Justise Winslow joined an exclusive club Thursday night – just not the kind most NBA players want to be associated with.
The Heat’s 2015 first round pick became the 250th player in league history since 1983-84 – and the ninth in a Miami Heat uniform – to take at least nine field goal attempts in a game and not make any of them.
The good news for Winslow? His night of clanks was hardly the worst ever.
Former Heat guard Tim Hardaway still owns that record. He went 0-for-17 against the Minnesota Timberwolves back on Dec. 27, 1991 as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
In fact, the list of players to take at least nine shots and not make any in a game includes a long list of current and former All-Stars – from Russell Westbrook (0-for-13) and Chris Paul (0-for-12) to Karl Malone (0-for-10) and Ray Allen (0-for-9).
The other former Heat players on the list include current Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn, Antoine Walker, LaPhonso Ellis, Voshon Leonard, Jamal Mashburn, Kevin Edwards, Willie Burton and the late Pearl Washington. Winslow’s current Heat teammate Derrick Williams, who went 0-for-10 as a member of the T’Wolves, is also on the list.
“It's tough. You want to be out there and you want to help your team. That’s what I try to do,” said Winslow, a career 40 percent shooter who after scoring a career-high 23 points against the Lakers on Dec. 23 has gone 2-for-19 over his last two games combined.
“The ball wasn't going in for me, but I try to defend, rebound, make plays for other guys. You just have to try to find different ways to make an impact on the game when the shots not falling. That's what I tried to do. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.”
Winslow missed five shots within two feet of the basket in the 91-82 loss to the Hornets. His other four misses were between 17 and 20 feet from the rim. He said he felt his shot selection was good.
“He did some good things particularly on the baseline,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “When he’s open, particularly in rhythm shooting 15, 16-footers, he’s had plenty of games that he makes you pay for those. He was being aggressive in the open court, had some post-ups. He just wasn’t able to get the ball down. But that’s the game and you still have to try to find a way to overcome some poor shooting nights.”
Does Spoelstra worry about Winslow’s shooting woes becoming a mental hurdle?
“No,” he said. “He’s a very intelligent player, so he’s not going to get caught up in the final stat line or field goal percentage because he knows how to impact games in so many different ways. He still had five assists and he made some good plays. And defensively, he can always make an impact. The shot will be there.”
DRAGIC STILL AILING
Goran Dragic’s return to the lineup Thursday after missing Tuesday’s game with back spasms could be short-lived.
The Heat’s leading scorer played 32 minutes, but was only 2-of-11 from the field and despite dishing out eight assists admitted after the game he may have hurt his team more than helped them.
“Goran probably shouldn’t have been out there,” Spoelstra said. “He just really wanted to be out there for his team and you could clearly see he wasn’t moving the way he normally does. He was probably at 50 percent, if that. But these guys are competing hard for each other. They don’t want to let each other down and it’s disappointing that we haven’t been able to pick up some wins.”
Dragic dealt with back spasms shortly after the Heat first acquired him two seasons ago, but hadn’t experienced any spasms or tightness until the past week when he first experienced it in a loss to the Orlando Magic and then aggravated it trying to make a Eurostep move in the loss at New Orleans a few days later.
“It's a weird feeling when the back tightens up,” Dragic said. “You cannot really explode. I was not moving the best. It was tough, but I tried to give it a go, tried to be on the floor, but everything was not good at all.
“Right now it's pretty tight, sore.
“It doesn't make sense [for me to play in Boston Friday] if I cannot do my job. I like to penetrate. I like to play fast. It’s kind of like taking my game away. It’s tough. I’m a competitive guy. I like to be with the guys.”