Goran Dragic had another monster performance, however it was not enough as the Heat’s season-high 13-game win streak came to an end in Philadelphia.
Welcome to the Hot Hand, where after every Miami Heat game win or loss we recognize the player who best put his stamp on the game.
Goran Dragic rose up, but the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers got even higher, handing the Miami Heat a 117-109 road loss, snapping the team’s 13-game win streak and holding Erik Spoelstra and company 1.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
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Dragic would finish the night with 30 points and 5 rebounds, the fifth time he has reached that mark this season. Despite the points, Miami is just 3-2 in those games.
Averaging 23.2 points and 6.4 assists over the past 14 games, Dragic has easily been Miami’s most consistent force since the start of the new year. Shooting 50.4 percent from the field while boasting an impressive 51.2 percent rate from beyond the arc, Dragic has played at an All-Star level since 2017 began, and the standings reflect just that.
Shooting impressively well once again, Dragic finished last night’s game 12-of-21 from the floor, knocking down 2 of his 4 attempts from three-point range:
With Hassan Whiteside struggling on the offensive end (just 5-of-11 from the field), Miami actually shot the ball moderately well considering the circumstances. Led by Dragic, the Heat shot 45.9 percent, but only managed seven made three pointers the entire night.
In contrast, seven players reached double-digit scoring for Philadelphia, led by Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric all with 19.
Although he committed a whopping seven turnovers on the night, the streak-ending loss can not be placed on Dragic whatsoever.
Arguably, his efforts have been the driving force behind Miami’s push for a seventh or eighth seed after falling to 11-30 after 41 games, and his shot chart proves just that:
The Heat streak may be over, but its time give credit where its due. Dragic has been sensational and his shot chart proves just that: pic.twitter.com/MjyJKRYaIZ
While not known as a three-point specialist, Miami’s shooting from distance has fared quite better as well:
Three-Point Percentage (Per 100 Possessions)
On court: 44.5 percent
Off court: 32.3 percent
Three Pointers Made (Per 100 Possessions)
On court: 12.1
Off court: 8.1
The streak may have concluded last night, but Miami’s playoff hopes are still very much alive, something I would not have been able to sanely type just three weeks ago.
With 27 games to go and All-Star weekend all but here, the Heat will need the same consistent output from Dragic down the stretch if they hope to salvage what was once a failing, lottery-pick type year.
As for confidence? Dragic certainly is lacking in that category, posting this encouraging message to Heat fans on Twitter following the disappointing loss:
The playoffs are slowly creeping on the horizon, and thanks to the valiant effort and veteran leadership from Dragic, the Heat are now on the verge of one of the best single-season turnarounds in the history of sports.
What a story that would be.
Miami (24-31) will remain home for a Monday night showdown with the inner-state rival Orlando Magic at 7:30 p.m. ET.