MIAMI (AP) — Dee Gordon had a courtside seat to watch the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, for a very good reason.
The Miami Marlins second baseman was there to represent Jose Fernandez .
Miami’s first home preseason game of the season had a somber beginning, with the Heat paying tribute to the late Marlins ace right-hander by wearing his initials and jersey No. 16 on the back of their warmup shirts – then by offering a moment of silence before tip-off against the Brooklyn Nets.
The 24-year-old Fernandez and two friends died last month when the boat they were riding in crashed into a jetty off Miami Beach.
“It was a devastating blow to all of us in South Florida and our hearts go out to his family and everybody at the Marlins,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s just so tragic for a player so young. We also want to acknowledge the other two gentlemen who were on that boat as well, and their families.”
Gordon told Fox Sports Florida during their broadcast of the game that when he heard about the gesture – the Heat announced it a few hours before game time – he made arrangements to be at the game. Gordon wore one of the team’s shooting shirts with the Fernandez tribute on the back.
“He was the heart and soul of Miami. … It’s just still weird that he’s gone,” Gordon said. “That’s just the part we’re trying to get over, but I think it’s going to be tough.”
The Heat players and coaches all linked arms for the playing of the national anthem in a show of unity, while the Nets’ players and coaches draped their arms over each other’s shoulders.
HEAT 121, NETS 100
MIAMI – Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes for the Heat. Whiteside is averaging 19.3 points and 13 rebounds in three preseason games, shooting 71 percent and playing about 24 minutes in each.
Goran Dragic added 17 points and 11 assists for Miami. Jeremy Lin led the Nets with 16 points.
NETS: Brooklyn was down by 12 in the first quarter, then led by 11 in the second quarter and trailed again by 17 after three quarters. … Bojan Bogdanovic scored 13, while Luis Scola and Justin Hamilton each scored 12. … The Nets took 13 3-pointers in the first quarter alone.
HEAT: Whiteside made his first five shots. … Josh McRoberts (foot) and Josh Richardson (knee) remain sidelined, and veterans Udonis Haslem and Beno Udrih also were held out.
UP NEXT: Brooklyn (1-2) hosts Boston on Thursday. Miami (2-1) visits San Antonio on Friday.
GRIZZLIES 121, 76ERS 91
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Troy Williams scored 22 points for the Grizzlies, who pulled away with a 17-0 run in the third quarter.
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph each had 17 for Memphis. Joel Embiid and Timothe Luwawu scored 13 apiece for Philadelphia.
76ERS: Embiid scored his 13 points in only 12 minutes. He logged less time than any other 76ers player who saw the court Tuesday. … Luwawu led Philadelphia with nine rebounds.
GRIZZLIES: James Ennis had 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting. … Memphis led by 15 after one quarter, then got outscored by 15 in the second quarter, then led by 35 in the second half.
UP NEXT: Philadelphia (1-3) is at Washington on Thursday. Memphis (2-1) plays Oklahoma City in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Thursday.
MAVERICKS 114, THUNDER 109
DALLAS – Jonathan Gibson‘s three-point play with 1:43 left broke a tie and put Dallas ahead to stay.
Dwight Powell scored 16 points and J.J. Barea added 15 for the Mavericks. Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, while Kyle Singler added 17 points.
THUNDER: Russell Westbrook had 12 points and seven assists in 24 minutes. … Enes Kanter grabbed 13 rebounds. … Oklahoma City had 42 points at the half, then scored 40 in the third quarter alone to rally from what was a 20-point deficit.
MAVERICKS: Deron Williams scored 11 for Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki had eight in 16 minutes. … Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes.
UP NEXT: Oklahoma City (1-2) hosts Memphis in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Thursday. Dallas (2-2) is at Phoenix on Friday.