Hassan Whiteside lifts Heat over Nuggets
DENVER — Hassan Whiteside had another big game with 25 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, lifting the Miami Heat over the Denver Nuggets 106-98 on Wednesday night.
Wayne Ellington scored 22 points and Tyler Johnson returned after missing one game to get 18 points and seven assists for Miami. Goran Dragic had 16 points and seven assists for the Heat, who have more wins on the road (four) than at home (two).
Nikola Jokic came off the bench with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which was outscored 31-18 in the fourth quarter.
Miami went on an 11-0 run early in the fourth to lead for good. Ellington hit four 3-pointers in the period and his last put the Heat up 10 with 2:25 left. Jamal Murray’s two 3-pointers got the Nuggets within five, but the Heat held on.
Heat: G Dion Waiters was diagnosed with a torn muscle in his thigh. An MRI revealed a tear of the pectineus muscle, located in the front part of the upper and inner thigh. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Waiters, who stayed in Miami, will be re-evaluated in two weeks after rehab and treatment. … Justise Winslow also remained in Miami to work on his conditioning. He has missed nine games with a sore left wrist.
Nuggets: G Will Barton missed his second game in a row due to soreness in his left ankle. Barton missed nine games after spraining the ankle, then returned for three before missing another for personal reasons. … Darrell Arthur did not dress because of illness.
Johnson was reluctant to wear a mouth guard, but after getting an implant knocked out against Detroit last week and having oral surgery Monday, he understood the need to protect his teeth.
“I can’t miss games because I’m missing teeth,” he said. “My goal is to play all 82 and now I’m going to have to change it up and wear the mouthpiece.”
The mouth guard didn’t bother him in the first quarter when he had two dunks, including a slam at the quarter buzzer that pulled Miami within 30-28.
Heat: At Utah on Thursday night.
Nuggets: Host Houston on Friday night.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.