HASSAN Whiteside and Goran Dragic delivered in the clutch as the Miami Heat held off a furious late-game rally from the Houston Rockets to come away with a 117-109 win at the Toyota Center on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
Whiteside and Dragic combined for 10 of Miami’s last 12 points in the final five minutes to help the Heat survive a Rockets comeback bid from 18 points down in the fourth quarter.
The Heat started pulling away from a tight ballgame with a 22-10 run to close the first half with a 13-point lead, 58-45. Miami even led by as much as 18 near the midway point of the fourth quarter before Ryan Anderson hit three triples in a 16-7 rally to cut the gap to nine, 105-96, with 5:03 to play.
Whiteside and Dragic then took over on offense for Miami with just enough baskets and free throws to keep the Rockets at bay.
Back-to-back baskets by Eric Gordon and Anderson capped Houston’s last-gasp bid at a comeback, getting the Rockets within six with 25 seconds to play. But Dion Waiters slammed the door and sealed the win for Miami with a pair of free throws.
Waiters and Whiteside each had 23 points to get Miami out of a two-game skid and improve to 25-32. Dragic added 21 markers, while Tyler Johnson fired 16 off the bench.
James Harden’s 15th triple-double of the season went to waste as he finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds and the same number of assists for the Rockets (40-18), who saw their four-game win streak snapped. Anderson added 17 markers, while Gordon and Clint Capela had 12 apiece.