Heat hope to have Dragic when they visit Hawks
The Heat is keeping an eye on the status of starting guard Goran Dragic, who had a cortisone shot in his right foot. The veteran has tried to play through the injury for the last couple of weeks but opted for the shot to ease his discomfort. It normally takes 48 hours for the shot to take effect. Dragic has not missed any time because of the injury
"Get a lot of pain after practice and during the games," Dragic told the Washington Post. "We just want to go and treat it first and see if it's going to be any better. But you're always pounding in this, so it's always the same or worse. Then we decided (Wednesday), I went and got a shot."
The Heat (3-4) has lost two straight games. They'll be taking on a young Atlanta team (2-6) that has lost its last four.
Dragic is Miami's second-leading scorer (17.7 points per game) and averages 3.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists. In 21 career games against Atlanta, he is averaging 13.2 points and 4.5 assists.
Miami is led in scoring by guard Josh Richardson, who averages 19.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. He scored a career-high 31 points against the Kings on Oct. 29. Forward Rodney McGruder (14.3) and Hassan Whiteside (13.0 points, 15.6 rebounds) have been consistently good.
The Hawks are led by Trae Young, who leads all rookies in assists (7.0), is second in scoring (18.5) and third in 3-point percentage (33.3). Young has scored at least 10 points in the first eight games of his NBA career, an accomplishment matched by only two other players in franchise history -- Dominique Wilkins (nine) and John Drew (eight).
Despite his youth, Young has become the face of the team. He's mature enough to understand the learning nature of this season and pointed out the need for patience.
"[Sacramento, which beat the Hawks on Thursday] went through struggles last year and you see what they're able to do now," Young said after the 146-115 loss. "Of course, you never want to lose like this."
The Hawks are also getting 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds from Taurean Prince and 14.9 points and 4.6 rebounds from Kent Bazemore. Center Alex Len has been the team's most pleasant surprise and is averaging 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. Veteran point guard Jeremy Lin scored a season-high 23 points on Thursday against Sacramento.
The Hawks have been hurt by turnovers. They committed 22 in the lopsided loss to the Kings and average 18.6 per game. It's one reason the team is allowing 120.5 points per game.
This is the first of four meetings between the two regional rivals. Miami went 3-1 against the Hawks last season and has won five of the last six meetings.