Reaction: Waiters helps Heat push past Knicks

Jacari McRae | March 31st, 2019

Here are my four takeaways from the Miami Heat‘s 100-92 victory over the New York Knicks.

Dion Waiters leads the way

Dion Waiters opened the game with a pair of three-pointers and kept going from there. He had 16 points by halftime, with the rest of the Heat team struggling over the opening two periods. In addition to scoring, Waiters also set up his teammates and finished well at the rim. He was arguably the best player on the floor Saturday night.

Waiters led the Heat with a season-high 28 points.

Whiteside’s impactful fourth quarter

With the game tied at 79 at the start of the fourth quarter, Spoelstra inserted Hassan Whiteside and the Heat immediately went on an 8-0 run. Whiteside provided a huge boost off the Heat’s bench, recording his first double-double in the last eight games. The Heat center recorded 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and pulled down nine fourth-quarter rebounds as Miami pulled away.

Whiteside finished with 17 points (on 7 for 10 shooting) and 13 rebounds.

Playoff Race

The Heat didn’t get any outside help on Saturday night. The Detroit Pistons remained at sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with a win over the visiting Portland Trailblazers. The seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets also protected home-court with a win over the short-handed Boston Celtics. With the Orlando Magic beating the Indiana Pacers, the Heat remained at No. 8 in the East, a half-game ahead of the Magic.

The Heat’s last six games will be much tougher. Five of their last six games will come against teams in the playoffs or trying to clinch a spot(Brooklyn). With the Magic closing in, the Heat are going to need a strong finish to secure a playoff spot.

Still short-handed

The Heat were once again without Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Rodney McGruder. All three players remained in Miami for treatment and will also miss Monday’s game vs the Boston Celtics. There’s currently no timetable on when either of three players will return.

In the meantime, Heat rookie Duncan Robinson will continue to play meaningful minutes off the bench.

Next up: Heat at Celtics on Monday. Game tips off at 7:30pm ET.

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