It has been a year full of inconsistencies for the Miami Heat.
There have already been six-game and five-game losing skids for the Heat this season, along with six-game and five-game winning streaks.
Some of that has to do with the uniqueness of this season that’s being played in the middle of a pandemic. But it’s also connected to the various injuries and protocol-related absences the Heat has endured along the way.
“Nothing surprises me anymore, so you just need to be focused on one goal and that’s to do our job,” guard Goran Dragic said in advance of Tuesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. “It doesn’t matter how hard it is. It’s tough to see players in and out with injuries or protocols and everything, but it’s part of the business right now at this time.”
Dragic, who turns 35 on May 6, has been one of the Heat’s key players who has been in and out of the lineup for a chunk of games mainly because of injuries. He has missed 19 games this season — two because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, three because of a left groin strain, nine because of a sprained left ankle, four because of lower back spasms, and another on the second night of a back-to-back set to rest his lower back a few games after returning from spasms.
“It has been challenging, but, still, you have to continue to fight, try to get better,” Dragic said of his fragmented season. “And as long as we’re winning, I’m fine.”
With the Heat facing the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on Wednesday night, it’s still unclear if the team will again take a cautious approach and rest Dragic on the back end of its back-to-back set.
“We’ll see,” Dragic said Tuesday when asked about his availability for Wednesday’s contest. “We still need to discuss that, so I don’t know. I’m going to be available if he needs me. But I don’t know yet.”
Dragic has actually played well on the second night of back-to-backs. In the four games Dragic has played in coming off of zero days of rest this season, he has averaged 19 points while shooting 44.3 percent from the field, four rebounds and 3.8 assists.
Dragic entered Tuesday averaging 13 points while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent on threes, 3.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 26.6 minutes in 34 games (10 starts) this season. That’s the lowest amount of points and minutes that Dragic has averaged since he was traded to the Heat in February 2015, as he averaged 19.1 points on 44.4 percent shooting in 32.5 minutes in a starting role during last season’s playoff run to the NBA Finals.