Dion Waiters just keeps drilling game-icing dagger 3-pointers

Ball Don't Lie
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5010/" data-ylk="slk:Dion Waiters">Dion Waiters</a> waves to his adoring fans. (Getty Images)
Dion Waiters waves to his adoring fans. (Getty Images)

After two straight stellar performances, Dion Waiters had come back to earth on Wednesday night. Through three quarters at Barclays Center, he’d scored 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting, and the Brooklyn Nets had outscored the Miami Heat by 22 points in the shooting guard’s 24 minutes of work; Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra sat him down less than two minutes into the frame, rolling with a group of reserves he hoped would provide the energy and spark that his starting unit hadn’t en route to a 17-point deficit.

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“I was part of the problem,” Waiters said after the game, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Down the stretch, though, he was once again a major part of the solution:

For the second straight game, Waiters drilled a pull-up 3-pointer in the closing seconds to ice a victory. His deep triple put Miami up four with 6.8 seconds remaining, and after some Wayne Ellington free throws and a buzzer-beating half-court heave by Spencer Dinwiddie, the Heat walked away with a 109-106 win.

Miami erased an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter thanks in large part to the play of the red-hot shooting guard, who scored 14 of his 24 points on 6-for-7 in the final frame while adding four assists without a turnover. The Heat torched Brooklyn 38-17 in the fourth, with reserves Ellington, Willie Reed and recent signee Okaro White providing energy and production while helping Waiters and Goran Dragic stifle the Nets to the tune of 27.8 percent shooting and five turnovers in the final 12 minutes.

The combination of sharpshooting and hard-nosed defense allowed Miami to knock the Nets on their heels, close the gap and give Waiters his third straight chance to play hero. And while he didn’t do the celebration that made him a meme on Monday night …

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… teammate Hassan Whiteside was all too happy to step in for him:

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The clinching bomb was the latest in a killer run for Waiters, who has sparked Miami to a five-game winning streak behind his attacking and shot-making. The 25-year-old has averaged 23.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 32.4 minutes per game during the streak, shooting a blistering 56 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point land.

Waiters’ career leading into this year has been marked more by difficulties finding his niche as a supplementary scorer and playmaker alongside marquee talents like Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Of late, though, he has looked awfully comfortable stepping into the role of Miami’s leading shot creator and crunch-time option.

“He has that almost irrational confidence,” Spoelstra said after the game, according to Denis P. Gorman of the Miami Herald. “You need that. I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands, especially in key, clutch moments. He really stepped up in the fourth quarter.”

And, in doing so, gained the upper hand on a hatin’ Barclays employee …

… while also earning the opportunity to deliver to a rapt media contingent what has to be on the short list for the quote of the 2016-17 NBA season:

I’m not sure how long the Dion Waiters: Superstar Experience is going to last, but I recommend savoring the flavor of every last second while it does.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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