Dragic said he will pick his spots late in games when Wade returns. “It will be the same me,” Dragic said of his late-game approach with Wade back. “That’s the best way to put it. Be me and try to help the team. We understand the only thing that matters is winning. Whoever has the better matchup or better shot, that guy is going to take it. We need to be smart about it. It depends which player you have on you. When we played against Denver, they put [Wilson] Chandler on me. He’s fast, he’s big. That’s why we went to other guys.”
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The next step is keeping Dragic at this level and getting Wade back, after Dragic initially had deferred upon Wade’s return at the Feb. 8 NBA trading deadline. Wade has been dealing with a balky hamstring but was able to work out during the trip. “He’s been playing like that for a while — and even with Dwyane,” Spoelstra said of Dragic, with the Heat now off until Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets at the start of a two-game homestand at AmericanAirlines Arena. “And we need Dwyane and Goran playing at an extremely high level, both of them, at the same time. “Before Dwyane got hurt, I loved where our team was offensively. We had great balance and I’m sure it was probably on opponents’ minds, ‘How are we going to prepare? OK, we have to cover Dwyane, [Wayne] Ellington and down the line.’ “
Goran Dragic downplays any notion that he and Dwyane Wade cannot thrive in the same backcourt. The two started alongside each other for a year and a half after Dragic was acquired from the Suns in February 2014. Dragic averaged 14.8 points in the 98 regular season games, including 14.1 points in 2015-16, his lowest output in six seasons in his only full season with Wade. Dragic, though, said it took time to learn how to play with several unfamiliar faces after joining Miami.
“People (got) this wrong, they said me and Dwyane Wade we didn’t co-exist or something,” Goran Dragic said today. “You know when you come to a new team it’s hard to find your spot at first. We had (Chris Bosh) at first, we had D-Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng; there were a lot of players they were good and you just need time to adjust and fit into the system. “You could see the last year together we demonstrated we can play together.”
The Heat reacquired Dwyane Wade on Thursday in a deal with the Cavaliers. “That was never a concern for me, maybe for you guys outside this locker room,” Goran Dragic said. “I had a great relationship with him. He helped me a lot. I always said that. I’m happy to have him here. You know in the playoff run we had we we played well together. So, it is what it is, regardless of what people said.”
An “uneasy tension” exists between Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra today dismissed the notion of any conflict among his backcourt stars, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald relays.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said the tension results from both needing the ball to be at their best. “The Heat has to make a decision: Will it be Dragic at the controls or Wade and I honestly think they’re better on the long haul with Dragic,” Windhorst said on ESPN on Monday. “It’s a huge decision for Spoelstra going forward… That will end up determining the outcome of this series.”
Erik Spoelstra, on a Brian Windhorst ESPN report of “uneasy tension” between Wade and Dragic: “It’s silly. Goran and Dwyane, not only are they playing much better with each other, which takes time — they’re both aggressive ball dominant players — but they enjoy each other. They enjoy when the other guy is able to be aggressive. They want each other to be able to play their games. And it’s getting better.”
Of controversial reports about the Heat, Erik Spoelsta said: “We’re used to it. Before playoffs even started 3 1/2 weeks ago, we said it brings out everything. A lot of noise. When you lose, there will be a lot of surprising storylines and narratives out there and you just have to be able to laugh at it.”
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May 25, 2018 | 3:56 pm EDT Update
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