Heat’s Mike Miller out until January

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Bad news on the thumb injury Miami Heat sharpshooter Mike Miller suffered in practice — he will be out until January, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

The injury was a fluke — Miller’s thumb just got caught in another player’s jersey and got pulled. He underwent a 45-minute procedure Friday to repair both a broken bone and torn ligaments. His hand will be in a cast for a month followed by a splint. Followed by plenty of rehab.

“It’s good to finally have a resolution about his injury, and now a course of action to make it better,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before what was scheduled to be his team’s exhibition finale, a Friday game in Tampa eventually canceled due to a slick court surface above the ice used by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lighting. “I feel bad for Mike. I know how badly he wanted to get this season started in the right way. He’s down right now, but it’s the unfortunate reality of our profession. I knew this season wasn’t going to be easy.”

This is a blow to the Heat, and another setback in efforts to build the cohesion with the team’s core. Miller is supposed to be the sharpshooter off the bench for the Heat, although during the preseason he has started several games due to Dwyane Wade’s strained hamstring. His ability to stretch the floor will be missed. He is the most consistent three-point shooter on the team and has hit 38.5 percent of his long balls this preseason, after hitting 48 percent last season.

How key is he? Miller was one of the first free agents the Heat went after once the Big Three were in place because they realized they needed a pure shooter to stretch the floor. They signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.

With Miller out, the less consistent but capable Eddie House will step into that role.

The Heat are now looking at options for depth at the three, including bringing in unsigned veteran Jerry Stackhouse, according to Winderman. If you think that is a good thing, you haven’t seen Stackhouse play for a couple years.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)