Erik Spoelstra: ‘Hassan Whiteside played at his highest level’ as Miami beat James Harden, Houston

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NBA, NBA Rumors, Miami Heat, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic
Hassan Whiteside (Photo Courtesy: Disney/ABC Image Group LA/Flickr)

The Miami Heat went to Hassan Whiteside more in their 117-109 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Whiteside delivered and finished with a double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds with 5 blocks.

The Heat were in control early and led 34-28 after the first quarter. They continued their good run and extended the lead to 58-45 at halftime. The Rockets never recovered in the second half to lose for the first time in the last five games.

Meanwhile, Miami snapped back-to-back losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic. They are back to their winning ways and are 14-2 in the last 16 games.

Heat streaking into the All-Star break

The big turnaround this season allowed the Heat to remain in the playoff battle this season. Overall, they are at 25-32, in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. They are two games behind the Detroit Pistons, who are in eighth place in the team standings.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was impressed with how Whiteside responded. Known more for his defensive play, Whiteside was aggressive to the basket versus the Rockets.

“When he plays with that level of physicality and effort and focus, it’s plain to see that we are a much different basketball team. He played at his highest level, imposing his size and physicality on both sides of the court,” the Heat head coach said about his starting center, who earned a lucrative deal last offseason.

Dion Waiters also continued his great run this year finishing with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists versus Houston. Waiters shot 4-of-9 from the three-point area and played the most minutes for his team with 37. Goran Dragic added 21 points and 5 assists.

Whiteside was happy with his team’s effort. He claimed that the team chemistry is getting better at this point of the season for the Heat.

“Guys are coming together. Guys are a family and our hearts are in the right place. We’ve been jelling,” the Heat star center said.

Rockets offense struggle vs. Heat

The Rockets’ offense was not as dangerous in this game compared to their previous four games. Houston shot just 13-of-40 from the three-point area, or 32.5%. Overall, they were 36-of-87 from the field, or 41.4%. Meanwhile, Houston allowed Miami to shoot 52.4% from the field.

The losing side was led by James Harden, who continues to have an MVP-type season, registering another triple-double of 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Ryan Anderson added 17 points with 5 three-pointers and 6 rebounds but other Rockets struggled from the field.

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Photo Courtesy: Disney/Wikimedia Commons

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