HEAT 94 - Nuggets 95 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood
by Joe Beguiristain

The Miami HEAT fell to the Denver Nuggets 95-94 Friday night at Pepsi Center. Goran Dragić led the way for the HEAT with 23 points.

1. Waiters Goes Off In The Fourth…Again

Dion Waiters just knows how to get it done in crunch time. With Miami down in the fourth quarter, Waiters answered the call with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in the period, including this extremely difficult drive:

A little later, the former Syracuse standout had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his jump shot rattled in and out. On the flip side of the ball, Waiters hounded Gary Harris throughout the fourth and made things very tough on him.

In all, the 25-year-old tallied 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, three rebounds and three assists.

2. Quick Start For Dragić

Nothing but nylon.

That’s what Dragić saw quite often in the first half against the Nuggets, as he literally couldn’t miss from downtown through the first two quarters. In fact, the Slovenian shot 4-of-4 from long-range and scored 18 points before halftime.

While that was important in the HEAT claiming an early lead, this fantastic and-one finish in transition was perhaps his most impressive play of the game:

In addition to his team-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, Dragić also accumulated three rebounds, two steals and a team-high seven assists.

3. Great All-Around Performance By JJ

As usual, James Johnson laid it all on the line on Friday night. He not only hit a season-high three treys against Denver, but he also created so many transition opportunities for Miami thanks to his stout defense. Throughout the evening, Johnson fought hard against Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokić and also did a great job when switched on wing players. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old fouled out with 11.8 seconds remaining in the game.

Johnson’s most explosive play came on a great alley-oop jam in transition thanks to solid defense by Waiters on Millsap.

The forward ended up with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists.

Other Takeaways:

-Hassan Whiteside got off to a nice start against the Nuggets and went right at Jokić in the first quarter. That said, his best play of the night came as the HEAT were mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter:

Whiteside finished with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Game Note:

-Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) sat out. A.J. Hammons, Derrick Walton Jr. and Matt Williams Jr. were assigned to Sioux Falls.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will now travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday at 3:30 PM. Miami won’t be back in action at the AmericanAirlines Arena until Nov. 15 against the Washington Wizards. Tickets for that game can be found here.