Take That For Data: Takeaways from Miami Heat’s Blowout Victory Over Knicks

Insight3 years ago5 min readChristian Hernandez

The Miami Heat won their first home game 110-87 Wednesday to the New York Knicks at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Our resident statistician, Christian Hernandez (@TheMapleRick), pieced together his biggest takeaways for Miami in a new series we’re calling, “Take That For Data.”

Player of the Game: Hassan Whiteside

Whiteside had by far his best game of the season on both sides of the court, as he took advantage of a depleted Knicks frontcourt. Enes Kanter and Noah Vonleh were not up to the challenge of slowing down the big man, who finished Miami’s 110-87 victory with a team-high 22 points and 14 rebounds as Miami outscored the Knicks by 30 points in his 27 minutes.

Whiteside also led the team in contested shots (15) and box outs (10), per NBA Stats, which are two hustle areas that Whiteside isn’t always consistent with. The Heat are a hard team to stop when Whiteside plays with the energy he did on Wednesday night.

Lineup of the Game:

The Starting Lineup (Dragic-McGruder-Richardson-Olynyk-Whiteside)

This unit got its first real run of the season Wednesday night and really took advantage of the short-handed Knicks.

The starting lineup outscored the Knicks 33-15 in a quarter of basketball while shooting 57 percent from the field and 71 percent from 3. Obviously, holding the Knicks to a 60 offensive rating is a feat in itself, but it’s hard to put too much stock into that with the amount of wide open 3s that New York was just bricking over and over.

The main takeaway should be how well the offense looked with this unit, especially as Rodney McGruder continues to assert himself as a leading candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year.

Matchup of the Game:

Hassan Whiteside over Noah Vonleh (per NBA Stats)

Whiteside really dominated the game in the 20 or so possessions he guarded Vonleh and vice versa. Whiteside had 10 points on five field-goal attempts while holding Vonleh to only two points on three field-goal attempts. The Heat outscored the Knicks by 10 points in the 10 minutes they shared the court, which helped Miami pull away in the second half. Vonleh is pretty undersized to deal with someone of Whiteside’s size and length, and it showed throughout the night.

Stat of the Game:

Starting Lineup Deadly from 3

Gotta bring it back to that same starting lineup that dominated the third quarter. Miami’s jump shooting regressed back to the mean after a rough first three games shooting the ball. Between Richardson, McGruder, Dragic, and Olynyk, the Heat shot 11 of 17 from behind the arc. Couple that with the Knicks complete inability to hit an open 3, and the game got out of control quickly for the Knicks and led to a lot of breakdowns like this one:


It should also be noted that McGruder excelling in transition opportunities, as he’s got 19 points on 11 transition opportunities this season, which ranks in the 98th percentile in the NBA in transition efficiency, per Synergy Sports.

Lineup of Note:


So far this season, this has been Miami’s most used four-man lineup. This group has played 70 minutes together and has outscored opponents 158-134, which translates to a 88.2 defensive rating. That 88.2 defensive rating is the fourth best mark in the NBA for four-man lineups with at least 50 minutes played. This group has been giving Miami a little bit of everything: scoring, spacing, playmaking, while also providing strong perimeter and interior defense.

Heat Traditional and Advanced Leaders (through four games)

• Points Per Game: Josh Richardson (19.3)

• Rebounds Per Game: Hassan Whiteside (14.3) 

• Assists Per Game: Goran Dragic (5.5)

• Offensive Rating: Goran Dragic (114.9)

• Defensive Rating: Hassan Whiteside & Josh Richardson (93.2)

• Net Rating: Goran Dragic (plus-19.1)

• Assist/Turnover Ratio: Kelly Olynyk (4.50)

• True-Shooting Percentage: Rodney McGruder (72.2 percent)

Heat Synergy Leaders (through four games)

Writer’s Note: Please take defensive stats with a grain of salt.

• Overall Offense: Rodney McGruder – 1.294 points per possession (95th percentile)

• Overall Defense: Rodney McGruder – 0.691 points per possession (83rd percentile)

• Spot-Up Offense: Rodney McGruder – 1.529 points per possession (91st percentile)

• Spot-Up Defense: Kelly Olynyk – 0.462 points per possession (95th percentile)

• Pick-and-Roll Ball Handler Offense: Goran Dragic – 1.08 points per possession (83rd percentile)

• Pick-and-Roll Ball Handler Defense: Goran Dragic – 0.688 points per possession (72nd percentile)