Goran Dragic leads the way on and off the court for the Heat


Goran Dragic came up big for the Miami Heat in the first game of the playoffs on Saturday afternoon. In what became an overtime loss, Dragic produced a team-high 25 points in 35 minutes of play off the bench.

Dragic finished the game shooting 10-17 from the field and connected on five 3 pointers throughout the game. That includes a game-tying corner 3-pointer with 20.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter and again in the final minute of overtime to keep the Heat alive down the stretch.

Goran Dragic was moments away from leading the Miami Heat to an overtime victory in the first game of the NBA playoffs solely on his own efforts.

This isn’t the first time Dragic has led Miami in the playoffs. After the first loss, Dragic said that the Heat didn’t take advantage of some of the chances they had to close this game out victoriously, despite being on the road.

“The pressure was all on them. They need to win at home. It was a close game. I feel like we had our chances, but unfortunately we didn’t take them.” – Goran Dragic, via Steve Megargee of the Associated Press

It’s worth noting Miami made 15 more 3-pointers than Milwaukee, but the Heat were out-rebounded 64-51 and out-scored 56-24 in the paint. However, the Heat needed more production from just Dragic to earn a game one victory.

The Heat only had two players make more than five baskets in the game; Dragic (10-17) and Duncan Robinson (7-13). In doing so, Robinson’s seven 3-pointers tied a Heat playoff record.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo both made four shots for a combined 8-25 from the field. Butler was often defended by Giannis Antetokounmpo but was able to add 17 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. It’s fair to say that if Butler (4-22) and Adebayo (4-15) connected on more of their shots, it would have been enough to lift the Heat over the Bucks enough to have won the game.

After a poor performance from Adebayo, Dragic felt the need to hold his teammate accountable and said that Adebayo needs to be more aggressive for the Heat to be successful.

“I feel like he [Adebayo] needs to be more aggressive. I’m not saying to take that midrange shot. But, you know, he got that ability to put the ball on the floor and be more physical and try to challenge them at the rim. I know Lopez is big, but I think Bam has that quality, he can do it many ways, he can score many ways against him. So, we’re gonna have to watch the film and see how we’re going to attack them in the next game. Hopefully, we’re gonna make some changes.” – Goran Dragic, via Sean Deveney of Heavy

The Heat and Bucks met each other in the playoffs last year as well, resulting in Miami winning the second-round series in just five games. Although this is a different team than last year, the Heat still have a great chance to win the series even after losing the opening game. It’s hard to believe that Butler and Adebayo are going to have back-to-back unproductive games.

That’s what it comes down to. Butler and Adebayo need to produce for the starting unit, while Dragic runs the floor and handles scoring duties as soon as he enters the game as the first player off the bench. When Miami starts heating up and the core group is producing like they have all season, then the Bucks will be in trouble getting past the Heat in the playoffs once again.

The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks will play again on Monday night at 7:30 PM EST on TNT.

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