It took less than eight minutes on Friday for Hassan Whiteside to snatch the most rebounds by a Heat player ever in a quarter (14 of them in the first).
But as numbers go, this was even more remarkable: Dallas unleashed a staggering 37-2 second-half avalanche, somehow winning a game by 21 points that it trailed by 16 in the third quarter.
And so a night that started with such promise for Miami ended with a thud, the short-handed Heat outscored 33-12 in the fourth quarter and 60-27 in the second half of a demoralizing 93-72 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We went back to what we’re known for, which is forgetting everything when the game gets a little tight,” Chris Bosh said of the Heat, which has had the league’s worst second-half point differential for much of the season. “Our execution went out the window.”
At one point, the Mavericks had outscored the Heat 28-2 in the fourth quarter, before Miami scored 10 points in the final 2:39.
“At some point, you say this is enough,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It will change.”
Playing without Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng, the Heat shot 29.7 percent in the second half (11 for 37) and 29.4 percent in the fourth quarter (5 for 17) and went scoreless over an eight-minute stretch to end the third and start the fourth.
The Mavericks’ run began when Whiteside — who closed with 16 points, 24 rebounds and a blocked shot in 28 minutes — went to the bench with the Heat ahead 60-51 and 3:12 left in the third quarter. By the time Whiteside returned with 7:55 left in the fourth, the Mavericks led 72-60.
Spoelstra said he should have gone back to Whiteside sooner.
“I had to take him out for fatigue,” Spoelstra said. “It happened quickly. [Dallas] really spread the court. So we put [Mario Chalmers] and [Bosh] back in. That should have been enough but it wasn’t.”
Asked if he felt he could have returned sooner, Whiteside said: “That’s a question for coach. … Everybody wants to play.”
The Mavericks made 10 of 20 three-pointers in the second half, with Charlie Villanueva hitting four of them in a 14-point second half and Devin Harris nailing three of them.
Conversely, the Heat’s offense was inept, with Miami finishing with more second-half turnovers (12) than field goals (11). Bosh (12 points) shot just 5 for 18, Norris Cole 1 for 10, Chalmers 3 for 11 and Danny Granger 0 for 6 in 16 scoreless minutes.
“There were a lot of open looks; they’re due,” Spoelstra said. “They stepped up their defense. You have to credit them for that.”
Bosh said he commanded more attention with Wade out.
Whiteside entered Friday third in the league in rebounds per 48 minutes (behind Detroit’s Andre Drummond and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan), and his rebounding exploits were even more impressive considering Dallas starts a big frontline featuring 7-1 Tyson Chandler and 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki.
“He did a fantastic job,” Spoelstra said.
For perspective on Whiteside, consider:
▪ His 14 rebounds broke Ike Austin’s Heat record for rebounds in a quarter (13) and tied Al-Farouq Aminu for most rebounds in the first quarter of a game in the past 15 years.
▪ He reached 13 rebounds faster than any player in the past decade, needing just 6:05 to do it.
▪ He tied Kevin Willis’ franchise record for most rebounds in a first half (16), and his 24 for the game tied for second-most in franchise history, falling short of Rony Seikaly’s 34 in a 1993 game against Washington.
The Heat got an unexpected first-half lift from rookies James Ennis (15 points overall) and Tyler Johnson. Both were on the floor for the entire fourth quarter. “They both competed their tails off,” Spoelstra said.
Spoelstra started Shabazz Napier alongside Chalmers, while Granger started in place of injured Deng (calf injury) at small forward.
It all worked for a half, with Miami ahead 45-33 at intermission. Then everything fell apart.