Five takeaways from Heat-Mavericks: Hassan Whiteside makes difference with big performance

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) works against Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) for a shot-attempt in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

There can be lessons learned from every loss, especially the heartbreaking ones.

After squandering a 16-point third-quarter lead in a loss to the Nets on Jan. 19 and allowing a 12-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in a loss to the Kings on Thursday, the Heat were put in a similar position in Dallas.

The Mavericks ate into an 18-point fourth quarter Heat lead to cut it to three with 44 seconds to play, but this time Miami found a way to hang on. The Heat (29-21) overcame their late-game struggles to earn a 95-88 win over the Mavericks (16-35) to open a four-game trip Monday at American Airlines Center. Continue reading “Five takeaways from Heat-Mavericks: Hassan Whiteside makes difference with big performance”

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says Erik Spoelstra ‘should be on the All-Star team’

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra kneels by the bench as he watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Heat and the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Heat’s roster has combined to make zero All-Star game appearances. But some would argue they have an All-Star on the bench.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is in that group.

“[Erik] Spoelstra should be on the All-Star team,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before Miami and Dallas faced off Monday. “I mean he always does a great job and he’s even raised the bar higher. What he’s done with this roster and developing guys. Continue reading “Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says Erik Spoelstra ‘should be on the All-Star team’”

What to know about tonight’s game: Heat begin four-game trip vs. struggling Mavericks

The Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic, middle, drives against the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki in the first quarter at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The Heat won, 99-95. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI HEAT AT DALLAS MAVERICKS

When: Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WQBA 1140AM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 28-21, Dallas 16-34

Line: Miami favored by 2 points

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Josh Richardson

F: James Johnson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Mavericks

F: Harrison Barnes

F: Maxi Kleber

C: Dirk Nowitzki

G: Wesley Matthews

G: Dennis Smith Jr.

Scouting report: Miami will be without Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery), Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and Okaro White (left foot surgery). … The Mavericks will be without J.J. Barea (left oblique strain), Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) and Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery). Devin Harris (personal reasons) is questionable. … Dallas has the league’s fourth-worst record and is 10-17 at home this season. … The Mavericks are 3-9 over their past 12 games. … The Heat and Mavericks are two of the league’s slowest teams as far as pace, with Miami playing at the third-slowest pace and Dallas playing at the fourth-slowest pace this season. … Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews is averaging 15.5 points and shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range over his past four games. … Miami is 16-5 this season when holding opponents to less than 100 points. … The Heat have outscored opponents by 30 points with Josh Richardson on the court over the past six games. … Over the past four games, the Heat have outscored opponents by 33 points with Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo on the court together. … Four of the Heat’s past five losses have come against losing teams. … Monday’s matchup will mark the end of the Heat-Mavericks two-game season series. The Heat won the first meeting 113-101 in Miami on Dec. 22.

[Heat relying on reserves lately when starters hit the skids]

[The secret to Heat guard Wayne Ellington’s 3-point shooting success? The runaround]

[Justise Winslow’s defense on Kemba Walker sparks Heat fourth-quarter rally]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

What to know about tonight’s matchup: Heat begin critical homestand vs. struggling Mavericks

DALLAS MAVERICKS VS. MIAMI HEAT

When: Friday, 8 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Dallas 9-23, Miami 16-15

Line: Mavericks favored by 1.5 points

Tyler Johnson #8 and Dion Waiters #11 of the Miami Heat talk on the floor against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on November 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Mavericks

F: Harrison Barnes

F: Maxi Kleber

C: Dirk Nowitzki

G: Wesley Matthews

G: Dennis Smith Jr.

