After the Heat lost in Toronto, it was suggested to Dwyane Wade that there could be a positive from all of Miami’s injuries: Extra learning opportunities for all the young players.
“Uh, it’s tough to see that,” Wade said. “Obviously, they’re getting some experience. … Like Justise [Winslow], he’s 19 years old, he’s getting thrown in situations that you probably wouldn’t want a 19-year-old to get thrown in. But I don’t know if I’ll be around to see the fruits of that.”
Winslow played a total of 77 minutes against Washington and Toronto, and he said he’s picking up “small stuff’ as he picks up some of the responsibilities of others.
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“The last couple of games, I’m handling the ball up top in the floppy action,” Winslow said. “It’s just learning how to read defenders, so I can get a lot more catch-and-go’s. But just learning to be more aggressive in the offense is the biggest thing, figuring out how to do that at different spots when I’m at different positions.”
Tyler Johnson has also been adjusting to an increased role, averaging 35 minutes in four starts, all Miami losses, with Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih sitting. On Monday, Johnson spoke of the adjustment of starting, not only in terms of setting a tone, but also in pacing himself.
“The first half usually turns out OK, but then the second half you start getting a little bit more drained, which is the opposite of how it needs to be,” Johnson said. “Just learning to manage the game a different way.”
Johnson also acknowledged that he hit a “learning curve” with extended time at point guard, after previously rotating between the two backcourt positions.
“This time is very beneficial, depending on how you look at it,” Johnson said.
Johnson went back to the bench Monday, with Udrih (neck) returning from a four-game absence.
Luol Deng’s worst fears were unfounded. After his right eye was scratched in Washington, D.C., he was concerned that he might have long-term damage, concerned enough that he consulted with former Duke teammate Jon Scheyer, whose career was curtailed due to an eye injury sustained while playing for the Heat’s summer league team in 2010.
Deng, however, was relieved after consulting with a doctor in Chicago. It was just a bad scratch, one that will heal. So, even with some lingering blurriness, but much less redness, he returned to the lineup Monday after missing just one game. He missed his first four shots before converting an emphatic slam.
Dragic, who missed his seventh game because of a calf injury, ran on the United Center court, and felt no pain. He believes his conditioning has progressed enough for him to play Tuesday in Brooklyn, but the training staff might hold him out until Friday in Milwaukee.
Hassan Whiteside missed a second game in a row with a strained oblique, which limits him as he turns his body. He’s considered day-to-day.
Many fans have wondered why the Heat, struggling so much from long-range, never reached out to local resident Ray Allen.
Actually, Miami has. Often enough to know his stance.
It was an open organizational secret that Allen wasn’t happy during the 2013-14 season, but Miami still extended a standing offer to return when it ended, and gauged his interest again as recently as last summer. Yet, even as the 40-year-old posts photos on social media of himself running the streets of South Florida and appears in excellent condition, former teammates and other acquaintances now expect him to remain retired.
Tuesday: Heat at Nets
When, where: 7:30 p.m., Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
TV, radio: Sun Sports; WAXY (790), WAQI (710, Spanish).
Series: Heat 64-46.
Scouting report: The teams have split their two meetings, and Miami's loss at home is among the more regrettable defeats of the season. Brook Lopez is averaging 25.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in the two games — and that was with Hassan Whiteside starting for Miami. Whiteside’s status remains unclear for the Heat in this one because of a strained oblique.