Nine minutes and 40 seconds. That's all the time it took for Miami center Hassan Whiteside (30 points, 20 rebounds) to tally his 31st double-double of the season as the Heat took down the Philadelphia 76ers 125-102 tonight at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Whiteside feasted on the Sixers' bigs when the teams first met back in November (32 points, 13 rebounds), and tonight was no different. In fact, given the absence of both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, the question wasn't if Whiteside would hit his season averages, but when.
Miami jumped out of the starting blocks to a 26-12 lead midway through the first quarter, and literally never looked back. A 10-0 run by the Sixers in the second quarter briefly cut the deficit to five, but a couple of quick buckets by the Heat bumped the margin back to nine, and the 76ers didn't truly threaten after that.
A 36-23 Heat third quarter officially shut the door on any hopes of a comeback, and Miami's early second-half burst was fueled in large part by Dion Waiters. The Philadelphia native and pool party aficionado knocked down his first five attempts from three-point range and finished with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting.
Love you Dion Waiters. Forever. pic.twitter.com/qBcZ65kS6G— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 5, 2017
To their credit, the Sixers moved pretty well without the ball tonight, but missed more than a handful of attempts in (and around) the restricted area. Brett Brown's squad had 20 assists tonight, but easily left another 10 or so on the proverbial table.
Defensively, the Sixers were flat-out terrible. Miami had tons of open looks, enabling them to shoot a ridiculous 58.5 percent from the floor. Six members of the Heat scored in double-figures, and the team as a whole was an impressive 12-for-22 from long range.
It also didn't help matters that Miami outrebounded the 76ers 49 to 33. Then again, this is what happens when a team is missing its best two defenders (and two of its best three scorers, to boot).
Miami, who notched their 10th victory in a row tonight, hits the road to square off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. The Sixers head up to Detroit to face the Pistons on Monday - their last ever trip to the Palace at Auburn Hills. Joel Embiid will not join the team for the game, but according to CSN Philly, Robert Covington may be back in action.
Get well soon, JoJo.