DENVER — Hassan Whiteside felt better than he had in a long time. He left the Denver Nuggets feeling poorly after his performance on Friday.
Whiteside had 19 points, 17 rebounds and 11 blocked shots, and the injury-depleted Miami Heat rallied to beat the Nuggets 98-95 on Friday night.
Chris Bosh made the tiebreaking jumper with 55 seconds left and scored 24 points. Tyler Johnson had 15 off the bench for Miami, which was without Dwyane Wade because of injuries to both shoulders.
It was the first game Wade missed this season due to injury. It left the Heat without their starting backcourt, with Goran Dragic sidelined by a strained left calf.
Whiteside, who has been battling tendinitis in his right knee, stepped up in Wade’s absence with a monster game. The triple-double was his second of the season and third of his career. All three have come on points, rebounds and blocked shots.
He nearly had a triple-double in the second half with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
"I told Coach when I got on the bus my knee felt the best it’s felt since I injured it," Whiteside said of his conversation with Erik Spoelstra. "I told him, ‘Don’t limit my minutes. I’m back to that athletic Hassan you know."’
Wade said after the game a conversation with Bosh early Friday convinced him to sit out.
"At lunchtime today, talking to Chris about what I was going to do, he said, ‘Take it off,"’ Wade said. "That made my decision a lot easier."
The Heat trailed by as many as 18 in the first half but outscored Denver 30-16 in the third. Whiteside and Bosh combined for 26 second-half points to lead the rally.
With Whiteside protecting the basket, Denver shot just 28 per cent in the second half.
"I think the last four or five minutes, I don’t even remember a layup," Whiteside said. "We just kept running them off the 3-point line and they tried to beat us with mid-range jumpers."
Darrell Arthur led Denver with 18 points and Emmanuel Mudiay had 16 off the bench. The Nuggets were shooting 67 per cent midway through the second quarter but ended up hitting 41 per cent of their shots for the game.
"First half we were shooting 55 per cent, so to go all the way down to 41 per cent meant our offence was stagnant," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
Rookie Justise Winslow scored five straight points during a 9-0 run early in the fourth that gave Miami an 87-82 lead.
Denver tied it at 95 but Bosh hit a turnaround jumper on the baseline to give Miami the lead again.
Danilo Gallinari missed a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left and after Bosh hit a free throw, Jameer Nelson missed a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"I just wanted to get a shot off," Nelson said. "I’ve taken (shots) at the end of the game before. It doesn’t bother me making or missing."
DAY BY DAY
Wade said he hopes taking three days off for treatment will help his ailing shoulders and get him back on the court for the final game of the road trip in Oklahoma City.
"I haven’t gotten any MRIs or nothing," he said. "Right now I’m going off how I feel."
Heat: Spoelstra said F Chris Andersen was going to get an MRI on his left knee. Andersen has played just seven games this season. … Beno Udrih had 11 points and 11 assists.
Nuggets: C Jusuf Nurkic sat out with a left knee injury suffered in Wednesday’s win over Golden State. Nurkic had off-season surgery on the same knee and missed the first 33 games. … Denver made its first five 3-pointers. … The Nuggets were 25 of 26 from the foul line.
Heat: At Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Nuggets: Host Indiana on Sunday.