HEAT 95 - Mavericks 88 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Glenn James
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

The Miami HEAT defeated the Dallas Mavericks 95-88 Monday night at AmericanAirlines Center. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 25 points.

1. Whiteside Sets The Tone Early

From the opening tip on Monday night, Whiteside was just in another gear. With Dirk Nowitzki on him more often than not, Whiteside simply took advantage inside and dominated on the offensive glass.

A perfect example of that came early in the first quarter when he followed a Tyler Johnson miss and hit a smooth hook shot over Nowitzki.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget this fantastic pass to James Johnson a little later in the first half:

As the game progressed, Whiteside continued to have success inside and scored 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the third quarter thanks to some good feeds from his teammates.

In addition to his game-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, the big fella also led the team with 14 rebounds (seven offensive).

2. J. Rich Dials Long Distance

While there were no scoop shots this time around for Josh Richardson, the 24-year-old caught fire from deep and led Miami with four made triples. Of course, Richardson also continued to initiate offense when he wasn’t operating off the ball.

All that said, the former Tennessee Volunteer emptied the tank on the defensive end and competed hard against Harrison Barnes early on and Dennis Smith Jr. down the stretch.

In fact, Richardson actually led the team with a career-high four blocks, including this nifty one on Smith Jr. early in the fourth:

When it was all said and done, J. Rich tallied 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a plus-eight rating to go along with his aforementioned four blocks.

3. Dragić Comes Through In The Clutch

Although Goran Dragić has had more impactful games this season, the vet took what the defense gave him and mixed up his offensive approach against the Mavericks.

Naturally, The Dragon had the biggest bucket of the night down the stretch as Dallas was mounting a comeback.

In all, Dragić amassed 13 points, four boards and three assists.

Other Takeaways:

-Kelly Olynyk struggled a bit with his shot overall, but he channeled his inner Whiteside with this massive put-back jam early in the fourth quarter:

Olynyk ended up with 12 points and four rebounds.

-As usual, Justise Winslow got the job done on the defensive end and held his own against multiple players.

That said, this strong drive against Wesley Matthews late in the third quarter was a sight to behold:

Winslow finished with six points, five rebounds and a plus-seven rating.

Game Note:

-Derrick Jones Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment), Derrick Walton Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment), Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery) and A.J. Hammons (Sioux Falls assignment) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will continue their road trip to Cleveland and face the Cavaliers Wednesday night at 7:30 PM. Miami’s next home game won’t be until Feb. 5 against the Magic at 7:30 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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