Heat

F: Josh Richardson

F: Kelly Olynyk

C: Bam Adebayo

G: Dion Waiters

G: Tyler Johnson

Scouting report: The Heat will have 10 healthy players available Friday. Six players will miss the game with injuries — Hassan Whiteside (left knee bone bruise), James Johnson (right ankle bursitis), Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery), Goran Dragic (sore left elbow) and Justise Winslow (strained left knee). … The Mavericks will be without Seth Curry (left tibia stress reaction), Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis), Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) and Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery). … Dallas owns the worst record in the Western Conference, has lost six of its past eight games, and is 2-12 on the road this season. … Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes is averaging team-highs in points (18.5) and rebounds (5.9). … The Heat have won five of their past seven games, and have posted the league’s second-best defensive rating during this stretch. … Seven Heat players have combined to miss 77 games due to injury or illness this season. Whiteside has accounted for 16 of those games with a bone bruise on his left knee. … The Heat are averaging a league-low 7.7 offensive rebounds per game this season. … Miami is 12-3 this season when holding opponents to under 100 points.

[Heat’s message to Kelly Olynyk: ‘Look what happens when you shoot the ball’]

[Erik Spoelstra won’t let players look ahead, but Heat know upcoming stretch of home games is important … very important]

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Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks have met in the NBA Finals twice — now both are rebuilding

The Heat and Mavericks share a lot of history together. (Getty Images)
The Heat and Mavericks share a lot of history together. (Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Heat and Mavericks have a history together.

Miami beat Dallas to win its first NBA title in 2006. Dallas beat Miami to win its first NBA title in 2011.

But just a few seasons later, both teams are at the bottom of the standings. Entering Thursday’s game, the Heat hold the NBA’s second-worst record at 12-30 and the Mavericks aren’t much better with a record of 14-27. Continue reading “Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks have met in the NBA Finals twice — now both are rebuilding”

The five best Game 7s in Miami Heat history

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The World Series is going to a decisive Game 7 tonight as the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians look to break their respective decades-long title droughts.

The Miami sports landscape has yet to experience a championship dry spell of those proportions — thankfully. But the Heat do have their own storied history with Game 7s, having played in several winner-take-all affairs in the franchise’s 28 years of existence.

Here are the five best Game 7s in Heat history:

5. 2004 Eastern Conference first-round series vs. New Orleans Hornets

The 2004 Heat closely resembled the present day squad, a group of players with no real established star that had the ability to provide consistent production on a nightly basis. In the first round of the playoffs, the Heat squared off against a Hornets team led by Baron Davis, who averaged 18.1 points and seven assists over the course of the series. After surrendering series leads of 2-0 and 3-2, the Heat found themselves with a Game 7 on their home court. Miami jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, narrowly outscoring the Hornets over the final three quarters en route to an 85-77 win. Miami held Davis to just five points on 2-for-7 shooting, but Steve Smith was able to pick up some of the slack with a 25-point night. The Heat were led by Caron Butler’s 23 points and nine rebounds, while a young Dwyane Wade scored 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting while posting seven assists.

4. 2013 Eastern Conference finals vs. Indiana Pacers

Coming off of an NBA title the previous season, the Heat were considered favorites to repeat, but they almost didn’t get the opportunity after running into a talented young Pacers team. A 22-year-old Paul George averaged 19.4 points, six rebounds and 5.1 assists and center Roy Hibbert dominated to the tune of 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game as the upstart Pacers took the defending champs to the brink. After dropping Game 2 at home, Miami regained home-court advantage in Game 3. Eventually facing a Game 7 at home, Miami stepped up defensively, allowing no Pacer to reach the 20-point mark and holding George to just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. On offense, the Heat rode 53 combined points between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to return to the finals.

Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)
Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)

3. 1997 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. New York Knicks

In what is still likely the most heated playoff series in franchise history, a matchup that came to a head when a full-scale brawl broke out in Game 5 (see image at right), Miami was able to overcome the Knicks in seven games. The Heat got great guard play out of Tim Hardaway and solid production out of center Alonzo Mourning as they fought to force a Game 7 despite going down 3-1 in the series. Coming into the decisive matchup with two straight wins, the Heat used their momentum to jump out to a 25-14 first-quarter lead. The Knicks scored 36 points in the final quarter to make the game close, but the Heat held on to win 101-90. Miami withstood a masterful performance from center Patrick Ewing, who scored 37 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while the Heat were led by Hardaway’s 38 points, seven assists and five steals.

