Luol Deng scores 29 points in Heat’s victory over 76ers
MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic and the Miami Heat knew it would take some time for him to become acclimated to his new surroundings.
Looks like about three days did the trick.
Luol Deng made 11 of 14 shots and scored 29 points, Dragic added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Heat set a season high for scoring in a 119-108 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
"I know my game now," said Deng, who has scored 20 or more eight times this season — and Miami is a perfect 8-0 in those games. "I don’t try to do too much with the ball. As long as the ball moves, we’re a better team. … We’re at our best when the ball is moving."
It was a good-news day all around for Miami. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that Chris Bosh — who has blood clots on a lung, a season-ending issue — will be going home "soon" from a hospital where he’s been treated since late last week.
Dwyane Wade scored 18 for the Heat, who stayed in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. Hassan Whiteside added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Miami, which shot 55 percent.
"Guys were starting to feed off each other, moving the ball," Spoelstra said. "It’s something we talked about endlessly the last few days."
Hollis Thompson scored 22 points for Philadelphia, which got 18 from Nerlens Noel, 16 from Robert Covington, 12 from Henry Sims and 11 from Isaiah Canaan.
Miami outrebounded Philadelphia 45-33, and rested Whiteside and Wade for the entire fourth quarter.
"That’s not who we are," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "That’s not even close to who we are. … You are not beating anyone giving up 120 points."
Philadelphia was up 67-61 early in the third, then got outscored 30-12 over the final 9 minutes of the quarter. Dragic and Deng combined for 20 points in the third, one more than the entire 76ers’ roster over that 12 minutes and the outcome wasn’t in doubt down the stretch.
"We pride ourselves on playing defense and we’ve been pretty good at playing defense until this last couple of games," Noel said. "That’s what cost us the game."
It was Dragic’s second game with the Heat, and things were much smoother than in Saturday’s debut against New Orleans. The Heat practiced Sunday and had their usual gameday-morning shootaround Monday, those sessions largely about getting the All-NBA third-teamer from last season in tune with Miami’s playbook.
The results were clear: Dragic made 9 of 14 shots and seemed at ease.
"He’s picked up the offense fast and how to play with guys fast," Wade said. "He’s only going to get better."
76ers: The 76ers are now 1-31 when allowing 99 or more points. … Philadelphia reached the 30-point mark in the first quarter for the sixth time all season, the second against Miami. … Jerami Grant was held out with a lower back contusion, and Jason Richardson didn’t dress because of a left knee contusion.
Heat: The Heat improved to 10-2 when they have at least 25 assists. … Miami’s previous season-high for points was 114, at Philadelphia on Nov. 1. … Henry Walker had a memorable debut, with three 3-pointers and a drive-the-lane highlight-reel dunk giving him 11 points in the first half. He was bloodied over his right eye in the third quarter, then returned with 3:29 left.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spent the day with the Heat, meeting with the team’s business department.
"This is truly a model franchise, not just in the NBA but in all of sports," Silver told Sun Sports in a televised interview.
The commissioner lauded the work managing general partner Micky Arison, CEO Nick Arison, business operations president Eric Woolworth and team president Pat Riley have done for many years, with the franchise winning three titles and making five NBA Finals trips since 2006.
"A commissioner’s dream is to have an organization like this," Silver said.
Ish Smith made his 76ers debut, the guard appearing in his 222nd NBA game — for now eight different teams, after previous stops in Houston, Memphis, Golden State, Orlando, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Oklahoma City. Smith had seven points and seven assists, becoming the 23rd player to log minutes for the 76ers this season.
76ers: At Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Heat: At Orlando on Wednesday.