingly passed off to teammates, rather than trying to bully his way to the basket all by himself.

Rodney McGruder impersonated a football player making a catch while being hit.

Nothing stops Rodney from making a basket, much like a football player who knows he will be hit. A flagrant foul may be assessed on the play, but he is as tough as they come.

Then of course James Johnson did his Tom Brady impersonation by leading his receivers one step ahead of the defenders with pinpoint passes.

Smarts and gritty basketball is the hallmark of this Heat squad during the second half of the season. Nobody is trying to do it all themselves, but looking to find blown assignments by other teams to help the other guys. Players who put up the points have their teammates to thank, for providing them with high-percentage opportunities.

Hassan’s and Waiter’s performances against Atlanta were dominating because they were completely concentrated on being in the right spot at the right time for the team’s success. Hassan with his big hands and extraordinarily long reach could learn a few moves from Michael Jordan on how to score around the rim with shot and pass fakes, by using his wits.

Miami is under the radar because of its slow start, but playing as selfless unit has transformed it into something special going the most competitive part of the schedule.