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Five Stars: 11th Heaven

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Miami won their 11th straight game on Monday night in Minnesota.

NBA: Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves Marilyn Indahl-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 115-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

First Star

Goran Dragic (MIA) 32.4

The Dragon earned his ninth First Star of the season in his 28th overall appearance in the series, earning a 30.3 PER in his 34:30 on the court. He drained 13-of-17 shots overall, including seven-of-nine from outside. Somehow, he didn’t visit the foul stripe, but he added nine assists, a rebound, a steal, and a plus-17 rating to go with his 33 points.

The rim looks huge, you know? It’s just, first four 3-pointers was really easy. There was no contest, and a credit to my teammates, they were finding me on the open shots. - Dragic

Second Star

Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 27.3

The Man with Two First Names scored a game-high 35 points on a very efficient 13-for-20 performance, including two-of-three from long range. He made seven-of-10 from the foul line, with four offensive and four defensive rebounds. He also pitched in with two steals, a block, and closed the night with a minus-4 rating. His night yielded an approximate PER of 26.8.

I've got to make them understand how important this is. I have to ask myself, `Is it being taught properly? - Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau

Third Star

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 19.4

The Great Wall of Whiteside earned a 17.1 PER in his 35:49 on the floor, scoring 19 points with 13 rebounds. He added two assists, a block, and a steal in his 32nd appearance in the Five Stars. Whiteside made eight-of-14 shots from the field and three-of-four from the stripe.

Now we have to be able to play to our identity when you're dealing with a little bit of success and not let human nature set in. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Fourth Star

Rodney McGruder (MIA) 19.3

McGruder, making just his fourth appearance in the Five Stars, Led Miami with 38:36 on the court. He scored 15 points on six-of-eight shooting, going three-of-four from over-the-rainbow and not attempting a foul shot. He added five rebounds (four offensive) with four assists, a steal, a plus-5 rating, and a 17.1 PER, matching Whiteside’s efficiency.

Fifth Star

Ricky Rubio (MIN) 18.0

Rubio’s 18.0 adjusted GameScore squeezes teammate Andrew Wiggins (17.3) out of the Five Stars, but just barely. Rubio earned a 19.7 PER in 35:45 on the court, scoring 14 points with 13 helpers. He made four-of-eight shots overall, missing his only three-pointer and making all six of his foul shot attempts. Rubio also added two steals and finished with a minus-8 rating.

Nightly Notable

Miami continued it’s ridiculous stretch of three point shooting by sinking 15-of-28 shots overall, a 53.6% success rate. By comparison, the Wolves shot 45.5% by making five-of-11.

Monday’s Worst

Luke Babbitt (MIA) -2.5

Babbitt was the only player for either team with a negative GameScore. In 13 minutes, he made one-of-five shots for three points. He committed three fouls and earned a minus-6 rating in his limited time on the floor. Babbitt and Dion Waiters combined to go one-for-eight from long-distance, leaving the rest of the team with an almost unfathomable 70% shooting rate from three-point range (14-for-20).

Five Stars Standings

Hassan Whiteside 209
Goran Dragic 183
Tyler Johnson 102
Dion Waiters 86
James Johnson 70
Willie Reed 33
Wayne Ellington 27
Josh Richardson 26
Justise Winslow 16
Rodney McGruder 13
Derrick Williams* 3
Josh McRoberts 1
Luke Babbitt 1