Out since Friday with a left shoulder strain, Tyler Johnson has missed the last three games against the Indiana Pacers, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Atlanta Hawks. With 9.6 points per game on 52.5% shooting and 45.7% from deep since the beginning of the season, he has proved to be one of the most dynamic players for the Miami Heat.
But even without him (and Josh McRoberts also), Miami's bench showed up and helped the team to finish with a 2-1 record. During that span, the second unit scored 27.6 points per game, which is actually more than their season average of 26.2. And one of the big reasons for that is the contribution from Gerald Green, who is currently playing his best basketball of the season.
In the last three games, the high-flying guard has averaged 16.3 points on 19-33 from the field and 6-12 from 3-point range. Not bad, especially for a guy who has been inconsistent in the first quarter of the season. But more than his scoring, you have to love his recent activity on the defensive end of the floor. We all know he can shoot and attack the basket, but nobody really expected Green to play as well defensively, and that's why Erik Spoelstra continues to give him a lot of minutes.
But Green is not the only player who gave the Heat a spark coming off the bench recently. What about Beno Udrih, who played a good game last night in Atlanta with nine timely points? Since Johnson went down, the (other) Slovenian point guard has seen his minutes go up (14.6 minutes per game in the last three games, only 48 total minutes in the previous 13 games) and he answered the call on both ends of the floor.
Finally, Justise Winslow continues to give Miami solid defense despite his offensive struggles. To his credit, he was very important in the fourth quarter against Memphis, in which his scored a late three and two free throws with less than a second remaining on the shot clock.
According to Rotoworld, Tyler Johnson is hopeful to play on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, it will be great to see him back because the Heat will always need a player with so much energy, but the performance of the second unit without him showed the depth that exists on this team.