Erik Spoelstra’s decision to sub in Goran Dragic for Tyler Herro in the starting lineup Friday night led to a much-needed 122-95 win over the Washington Wizards. In fact, the Miami Heat were a +20 in the 20 minutes Dragic, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo shared the court together last night. Up until then, they had only played 46 minutes together all season.
Heat were +20 in the 20 minutes Jimmy, Bam, and Goran shared the court— Christian Hernandez (@ICanBeYourHerro) February 6, 2021
Coming into last night they had only played 46 minutes together all season
In Miami’s first three rounds of the playoffs, each one of them led the team in scoring for each round. Dragic led the Heat in the first-round sweep over the Indiana Pacers, Butler in the five-game series win over the Milwaukee Bucks and Adebayo in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The move to put Dragic in the starting lineup could have also been a signal that Spoelstra was tempering his expectations to turn Herro into a starting point guard, something the Heat had previously tried to do with Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow. As a sixth man, Herro returned to his role of a scorer.
But Dragic sustained a left ankle sprain in the third quarter of the game against the Wizards. He was ruled out for the Heat’s next game — a Madison Square Garden matinee on Super Bowl Sunday at the New York Knicks. Jimmy Butler, who landed on Bradley Beal’s foot on a jumper that was called a flagrant foul, is listed as probable.
Goran Dragic (sprained left ankle) ruled out for tomorrow's 1 p.m. game vs. Knicks in New York. Jimmy Butler probable with left foot contusion.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) February 6, 2021
Avery Bradley, Meyers Leonard, Moe Harless and Chris Silva remain out.
With the Heat standing at 8-14, they need as many healthy bodies to make up ground in the playoff hunt.