2. 2012 Eastern Conference finals vs. Boston Celtics

When the “Big Three” formed, one of the main goals that bonded each player was his desire to get past the Celtics in the playoffs. After achieving that feat the previous year, Miami found themselves again matched up with a motivated and revenge-driven Boston team, but the Heat had plenty of motivation themselves to return to the NBA Finals, having lost to the Mavericks the year before. In this series, Miami went down 3-2 as talk swirled about a potential breakup of the “Big Three” model. But the Heat would run away with Game 6 in Boston, setting up a deciding game at American Airlines Arena. Despite each Boston starter scoring in double-figures, Miami held Boston’s bench to only two points. The Heat got 31 from LeBron James, 23 from Dwyane Wade and another 19 from Chris Bosh as they pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 101-88 victory.

1. 2013 NBA Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs

In a game that delivered Miami its third championship in franchise history, the Heat outlasted the Spurs in one of the most evenly matched Finals of the 21st century. The Spurs featured its own classic trio of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, while Miami’s “Big Three” of James, Wade and Bosh proved a formidable grouping in its own right. Game 6 ended with a furious Heat comeback, capped off by the improbable corner 3-pointer by Ray Allen that sent the game to overtime and ultimately helped the Heat get a season-extending win. Game 7 was a close contest throughout, and the Heat held a two-point edge heading into the final minute of play. After a missed hook shot and tip-in by Tim Duncan, Miami came down the floor and called a timeout. After the timeout, James scored two of his 37 points on an elbow jumper that gave the Heat a lead they would not surrender. Miami went on to win the title with their 95-88 Game 7 victory.

Amar’e Stoudemire’s case for the Hall of Fame is better than you might think

Amar'e Stoudemire #5 of the Miami Heat grabs a rebound against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on January 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Amar’e Stoudemire #5 of the Miami Heat grabs a rebound against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on January 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Six-time NBA All-Star and 14-year veteran Amar’e Stoudemire announced his retirement on Tuesday, signing a one-day contract with the New York Knicks before calling it a career.

The 33-year-old spent his first eight season with the Phoenix Suns, before taking his talents to the Big Apple during the 2010 offseason and playing four and a half seasons with the Knicks. Stoudemire was then sent to Dallas in the 2014-15 season, before he played one final season with the Miami Heat.

The next stop in Stoudemire’s NBA career may be Springfield, as the Florida native has a fairly strong case for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Over an eight-year period, from his second season in the league through his first season in New York, Stoudemire was one of the most dominant forces in the game. During that stretch, Amar’e averaged 23.2 points per game, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting 54.3 percent from the field. By comparison, certain Hall of Famer Tim Duncan averaged 22.5 points and shot 50.7 percent during the best eight-year offensive stretch of his career.

Stoudemire’s career numbers also compare favorably to those of another surefire Hall of Fame player, Kevin Garnett. In his 14-year career, “STAT” averaged 18.9 points on 53.7 percent shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Garnett has averaged 17.8 points, 10 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 49.7 percent from the field through his first 20 seasons.

Critics will look to Stoudemire’s lack of career longevity and the seasons cut short due to injury as the most prominent arguments against his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Despite the injuries, though, he was considered not only a dominant player, but, in a way, a revolutionary one as well. Stoudemire and Steve Nash led the Phoenix Suns’ “Seven Seconds or Less” offense, which made it to the 2005 Western Conference Finals, and they then reached that mark again the next season, although Stoudemire didn’t appear in that playoff run.

A 22-year-old Stoudemire turned in one of the greatest playoff series performances of all-time in those Western Finals against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. In five games, Amar’e averaged 37 points a game on 55 percent shooting and added 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He did not score fewer than 31 points in any game, yet the Spurs still won the series 4-1.

