HEAT 90 - Rockets 99 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Bill Baptist
by Joe Beguiristain

The Miami HEAT fell to the Houston Rockets 99-90 Monday night at Toyota Center. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 22 points.

1. Whiteside Has A Red-Hot Start

You aren’t going to find many first quarters better than the one Whiteside had on Monday. The big fella was just in another gear at the start, as he hit his first six shots and absolutely abused Clint Capela in the opening quarter. As such, he tallied 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, three boards, three steals and two assists in the period.

Then in the second quarter, Whiteside had this jam in transition thanks to a fantastic no-look touch pass from Justise Winslow:

Although the 7-footer slowed down a bit in the second half, his contribution early on was very important.

In addition to his team-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting, Whiteside also led Miami with 13 rebounds and three steals.

2. Jones Jr. Impresses On The Defensive End

While Derrick Jones Jr. had a monster jam in the first quarter, he really shined on the defensive end against Houston. From the very beginning, the 20-year-old rose to the occasion against James Harden and defended the MVP candidate quite well.

On this sequence late in the third quarter, Jones Jr. recovered well from a Nenê screen and swatted Harden from behind:

Down the stretch, Jones Jr. came through again and forced Harden into two key misses on back-to-back possessions with less than two minutes to play.

On the flip side of the ball, the UNLV product made some great hustle plays and grabbed three offensive rebounds.

When it was all said and done, Jones Jr. tallied six points on 3-of-6 shooting, five rebounds and a team-high three blocks.

3. Richardson Does All He Can

While Josh Richardson didn’t shoot the ball as well as he’s accustomed to, he stuck with it and scored five points on 2-of-3 shooting in the fourth quarter.

That said, Richardson did his most impressive work on the defensive end and emptied the tank against Chris Paul. As such, the former Tennessee Volunteer led the team with a plus-1 rating to go along with his 12 points, three boards, one assist, one steal and one block.

Other Takeaways:

-Justise Winslow did his usual damage on both ends and guarded multiple guys, including Harden, Paul and Eric Gordon.

On the offensive end, Winslow distributed the ball as only he can and also had this nifty and-one finish late in the third quarter:

The former Duke Blue Devil ended up with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting, four rebounds and four assists on the night.

Game Note:

-Goran Dragić (left knee bruise) sat out. Tyler Johnson (left ankle sprain), Dion Waiters (left ankle sprain), Okaro White (left foot surgery), Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and A.J. Hammons (Sioux Falls assignment) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will finally return home to face the Kings on Thursday at 7:30 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.