Rock-solid Whiteside a big factor in Heat's win

Marcin Gortat #13 of the Washington Wizards has his shot blocked by Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat on Jan 3, 2016.
Marcin Gortat #13 of the Washington Wizards has his shot blocked by Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat on Jan 3, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • The Miami Heat ran away from the Washington Wizards during a defensively dominant first half on Sunday.

Centre Hassan Whiteside lorded over all without scoring a point.

Eventually the 2.13m-tall player joined the scoring column, but it was his shot-blocking and intimidating presence that stole the show in the Heat's 97-75 romp in a National Basketball Association game.

Presented with the notion that the defence-first, offence-light half was his big man's best of the season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra laughed.

"Tell him that," he said. "I say that in jest because he was fantastic."

Forward Chris Bosh scored 23 points and guard Goran Dragic 18 in Miami's second straight win. The post-game discussion with the Heat (20-13) and Wizards focused on what happened on the other end of the court.

Whiteside scored only six points, but blocked six shots and altered numerous others while grabbing 13 rebounds.

The Heat took control in the second quarter by outscoring the clanking Wizards 25-7.

With Whiteside contending for shots near and far, Washington did not score for the final 5min 35sec of the period while shooting an abysmal two of 22 (9 per cent) from the field.

The seven points allowed by the Heat in the second quarter was the second lowest in team history.

"Sweet," Bosh exclaimed when he was told about the defence. "It's good. We did a good job scrambling."

The Wizards shot 34.1 per cent overall and set season lows for points in a half and game.

Guard John Wall had 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting for the Wizards (15-17), who have lost three of their last four games.

"Hassan Whiteside was incredible," said veteran centre Marcin Gortat, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds and multiple shots blocked by Whiteside.

"I personally haven't seen (as good) shot-blocker in (my) nine years."

The dismal offensive display was a reversal from the previous meeting with the Heat this season.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Rock-solid Whiteside a big factor in Heat's win'. Print Edition | Subscribe