Heat hang on, top Nets 88-84 to stop slide
MIAMI (AP) When Hassan Whiteside came to the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade was under the impression that the center was a rookie.
His NBA debut was actually in 2010.
His coming-out party, however, seems to be happening now - and for the struggling Heat, it might be the perfect time.
Chris Bosh scored 26 points, Wade scored 10 of his 25 down the stretch and the Heat snapped a four-game losing streak by topping the Brooklyn Nets 88-84 on Sunday night.
''A must-win,'' said Bosh, whose team lost by 36 in Houston on Saturday. ''It didn't matter who we played.''
Whiteside scored 11 points, tied a career high with 10 rebounds and set career bests with five blocked shots and 27 minutes. He came up big midway through the fourth, blocking away Deron Williams' shot after the Nets' guard backed Miami's Norris Cole down in the post with ease.
Williams' shot never had a chance. Whiteside sent it out of bounds, and the Heat needed those plays - improving to 7-12 at home.
''It might not look like I'm there,'' Whiteside said. ''But I'm there.''
Joe Johnson scored 19, Brook Lopez added 16 and Mirza Teletovic had 14 for Brooklyn, which had won six of seven and was seeking to get back over .500 for the first time since Nov. 12.
The Heat never trailed - and, because nothing comes easily to them anymore, still had to sweat out the ending. A nine-point Heat lead with 4:49 left was whittled to three, and the Nets actually had a chance to tie with just over a minute remaining but Teletovic's 3-pointer rattled out.
''We couldn't stop Bosh. We couldn't stop Wade,'' Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. ''That was the reason we couldn't get any closer.''
Williams scored 13 and Mason Plumlee scored 12 for the Nets, who are 0-3 against Miami this season.
''I thought we fought hard,'' Johnson said. ''We had our opportunities, maybe missed a lot of chippies, open shots that we normally make.''
Miami led 49-40 at the half, and still was up by five after the third. The third quarter has been an issue all season and it was again Sunday, with Miami getting outscored 19-15 in those 12 minutes.
But the Heat held the lead, despite not getting to the 20-point mark in that quarter for the third straight game. And in the fourth, Miami had just enough.
''It's hard to win in this league,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''It really is. ... Even in a game like this, when we had to fight it all the way to the end, you don't take winning for granted when you're having a season like we (are) right now.''
Nets: Brooklyn fell to 1-13 when scoring less than 94 points. The Nets are 15-4 when scoring at least 94. ... Kevin Garnett played against the Heat for the 64th time, tying Ben Wallace for seventh-most by any Miami opponent. ... The Nets went scoreless in the first 3 minutes for the first time this season.
Heat: Miami's crowd was 20,181, a season-high at home. ... Wade's career-best streak of 31 consecutive free throws made ended. His previous long streak from the line was 27, in February 2012. ... Miami isn't back home until Jan. 20 against Oklahoma City. ... Chris Andersen was diagnosed with a sprained right thumb in the first half. He returned to the game, with tape around the thumb.
Whiteside became the third player with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots off the bench this season, joining Utah's Rudy Gobert (against Miami) and Denver's Jusef Nurkic (against Memphis).
Brooklyn stayed with its lineup that has Williams and Lopez coming off the bench, and the Nets' reserves outscored Miami's 43-21. But the Heat starters outscored Brooklyn's 67-41.
Nets: host Dallas on Monday.
Heat: at Portland on Thursday.