Justise Winslow is getting closer to returning to action.
Hassan Whiteside, however, still needs time.
While Winslow’s strained left knee wasn’t well enough for him to suit up Saturday night against the Clippers, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Winslow will travel with the team to Atlanta for Miami’s next game Monday against the Hawks.
Spoelstra said, however, that Hassan Whiteside will not travel as he continues to rehab his left knee.
“[Winslow]’s feeling better, but he’s not quite ready to play,” Spoelstra said.
Winslow missed his second consecutive game after he stayed behind in Miami on Friday when the Heat played the Hornets in Charlotte.
Winslow hurt his knee during the team’s recent road trip and was limited to only eight minutes and 32 seconds on Wednesday against the Blazers.
Winslow, who is averaging 6.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season, started 15 consecutive games before he was removed from the starting lineup on Dec. 6 against San Antonio.
Sitting out the Heat’s next two road games would mean Whiteside would miss 11 consecutive games due to the bone bruise in his knee and 16 so far this season.
Whiteside originally sustained a bone bruise on the knee in the Heat’s season opener on Oct. 18 in Orlando that sidelined him for five games. He then sustained another bone bruise on Nov. 22 against the Celtics and played three games before having to sit.
The shorthanded Heat was led on the offensive end by a pair of reserves that pulled off a rare feat in Friday night’s 104-98 victory in Charlotte.
Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson were the top two scorers of their team, scoring 16 points each.
According to Elias, that marked the fifth time this season that a team won a game with its top two scorers coming off the bench (the Grizzlies, Lakers, Spurs, and Clippers have each won one game in this fashion). Over the last three seasons (since 2015-16), the Heat had just one other win of this variety. On March 1 earlier this year, Miami beat Philadelphia with Ellington and Johnson also leading the way in scoring.
Ellington hit 5 of 10 threes, making him 16 for 26 from beyond the arc over his past three games. He entered 14th in the league in three-pointers with 70 and 22nd in accuracy at 42.9 percent.
After missing Wednesday’s game with a migraine, Johnson hit four three-pointers in four attempts — including two big ones during a third-quarter run — and is now 20 for his last 32 on threes.
Johnson entered Saturday night’s game having scored in double figures in seven consecutive games since his scoreless outing in Cleveland and is averaging 16.1 points per game during that span after averaging 9.2 points per game over his first 19. Over his past six games, Johnson has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range with at least four attempts from three each game.
“Those guys are getting a lot more comfortable, both [reserve] units are,” Spoelstra said. “Our offense has trended very nicely in the last five games. Those guys give us an incredible boost of energy. It is not just about their scoring or their three-point shooting, they are playing to their strengths more.”
The Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, acquired veteran guard Alonzo Gee on Friday. Gee, a 6-6, 225-pound wing, has spent eight seasons in the NBA with six different teams. Gee appeared in 13 games last season for the Denver Nuggets, but played only 6.8 minutes per game, averaging 0.8 points.
Gee, who went to high school at Dwyer in Palm Beach Gardens, still has the freedom to sign with any team as the acquisition only pertains to him playing for the Skyforce. For the Heat to sign him and place him on its roster, it would have to create an open spot.