The “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns laid the groundwork for the fast-paced, small-ball basketball that spawned the current NBA powerhouse Golden State Warriors. Several current NBA teams have attempted to duplicate the Suns’ blueprint, and nearly every squad is looking for big men that can run the floor and shoot efficiently from the perimeter.

Stoudemire’s contribution to that movement should not be forgotten, and his role in changing the NBA’s perception of big men may be enough to land him in the hallowed Hall in Springfield.

Gif Credit: SB Nation
Gif Credit: SB Nation

What can Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Bucks offer free agent Dwyane Wade?

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reacts after a shot against the Toronto Raptors during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 13, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reacts after a shot against the Toronto Raptors during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 13, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

This just got real.

Dwyane Wade isn’t just threatening to leave the Heat. The 12-time All-Star is already fielding offers from other teams.

Four teams are pitching Wade according to a report on The Vertical, and their offers are substantially higher than what Miami had in mind. The Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets and Bucks are all talking multi-year deals and some are discussing contracts with salaries of around $20 million per season. The Heat’s first offer was $10 million.  Continue reading “What can Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Bucks offer free agent Dwyane Wade?”

Report: Heat vs. Mavericks for free agent Hassan Whiteside

The Dallas Mavericks are going hard after Hassan Whiteside and could have him wrapped up quickly. (Getty Images)
The Dallas Mavericks are going hard after Hassan Whiteside and could have him wrapped up quickly. (Getty Images)

The Heat’s choice when it comes to re-signing Hassan Whiteside appear to have narrowed down to this: Max him or lose him to Dallas.
Continue reading “Report: Heat vs. Mavericks for free agent Hassan Whiteside”

Sources: Lakers will ‘aggressively pursue’ free agent Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat celebrates the 97-78 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 27, 2015 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat celebrates the 97-78 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 27, 2015 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Pat Riley has said that re-signing Hassan Whiteside is the No. 1 priority of the Miami Heat’s offseason. It seems he’ll have some fierce competition for the free-agent center.

Sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Los Angeles Lakers plan to aggressively pursue Whiteside — who had a breakout season for the Heat — when NBA free agency starts at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers’ foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN.com that Whiteside has emerged a priority target for L.A.

The Lakers, like the Heat, are still hopeful of securing a face-to-face recruiting meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant once free agency season commences. … But the Lakers, sources say, are highly intrigued by Whiteside and what he could bring them as a double-double presence inside.

The 27-year-old Whiteside averaged career highs in points (14.2), rebounds (11.8) and blocks (3.7 to lead the league) per game this past season while playing a major part in the Heat side that reached the second round of the playoffs.

In addition to the Lakers and Heat, the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are also both hoping to meet with Whiteside early in the free agency period.

“What he brought to us is this incredible, state-of-the-art talent,” Riley said in May. “He’s overcome a lot, but the question is now can you carry a team? That’s going to take a lot more focus and discipline and growth and understanding about what winning is all about and I think he’s ready for that.”

The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Friday night that the Heat are one of six teams expected to get a meeting with free agent Kevin Durant. This is ultimately good news for Miami, but the situation could get complicated if the Heat look to see where they stand with Durant before making a strong push for Whiteside.

With the cap expected to jump to $94 million this summer, the Heat will have about $42 million in cap space when free agency begins. With Whiteside expected to draw max offers with a projected starting annual salary of $22 million and Durant expected to sign a max deal with a projected starting annual salary of $26.4 million this summer, Miami will have a hard time trying to fit both on its roster.

The Heat don’t own full Bird rights for Whiteside, so they can’t go over the salary cap up to the NBA maximum to keep the 27-year-old and they are limited to offering him a four-year contract — the same as other teams can offer Whiteside.

But Miami does have one advantage in the Whiteside sweepstakes. Whiteside’s two seasons with the Heat gives the franchise Early Bird rights for him, which allows Miami to offer Whiteside a 7.5 percent raise from his first-year salary compared to a 4.5 percent raise from other teams.

This means that the Heat can offer Whiteside a four-year contract worth about $98 million, while other teams can offer him a four-year contract worth approximately $94 million.