Miami Heat

Short-handed Heat beats Dallas

Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson passes the ball under the basket against Dallas Mavericks forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell in the first quarter of their game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Dec. 22, 2017.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson passes the ball under the basket against Dallas Mavericks forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell in the first quarter of their game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Dec. 22, 2017. pportal@miamiherald.com

By late in the first quarter against Dallas on Friday, after Dion Waiters left for a good with a sprained left ankle, the Heat was without what could have been its entire starting lineup this season, plus two additional players.

So how does a team overcome a staggering string of injuries? With sizzling shooting. Miami shot an absurd 63.9 percent from the field, including 17 for 35 on three-pointers, in a 113-101 victory over Dallas.

Josh Richardson continued his excellent month with 24 points on 11 for 14 shooting - including a big three that pushed Miami’s lead to eight with under two months left - and Wayne Ellington hit a career-high eight three pointers in 12 attempts on a 28-point night.

Miami got good work from Tyler Johnson (two big fourth quarter baskets and 19 points for the game), Bam Adebayo (14 points, six rebounds), and Kelly Olynyk (11 points, six rebounds )

The Heat began the game with a 12-0 run, saw Dallas tie it at 53 at halftime, then began the second half with another 12-0 spurt.

Shortly after Dallas opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to cut Miami’s lead to one, Ellington nailed two threes to push the margin to 90-82. He hit another three later in the fourth.

Waiters’ night was done after he rolled his ankle with the Heat ahead 25-19 late in the first. That left Miami without starters Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Goran Dragic and Waiters, as well as Justise Winslow and Okaro White.

With just nine players available, coach Erik Spoelstra gave 24 minutes to Walton Jr. (seven points, five assists) and another eight to Udonis Haslem. Ellington started the second half with Waiters out.

The Heat, playing the first of home games on consecutive nights, moved to 17-15. New Orleans visits AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday.

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