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George, Westbrook, Schroder, Thunder pummel reeling Heat 118-102

Erik Spoelstra on being unable to keep pace with Thunder.

This is why you can't lose at home to the Chicago Bulls.

Because games like Friday night's 118-102 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder follow.

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Outclassed from the outset, the Miami Heat proved unable to keep up with Paul George, Russell Westbrook and . . . Dennis Schroder in a loss that dropped them to 24-26 overall and 11-15 at home.

The Thunder not only scored 73 first-half points, but got 24 second-quarter points from Schroder, the most by an individual in a second period against the Heat in the franchise's 31 seasons.

Ultimately, George was even better, closing with 43 points that included 10-of-16 3-point shooting, with Schroder adding 28 points and Westbrook with a triple-double. George's 10 3-pointers were a franchise record.

"This is where you lean on your character, your culture and what you have in your locker room," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have a resilient group.

"We're a better basketball team than we showed tonight."

But George ultimately trumped all.

"Paul George was tremendous tonight," Spoelstra said. "We tried all the coverages we have in our playbook, regular man, trapping him and zone. When he is hitting his pull-up three, he makes it extremely tough, and he is unselfish. We put two on the ball and he will find the open guy.

"One of the more impressive shooting displays I have seen this season."

Because none of it came as a surprise.

"I've seen every defense, every matchup, so I know how I'm going to be guarded and what to look for," George said.

The Heat's deficit reached 12 at the midpoint of the opening period and stood at 23 in the second quarter.

It ended with Heat guard Dwyane Wade swapping jerseys with George.

"He's been playing phenomenal basketball," Wade said. "I've said it plenty of times, that's my favorite player. I love watching PG play."

Games such as this and the challenges the Heat face on the impending five-game western swing are the very reason why the squandered opportunities against opponents such as the Bulls ultimately could capsize this into a lottery season.

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Salvaging this three-game homestand now comes down to whether more can be mustered for Saturday's visit by the Indiana Pacers.

"We have a resilient group," Spoelstra said. "It's not like guys are going to be hiding and feeling sorry for ourselves."

Five degrees of Heat from Friday's game:

1. Schroder sizzles: Schroder did more in the second quarter than any Heat player did for the night.

His 24 second-quarter points came on 9-of-9 shooting in the period, including 4 of 4 on 3-pointers. He rounded out the perfection by making both of his free throws in the period.

That from the player who plays behind Westbrook.

"I think a couple of Dennis’s shots were too comfortable," Heat forward Josh Richardson said. "He's a great player so he takes advantage."

The problem was that not only was Schroder flawless, but George also scored 10 of his 26 first-half points in that second period, as part of the Thunder's .652 shooting over the 12 minutes.

"Schroder coming in off the bench doing the same [as George] kind of just knocked us in the teeth and we were never able to come back," Spoelstra said.

2. Westbrook, too: Westbrook had his league-leading 18th triple-double and fifth in a row by the midpoint of the third period, closing with 14 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.

Along the way there was a bit of flexing after one dunk and 5-of-9 shooting from the field.

"We kept attacking the paint, which opened up things outside, especially with the threes," Westbrook said. "It set up a good rhythm for us."

The Western Conference's wealth of riches is abundantly clear when you consider that Westbrook is merely an All-Star reserve (albeit behind James Harden and Steph Curry).

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3. Whiteside perseveres: To his credit, while all was crumbling around him, Heat center Hassan Whiteside continued to pound the glass, closing with 16 rebounds and 12 points despite being held out of the meaningless fourth quarter.

The performance was Whiteside's 100th career double-double at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Center actually was a position of strength for the Heat on the otherwise forgettable night, with Kelly Olynyk finding his 3-point range and Bam Adebayo contributing a powerful performance off the bench.

4. Tyler time: Tyler Johnson was back in the Heat starting lineup after a pair of starts for Wayne Ellington as Johnson dealt with a calf issue.

Wade again played as the Heat's first guard off the bench, after missing Wednesday's loss to the Bulls due to knee soreness, with Dion Waiters the second reserve guard.

That again had Ellington shifted out of the rotation, a spot where Rodney McGruder continues to find himself.

5. Wade's rise: With his second basket, Wade passed Reggie Miller for 32nd place on the NBA's all-time list for field goals made.

Wade was introduced as "2019 NBA All-Star, Dwy-ane Waaaade!" when he first entered, having been added to the All-Star Game earlier in the day by Commissioner Adam Silver.

His frustration, however, boiled over with a third-quarter technical foul, on what proved to be a 2-of-8 night from the field, albeit with a team-high six assists.

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