AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) – Hassan Whiteside made everything look easy.
That’s the Miami Heat way right now.
Whiteside scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in just 27 minutes, Dion Waiters scored 21 points on 10 shots and the Heat pushed their winning streak to 10 games with a 125-102 romp past the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
Miami led by as many as 34, and shot a season-best 59 percent.
“We’re not thinking about the win streak,” Whiteside said. “We’re a whole different team than we were a month ago. Guys are healthy. Guys are playing together. We’re a whole different team.”
Goran Dragic had 16 points and eight assists for Miami, and Tyler Johnson also scored 16. The 10-game streak is the longest current one in the NBA, and ties Houston for the second-longest in the league this season. Golden State won 12 straight in November.
“It took us a while, with all the moving parts, to really understand what our identity is and what’s important for us to be able to win basketball games,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re getting better with it.”
Whiteside had a double-double before the game was even 10 minutes old, and shot 14 for 17 from the field. The 30-20 game was the first of his career, and the ninth in Heat history including playoffs. It’s only the second in the NBA this season, with Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins having the other back in November.
“We couldn’t guard him,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said of Whiteside.
Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 for Philadelphia, which was without Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington. Embiid missed his fifth straight game with a left knee problem, and Okafor sat with right knee soreness. Covington has a right hand contusion.
The 76ers were outrebounded 49-33.
“I thought we gave up too much everywhere,” Philadelphia guard T.J. McConnell said. “You have to give them credit, though. They came out firing. We couldn’t recover. We fought back and there wasn’t enough. They punched us in the mouth again.”
Without Embiid and Okafor, the 76ers went with Nerlens Noel starting off trying to guard Whiteside.
It didn’t work.
Whiteside made his last eight shots of the first half, had 17 points and 11 rebounds before the first quarter was over, and the Heat were off and running. Miami led by as many as 18 early, took a 12-point lead into the half and then were up 100-75 going into the fourth.
76ers: Philadelphia used its 20th different starting lineup. Noel started for the fourth time this season. … Covington (right hand contusion) was listed as questionable a few hours before the game, and Okafor was listed as probable not long before tip-off. … Embiid is not expected to be with the 76ers when they visit Detroit on Monday.
Heat: It was Miami’s highest-scoring non-overtime game this season. … Okaro White started the second half for Rodney McGruder, who got sick. White’s 10-day contract is expiring, and the Heat will likely make a roster move Sunday to sign him for the rest of the season. “He’s a Miami Heat guy,” Spoelstra said. … On “Kids Day” in the arena, James Johnson brought his young son onto the court and held him during the playing of the national anthem.
Waiters’ hot streak continued. He was 7 for 10 from the field and 5 for 6 from 3-point range (missing his last). As if that wasn’t enough, Syracuse rallied to beat Virginia at the Carrier Dome earlier in the day – but he wasn’t watching. “I was sleeping,” he said.
PHILLY VS. WHITESIDE
The 76ers haven’t exactly had an answer for Whiteside in 2016-17. He’s got 62 points and 33 rebounds in two games against Philadelphia this season, on 75 percent shooting – 27 for 36.
76ers: Visit Detroit on Monday, ending a four-game trip.
Heat: Visit Minnesota on Monday, starting a four-game trip.
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