MIAMI – The Miami Heat scored their season high in points Tuesday, but could not overcome their poor free throw shooting.
The Heat lost in double-overtime, 136-130, to the Orlando Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena, a game in which they surrendered an eight-point lead with 9 1/2 minutes remaining and missed six of their final 10 free throws.
The Heat (9-20) battled back from a four-point deficit in the second overtime, but Orlando (13-17) then scored five consecutive points, including a three-pointer by Evan Fournier, to take a lead it would not relinquish.
In the first overtime, Orlando’s Jeff Green tied the score at 118 with two free throws with 13.6 seconds remaining after Goran Dragic missed two free throws. Justise Winslow then missed a runner at the rim sending the game into double overtime.
Orlando’s Serge Ibaka rebounded a missed jumper by Evan Fournier and blindly banked home a 10-foot turnaround hook shot with 1.1 second remaining in regulation to tie the score at 109 and send the game into overtime. Josh Richardson had a chance to give the heat a three-point lead but missed one of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
Coach Erik Spoelstra lamented the Heat’s inability to get key stops as much as missing free throws.
“We had opportunities to get stops,” he said. “We feel we’ve been building our defense for those moments, to get consecutive stops when you have the lead.”
Whiteside and Tyler Johnson each had 32 points for Miami, Whiteside tying his career high, Johnson establishing his. Johnson’s total was the most ever by a Heat player off the bench.
Here are our five takeaways.
Whiteside a warrior: Hassan Whiteside played a game-high 47 minutes, most of it with a bandage over his right eye thanks to an inadvertent elbow from Bismack Biyombo. That didn’t stop the Heat’s 98-million man from having his fifth consecutive impressive performance. Whiteside not only equaled his career high but had 15 rebounds and five blocks, logging his fifth consecutive double-double. Whiteside entered the game averaging 19.3 points and 18 rebounds in his last four games. Still, Whiteside, was not happy. He was asked if he thought he had enough touches late in the game. Whiteside’s 22 shots were the most on the team, two more than Tyler Johnson. But he had just three shots in the two overtimes combined while playing all but 24 seconds.
“They say I’m the franchise player, I would think I should get more,” he said. “But I don’t know, man. I don’t think so to be honest, but coach is going to coach.”
Free throws a killer: After starting 14-of-16 from the line, the Heat missed six of their final 10, finishing 18-of-26 (69.2 percent). Richardson missed one at the end of regulation that would have given Miami a three point lead before Orlando tied the game. Tyler Johnson then missed two early in the first overtime before Dragic missed two in 17 seconds of the first overtime. Whiteside then went 1-for-2 from the line in the second OT.
“You can point to the free throw line but there are other things,” Winslow said. “I gave up an offensive rebound down the stretch. It all adds up.”
Better start: In their last two games, the Heat fell behind the Clippers by 14 points at the half and trailed Boston by 22 in the second quarter. Miami made runs in both games but never fully recovered. The Heat got off to a better start Tuesday, especially offensively. Miami’s 64 first half points were a season high for the first 24 minutes and their 59 percent shooting (23 of 39) was their best for any half on the year.
“There were some really good things that happened throughout the game that’s why I really feel for the guys in the locker room,” Spoelstra said. “The team really competed. I felt we responded at certain times of the game when we were going through adversity.”
Back ‘n forth: The game had 20 lead changes in the first 18 minutes, one more than any Heat game this season. The 20th came on a Whiteside layup that gave Miami a 45-44 lead and started 21-13 run to end the half. The next lead change did not come until 6:39 remained in the game when the Magic wiped out an eight-point deficit with 12 in a row. The 27th and final lead change came on Green’s reverse layup with 3:14 remaining the second overtime. The Heat had 19 lead changes twice, the last during a 114-111 victory at Washington on Nov. 19.
Tyler bounces back: Tyler Johnson had a rough night Sunday, scoring five points on 2-of-7 shooting against the Celtics, his first game back after missing one game because of the flu. But Johnson didn’t take long getting back into the groove, scoring a career-high 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting before fouling out. Johnson had scored in double figures six consecutive games, including his career high of 27 points at Atlanta, before the Boston game.
“He was terrific on both ends of the court,” Spoelstra said. “It really matters to him. He felt horrible about missing the game. He really was sick. The game after that he wasn’t himself. (Tuesday) he was attacking he was shooting, making a lot of different plays in different ways.”