Dion Waiters shed the white sleeve for black elastic therapeutic tape designed to relieve pain on his ailing right elbow and the result was a more efficient, more in control Heat shooting guard.
Waiters, who has played the last two games after hyperextending his right arm in San Antonio, scored 10 points on just five shots in Miami’s manhandling of Memphis Monday. Waiters made four, his miss a hurried, 26-footer that he air-balled.
This coming after he felt more pain in the arm while attempting to fight over a screen.
“It hurts,” he said following the game while flexing and bending his arm. “It’s a nerve.”
Still, Waiters had a solid all-around game with two rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 24:20. His 2-to-1 ratio of points to field goal attempts was much better than is season averages of 14.6 points on 14.0 attempts.
Waiters admitted before the game he was not comfortable with the sleeve so the black tape was the best solution.
“I don’t try to think about it,” he said. “Me, I’m a no excuse guy. I’m whatever. It’s very uncomfortable. But if I’m out there, I’m out there.”
Waiters was coming off a 1-of-10 performance in Miami’s win over the Nets, the fifth game this season in which he has taken 10 shots and made three or fewer.
“Dion has confidence,” said his fellow starting guard, Goran Dragic. “Even after that bad game we knew he was going to bounce back. It’s nice to see those balls go in.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with Waiters’ aggressiveness. The longest of his five field goals was a 7-foot pullup. Otherwise he scored on two reverse layups and a driving layup. He also got fouled going to the basket and made one-of-two free throws.
“He made them pay for whatever coverage they were in,” Spoelstra said. “So, I liked his minutes.”
Spoelstra said Waiters made several decisions to drive the ball instead of settle for the jumper. But Waiters said those decisions had nothing to do with his injury and, presumably, limited range.
“When I’m out there I don’t really think about it,” he said. “I can’t determine how the game is going to go. I just told myself I’m going to be aggressive. The time I was out there I just tried to be aggressive and make the right play.”