Miami Heat entirely outrun by Brooklyn Nets, falling 111-87

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Hassan Whiteside
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Hassan Whiteside /

Without three key players the Miami Heat were firing flat, outpaced by the Nets 111-87.

Continuing to fight off the injury bug, the Miami Heat took the court without James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow, for their second matchup against the Brooklyn Nets this season.

Hassan Whiteside started for the second straight game since missing 11 with a knee injury, and his presence proved to be a boon for Miami’s early efforts. The Nets, plagued with injuries as well, lacked the interior tools to subdue Whiteside, who notched eight points and seven rebounds in the first quarter.

Despite his performance, head coach Erik Spoelstra had a watchful eye on Whiteside’s minutes; he limited him to 13 through the first half, and 20 on the night. When Whiteside sat, the Nets found a level playing field, and a combination of Caris LeVert’s rim assaults and Joe Harris’ 3-point shooting, saw the Heat fall to a 20-point deficit by halftime.

Shooting just 32 percent from the field in the first half was the crux of Miami’s struggles. They managed 90 percent from the free-throw line, but empty possessions marked by 1-for-10 from beyond-the-arc stagnated the Heat’s offensive rhythm.

Another Nets run in the third quarter extended the lead to 27, all but demoralizing the floundering Heat. This season, Miami has yet to overcome a deficit in the third quarter to win a game.

The difference in pace between the Heat and Nets was also apparent. The Nets, fifth in the league in pace, ran the 25th placed Heat out of the AmericanAirlines Arena, outscoring them by an average of 11 points per quarter.

While Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson managed double-digit nights, the rest of the Heat failed to find their strokes. Wayne Ellington, who averaged 19.6 points over the last three games, was held to seven points in his 28 minutes off the bench. Ellington also had his streak of 14 games with at least one 3-pointer made ended, though veteran Udonis Haslem checked in to knock one down late in the fourth.

Most surprising from the loss was Miami’s turnovers, or lack thereof. 11 turnovers are modest, compared to the Heat’s season average of 15.6 per game. But a complete lack of energy and urgency doomed them from the start, as the Heat fell 111-87.

Next: Looking at tonight’s Miami Heat versus Brooklyn Nets matchup

The Heat will face the Magic for the second time this week, on December 30.