MIAMI – How worried is Goran Dragic about his sore right knee that likely will prevent him from playing in the Heat’s regular-season finale tonight against Toronto?
“No big stories here,” he said.
With playoff seeding on the line, the Heat probably will be without their leader. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Dragic is doubtful after the point guard banged his knee in Monday’s loss against Oklahoma City.
“Everything is fine, but we’re going to be smart about this and give him another day’s rest,” Spoelstra said. “We just want to make sure we take care of this.”
Everybody else is available, including Josh Richardson (banged knee) and James Johnson (poked in eye), who were also banged up Monday but are fine. Richardson said his knee was little sore but nothing that is worrisome.
Dragic’s knee has been bothering him for about the last month, battling tendinitis and a knee bruise. He said he aggravated the bruise in the first half Monday when he collided with Thunder center Steven Adams.
“I was just pushing through,” he said about Monday’s game. “When you’re hot it feels great. Then when you cool off a little bit it becomes a little bit sore, it swells up. But I’ll be fine. It’s nothing serious. Spo just told me we need to be smart. So, it’s precautionary.”
Dragic, 31, has been wearing padding on the knee to play through a bone bruise.
“When you have a bone bruise then it’s other muscles that kind of hurt and the knee was painful,” he said.
“As long as we put the swelling down it will be OK.”
The timing may be good for Dragic to rest. Dragic, who sat one game last week, is averaging just 14.3 points in his last 10 games. He is shooting .472 during that span. This comes after a four-game stretch in which he posted 26.5 points per game and shot .521 from the field.
The Heat (43-38) enter tonight still in the picture to finish anywhere from No. 6 to No. 8 in the Eastern Conference and with Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia all as possible first-round opponents.
The Raptors (59-22) have had the No. 1 seed sewn up for about a week. Coach Dwane Casey has rested different players at different times and limited the minutes of key players at different times. Casey was asked how he will approach tonight.
“Everybody is available,” he said, without adding if everybody will play and if they do, for how long.
The Raptors’ All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry played 28 and 26 minutes, respectively, Monday against the Magic.
The Raptors do have one significant accomplishment at stake, a first-ever 60-win season for the franchise. Their most wins before this season was 56 two seasons ago.
“It’s a significant number,” Casey said. “When we started out we won (23) games. Now we’re up to 60. It’s growth, it’s a boring word – process. It’s boring but it’s growth for our organization and what we are and what we’ve grown to. It doesn’t make or break your season but it’s a significant number.”
Miami can finish sixth by defeating Toronto and Milwaukee losing at Philadelphia, that would set up a first-round pairing with the Sixers.
The only way for the Heat finish eighth and play Toronto in the first round is to lose tonight and for Washington to win at Orlando.