The Miami Heat trailed by as many as 11 points in the second quarter in their game against the Indiana Pacers Saturday night. But Miami made a push before halftime and never looked back, scoring 60 second-half points to run away with a 113-95 victory. For the Heat, it marked their 16th win in their last 18 games and their 16th straight game scoring at least 100 points, a Heat record.
Dion for 3.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 26, 2017
102 for Heat.
16 games in a row, extending club record.
A lot of players chipped into this win, as six Heat players knocked down at least one 3-pointer Saturday night. But Hassan Whiteside shook off his season-low two-point performance Friday night against the Hawks to finish with 22 points, including 10-of-13 shooting from the foul line, and 17 rebounds. He scored on three consecutive Heat possessions during one third-quarter sequence.
Now, Whiteside may see his minutes increase. Willie Reed suffered a right calf strain in the third quarter and required a stretcher to get off the court. The Heat will re-evaluate Reed tomorrow. Reed has played admirably as the Heat’s backup center this season, and a serious injury could lead the Heat to waive Chris Bosh and sign another big man.
Enough with the bad news. This Heat victory had a lot to like, and James Johnson did a bit of everything (the one blemish were his five turnovers, including a couple puzzling decisions in the third quarter). Johnson finished with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks. His versatile play may have Heat fans feel nostalgic of Lamar Odom’s 2003-04 season with the Heat.
As usual, Miami’s “7/11” backcourt of Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters delivered solid performances — especially in the first half, when Miami did not play as well. Dragic scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and dished out four assists. Waiters added 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from downtown. On the flip side, Waiters committed six turnovers, including one hilarious travel when he forgot to dribble after receiving an in-bounds pass. But overall, Dragic and Waiters have formed a cohesive backcourt and have meshed much better than Dragic and Wade ever did.
Saturday night’s game also saw the ejection of a Heat nemesis, Paul George. In a span of just under two minutes, George and Rodney McGruder each received technical fouls after a brief scuffle. McGruder forced George into committing an offensive foul on the Pacers’ next possession. And then George picked up his second technical after complaining to a referee about not getting a foul call on a 3-point attempt (in fact, George bumped into his screen-setting teammate, not McGruder, on the shot). It looked like McGruder, an NBA rookie, got into the All-Star’s head. For his part, McGruder also knocked down two 3-pointers.
Josh Richardson played 14 minutes as he continues to work off the rest. If Richardson begins to play like he did during his promising rookie campaign, Erik Spoelstra will have to decide how to divvy up minutes among Richardson, Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington off the bench.
The Heat will visit the Dallas Mavericks Monday at 9:30 p.m.