Goran Dragic‘s performance in today’s Game 7 win over the Hornets showed why Miami traded two first-round picks to get him last season, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Dragic scored 25 points and handed out four assists as the Heat easily dispatched Charlotte. It was a welcome performance after an uneven season that had many observers questioning whether Dragic was a good fit alongside Dwyane Wade. Both guards need to control the ball to be effective, and although they were friendly off the court, their styles of play sometimes clashed. But today Dragic was at his best, connecting on 11 of 17 shots from the field while holding Hornets point guard Kemba Walker to just 3 of 16. “That’s the Goran Dragic we all love,” Wade said. “He puts so much pressure on the defense and allows the other guys to chill out, especially me. When he’s playing that way for us, we’re a tough, tough team to beat.”
There’s more on a victorious day in Miami:
- After being sidelined since late January, Tyler Johnson was happy to get back on the court today, relays Christy Cabrera Chirinos of The Sun-Sentinel. Johnson scored five points in his first action since having surgery on his left rotator cuff in February. “The last couple games, I’ve been available, but to finally get in there was a blessing,” Johnson said. “It was good to see the ball go in the basket for the first time in a while.”
- The Heat not only won their first playoff series since LeBron James left in 2014, they showed they could succeed without Chris Bosh, writes Dave Hyde of The Sun-Sentinel. Bosh has been out of action since the All-Star break when doctors reportedly discovered blood clots in his left calf.
- The fate of Jarnell Stokes will help shape the role of the D-League in the future, contends Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Stokes, who played for Miami’s affiliate in Sioux Falls, was the league’s MVP for both the regular season and the championship series, a feat he accomplished despite being part of three organizations during the year. However, Winderman says the D-League’s reputation will take a hit if Stokes can’t turn those awards into a steady NBA job.