Hassan Whiteside scores 25, Heat roll past Mavericks 106-82

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MIAMI (AP) — With 17 games to play in 31 days and two brutal road trips awaiting, the Miami Heat know January will be far from easy.

At least it’s off to a flying start.

Hassan Whiteside had 25 points and 19 rebounds, Gerald Green added 19 points off the bench and the Heat rolled past the Dallas Mavericks 106-82 on Friday night to snap a two-game slide.

“You want to be tested,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You want to be measured in this league. You want to be pushed to adversity. … But I don’t want these guys thinking about 16 more games right now.”

Chris Bosh scored 16 points and Goran Dragic had 15 points and seven assists for the Heat. Miami adjusted its starting lineup shortly before tip-off when Dwyane Wade was stricken by flu-like symptoms. Wade got some intravenous fluids and checked in early in the second quarter, just his 10th time playing off the bench in his 13-year career. He finished with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Whiteside made 12 of 16 shots, and the Heat enjoyed their biggest victory margin of the season.

“I’m just trying to get my All-Star ratings up,” Whiteside said.

Dallas had just 10 points in the first quarter – its low for any period this season – and shot just 36 percent for the game, compared to 56 percent for Miami. The Heat have just four home games left in January, two of those in the next five days, and have separate five- and six-game trips this month.

“The bottom line with this tonight is they played an angrier game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “The combination of that, and our shot-making was just not there all night, we just lost a little bit of our edge.”

Zaza Pachulia led the Mavericks with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Wesley Matthews made four 3-pointers for his 12 points, and Dirk Nowitzki added 11 points for Dallas – which was playing for the first time since topping Golden State on Wednesday.

Dallas’ four-game winning streak was snapped.

“Just not a good night overall, on both ends of the floor,” Nowitzki said. “But we kept fighting. Every time we got a little momentum, we either made a big mistake on the other end or they made a big shot.”

TIP-INS

Mavericks: PG Deron Williams (left hamstring) returned after a four-game absence, playing 20 minutes off the bench and finishing with nine points and five assists. … Dallas lost G Devin Harris to back spasms in the first half. He played only 2 minutes, 22 seconds. … Chandler Parsons was 2 for 8 from the field, missing all three of his 3-point tries.

Heat: Miami is now 6-0 all-time on New Year’s Day, winning by a staggering average of 25.7 points. … Whiteside had 18 points and 13 rebounds at halftime, the seventh time he’s had a double-double in a single half. … Miami is now 8-1 against Dallas since losing the 2011 NBA Finals to the Mavs. … The Heat were again without Justise Winslow (ankle), who tried to get loose pregame but couldn’t play.

 

LeBron James hits go-ahead shot in All-Star win (video)

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LOS ANGELES – LeBron James‘ team trailed by 13 midway through the fourth quarter of the All-Star game, but he led a competitive comeback.

This shot put his team up 146-145 over Stephen Curry‘s team, and Team LeBron held on for a 148-145 win:

Great penetration by Russell Westbrook, and he and Kyrie Irving moved the ball well. LeBron made it count.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.