With the game on the line and the Miami Heat down one point, the Heat went to their all-star point guard to carry them to victory, and this is exactly what happened. With 14.3 seconds remaining in the game, Goran Dragic hit a short jump shot from the free throw line to give the Heat a 92 to 91 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
After an embarrassing and heart wrenching loss against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, the Heat noticeably played with much more energy and focus tonight to help further secure their playoff spot.
Dragic led the way for Miami, scoring 30 points on an efficient 10 of 18 shooting. Kelly Olynyk was the Heat’s second leading scorer with 17 points in 24 minutes.
As for the Lakers, Julius Randle continued his impressive run with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Brook Lopez added 18 points.
In a game that was neck and neck throughout the entire 48 minutes, it was great to see the Heat dig deep and pull out a much-needed win. Prior to the victory, the Heat had lost their last nine away games, so this game was a very significant win for Miami to break that losing streak.
“It was really, really refreshing,” Dragic said after the game. “We lost nine games on the road. It was kind of a tough stretch for us. Finally, tonight, the basketball Gods were on our side.”
One important note from this game was that Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside still remained sidelined due to injury, which forced Dragic to carry the offense once again. It is still unclear when Wade and Whiteside will be able to return to the lineup, but it was nice to have guard Josh Richardson back in the starting lineup after his once game absence.
The Heat end their three game road trip with a 1-2 record, and although it was not ideal, they still remain even with the Milwaukee Bucks for the seventh seed, with the Bucks only ahead of the Heat because of percentage points. However, if Miami does end with the same record as the Bucks at the end of the year, Miami will be the seventh seed as the Heat own the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams.
Additionally, the Heat are now a full six games up on the Detroit Pistons for the eighth seed, and it seems very likely that Miami will be a playoff team.
The Heat return home for only two games against the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, before going back on the road to face the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers. Although it seems very likely that Miami will make the playoffs, these are all must win games if Miami is to improve their seeding before the NBA playoffs begin. It remains to be seen whether or not Miami will still be without their stars Wade and Whiteside for their upcoming games, but the team must embrace its depth and play each game with a sense of urgency.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Miami Heat article is published, fill out our email notification form.