Miami Heat

Short-handed Miami Heat outlast Indiana Pacers even without Hassan Whiteside

Heat's James Johnson discusses Heat's win over Indiana, being named co-captain

Miami Heat's James Johnson discusses Heat's win over Indiana and being named co-captain of the team Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017.
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Miami Heat's James Johnson discusses Heat's win over Indiana and being named co-captain of the team Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017.

The Heat looked more like itself Saturday night even without Hassan Whiteside.

Even with their starting center sidelined with a bone bruise in his left knee, the Heat did enough to hold off the Indiana Pacers 112-108 to pick up its first win of the season.

Although the Heat gave up triple digits in points for the second consecutive game to open the season, there was improvement on the defensive end overall.

Most of it came during a second quarter in which the Heat outscored the Pacers 37-19 and put together a 22-6 advantage in the paint.

It allowed the Heat (1-1) to build a lead that grew to as many as 21 in the third quarter before Indiana came storming back and nearly stole the game in the closing seconds.

James Johnson, who finished with 14 points and eight assists, hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to help seal the win.

The Heat ended up allowing 56 points in the paint just as it did against the Magic on Wednesday in its 116-107 loss in Orlando.

Spoelstra said before the game he did not know when Whiteside, who had 26 points and 22 rebounds in the Heat’s season-opening loss to the Magic last Wednesday would return to action.

But even without its best shot-blocker, the Heat posted 11 blocks to the Pacers’ four.

Johnson had five of those blocks and Jordan Mickey, who started for Whiteside played 14 minutes and collected six rebounds.

Spoelstra said before the game he did not know when Whiteside, who had 26 points and 22 rebounds in the Heat’s season-opening loss to the Magic last Wednesday would return to action.

Kelly Olynyk, who started against the Magic, came in off the bench and gave the Heat a lift with 13 points (3 of 5 from three-point range) and nine rebounds.

The Heat’s "7-Eleven" combo of Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters propelled it on the offensive end as Dragic finished with 23 points and Waiters had 19 as he continued to play through a nagging ankle injury.

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