Less than three minutes into the Miami Heat’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, Goran Dragic stole a pass from Wilson Chandler, drove the length of the court and finished with a running layup.
It was a simple play, one Dragic has done many times in his career.
But it was a play Dragic needed nonetheless, considering he was held scoreless for the first time in his five years with the Heat two nights earlier against the Washington Wizards in his first game back while dealing with a knee injury.
And by game’s end on Monday, Dragic had posted a team-high 24 points.
“It was as I expected,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The game before that, he just hadn’t done anything in three days. It’s hard to jump into an NBA game full speed. That just shows you how much he wants to help the team, to go out there and play when he’s not 100 percent. But he was in great rhythm last night. It was good to see him physically moving the way he’s capable of.”
The Heat needs Dragic, the team’s lone true point guard, healthy and consistent on both ends of the floor as it tries to get out of a three-game losing stretch.
Dragic leads the team averaging 4.9 assists per game and is second with 16.7 points per game. He has scored at least 20 points in six of 10 games that he has dressed this year.
Heat talks LeVert injury
As the Heat prepares to play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the team has Nets small forward Caris LeVert on their minds.
LeVert suffered a dislocated right foot during Brooklyn’s loss to Minnesota on Monday and needed to be carted off on a stretcher. The injury is not as serious as initially thought, with the team announcing Tuesday that LeVert will not need surgery.
LeVert, in his third NBA season, is on pace to set career highs in scoring (18.4 points per game), rebounding (4.3) and shooting efficiencey (47.5 percent).
“You feel horrible when it happens to players,” Spoelstra said. “We all live in this really competitive arena and we all root for every single person and player that they at least have their health. You don’t want to see anyone get injured like that in such a fashion. It’s hard for it not to be on your mind.”
“It sucks man,” Josh Richardson said. “You hate to see that for anybody in this league or anybody who plays sports. He was playing at a very, very high level. I think he was definitely on pace to be in the conversation for most improved. He’s done a lot of work during his time in the league. I pray for a speedy recovery.”