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Christmas Day Five Stars: A New Hope

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Familiar faces and a new hope pepper the Christmas Day Five Stars.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Five Stars series turns the focus on top performers in each regular season Miami Heat game.

Players are mostly ranked based on their collective GameScore, as designed by John Hollinger. I use a small adjustment based on each player’s plus-minus rating, and rank each player regardless of team affiliation.

First Star: Goran Dragić, Miami Heat

13-season veteran Goran Dragić tops todays feature, coming off the bench to score 18 points in just over 27 minutes. He drained six-of-seven shots from inside the arc, but missed all four of his three-point shot attempts. Dragić added six points on seven foul shots, adding nine assists, four steals, and two defensive rebounds. His plus-21 rating was the second best in the game, behind only Avery Bradley’s plus-23.

Second Star: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Second-year man Zion Williamson pulls down the second star despite finishing at minus-13 and blocking zero shots, scoring a game high 32 points in a game-high 38 minutes. The Pelicans starting power forward, Williamson made 11-of-20 shots, missing his only three pointer but making 10-of-15 from the foul stripe. He also pulled down 14 boards, including four off the offensive glass, and added one assist and one steal.

Third Star: Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Brandon Ingram trailed only Williamson in minutes played, with 37. He made seven-of-17 shots from the field, 10-of-11 from the line, and half of his eight three-point attempts to finish with a game-second-best 28 points. Ingram, the Pelicans starter at small forward and a four-season NBA vet, also pitched in with two defensive rebounds and three dimes. His plus-2 final rating was one of only two positive plus-minuses on the Pelicans, along with Steven Adams’ plus-5.

Fourth Star: Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat

Duncan Robinson started today’s game by making five three-pointers in the first quarter, on his way to an eight-for-14 night from the field. He totaled a team-high 23 points despite not attempting a foul shot, draining seven-of-13 from long-distance. He collected five boards off the defensive glass, and finished at minus-5.

Fifth Star: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Despite clocking in with the fifth star, Adebayo is the lone Heat player to get ranked in our game-ending top five feature in both contests thus far this season. He was the fifth star in the season opening loss to the Orlando Magic, as well.

In today’s game, the fourth-year veteran started and played 28 minutes at power forward, scoring 17 points. He made five-of-nine from the field and seven-of-eight from the foul line, with four defensive rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block, and a plus-9 rating for Miami.

Honorable Mention: Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat

Also for the second consecutive game, Achiuwa managed the highest approximate PER outside of the five stars. He played just under 20 minutes, scoring 11 points on a five-of-seven night. Achiuwa managed to finish with an approximate PER of 14.2 despite six fouls in his limited time. For comparison’s sake, if we take the fouls out, his PER rises to 18.7. That figure would rank behind only Dragić’s 26.2 and Williamson’s 23.0.

Dishonorable Mention: Nicolo Melli, New Orleans Pelicans

Second-year vet Nicolo Melli played just nine minutes and didn’t make much of a dent on the bottom line. He scored one point, committed two fouls, and finished at minus-7.

2020-21 Five Star Standings

  1. Goran Dragić: 15
  2. Duncan Robinson: 4
  3. Jimmy Butler: 3
  4. Bam Adebayo: 3