Heat’s Goran Dragic out again Tuesday vs. Knicks

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Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·3 min read
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The Miami Heat again are listing Goran Dragic as out for Tuesday night’s game against the New York Knicks at AmericanAirlines Arena due to the sprained left ankle that sidelined the veteran point guard from Sunday’s victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Dragic was injured during the third quarter of Friday night’s victory over the Washington Wizards and did not make the trip to New York.

Dragic’s injury came with the Heat already without guard Avery Bradley for three to four weeks with a strained right calf.

With Dragic and Bradley out, coach Erik Spoelstra started Kendrick Nunn in Sunday’s victory, while also adding two-way guard Gabe Vincent into the mix.

The Heat also remain without center Meyer Leonard (shoulder surgery), forward Chris Silva (strained left hip flexor) and forward Moe Harkless (bruised left thigh).

Vincent is listed as probable, with a sore right knee.

The game against the Knicks will be followed by a seven-game trip that opens Thursday against the Houston Rockets.

In reserve

The notion of demotion has been refuted by Spoelstra after the past two games with Tyler Herro settling back into a reserve role.

“Tyler is going to play starter’s minutes regardless,” Spoelstra said. “So it’s just about him managing the narrative. His offensive skill set, we really need and it’s a great punch off the bench.”

Herro, who played 32:24 in New York on Sunday, said he has no issue with the role.

“I just want to be able to do whatever helps the team,” he said. “If me coming off the bench is what’s best for the team, then so be it. That’s the role I’m in.

“Everyone has a role on every team. The really good teams, everybody stars in their role. I started as a starter and now I’m a sixth man. So I’m ready to just be able to star in my role.”

A vote for Rose

Count the Heat’s Jimmy Butler as a proponent of the trade that reunited his former Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose and his former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in New York.

“Thibs is a hell of a coach,” Butler said. “I have so much respect for him. And D-Rose is a hell of a player then and a hell of a player now. He’s going to come in with that winning mentality and keep playing the way that he’s been playing these last couple years.

“That kid has a lot of go in him, he really does. And it’s inspiring and really, really impressive to watch. So I hope he’s in that uniform when we play them.”

For Butler, it has turned into somewhat of a nostalgia tour.

“Thibs getting the band back together,” he said. “He’s getting the band back together. He’s missing a couple of pieces, but I think they’ll figure that out.”

Do it again

Tuesday game marks the seventh time the Heat have played the same team in consecutive games this season, but the first time the venue has changed.

The Heat’s baseball-type series to far this season:

Dec. 29-Dec. 30: Lost at home to Bucks, 144-97, then won at home against Bucks, 119-108, the next night.

Jan. 12-14: Lost consecutive games to 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, 137-134 (OT), and, 125-108, two nights later, playing with the NBA minimum of eight players due to pandemic protocols in both games.

Jan. 16-18: Lost, 120-100, to Pistons at home, then two nights later defeated Pistons, 113-107, at home.

Jan. 20-22: Defeated Raptors, 111-102, in Tampa, then lost two nights later to Raptors, 101-81, in Tampa, where Toronto is playing its season due to Canada pandemic border restrictions.

Jan. 23-Jan. 25: Lost consecutive games to Nets at Barclays Center, 127-124, and, two nights later, 98-85.

Feb. 3-Feb. 5: Lost, 103-100, to Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena, then won two nights later at, 122-95.