With swelling down in elbow, Heat’s Goran Dragic says he looked like ‘old self’ against Magic

Heat guard Goran Dragic goes up for a shot during Miami’s victory in Orlando on Saturday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

MIAMI – Goran Dragic had a rough month of December.

The Heat’s tri-captain and starting point guard averaged 13.8 points and made 39 percent of his shots while playing in just 12 games, missing three because of a strained left (shooting) elbow.

Dragic now hopes the final game of the year, Saturday in Orlando, is a springboard to getting back to the player who carried the Heat for much of last season and the start of this season.

Dragic scored 25 points while converting half of his 22 shots in Miami’s comeback win. He was 2-of-4 on threes after going 4-of-26 in his previous nine games. The game in Orlando marked his fourth since returning from the three-game absence and the first in which he scored more than 14 points and made more than one/third of his shots.

“I looked back to my old self,” Dragic said, especially in the fourth quarter when he had 14 of Miami’s 31 points.

Dragic said the elbow is not completely healed but says it’s improving.

“The swelling went down so that’s a good thing,” he said. “I still feel it but maybe I’m comfortable with the discomfort. I’m getting used to it.

“It’s moving in the right direction.”

Dragic said the pain is the worst the mornings after games. But he’s hoping the three-day break between Orlando and hosting Detroit tonight will help. The break is the longest between games so far this season.

“The last three days I was doing treatment every day,” Dragic said. “It helps.”

[Forward James Johnson could return tonight for Heat’s game against Pistons]

[Erik Spoelstra not happy with Hassan Whiteside’s decision to shed knee brace. Says it’s ‘non-negotiable’]

[New two-way contract player Derrick Jones Jr. knows how to impress Heat — with his defense]

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