Tyler Johnson says talk with Wade, Haslem opened his eyes
Help is finally on the way for the short-handed Miami Heat.
The Heat has two perimeter contributors back on the court Tuesday to take on the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Tyler Johnson and Derrick Jones Jr. are both back in action against the Magic after multiple-game absences.
The return of the two rotation players is particularly critical after the Heat’s injury report got a bit longer Sunday, when swingman Rodney McGruder went down with a right ankle injury. Forward James Johnson also missed shootaround Tuesday with an undisclosed illness, but not only were McGruder and Johnson good to go Tuesday, they both joined the starting lineup, accompanying combo guard Josh Richardson, swingman Wayne Ellington and center Hassan Whiteside.
Still, Miami is without guard Goran Dragic and swingman Dion Waiters on Tuesday. The Heat (9-13) ruled out Dragic on Monday as he continues to recover from a right knee injury. Tuesday against Orlando marks the eighth straight game the guard has missed. Waiters has yet to play this season as he recovers from January ankle surgery.
Johnson’s return against the Magic (11-12) could be the more crucial one. The guard had missed six straight games with a right hamstring injury — all coinciding with Dragic’s absence — leaving Miami without two of its most capable point guards. With the two guards out, Richardson took over as the starting point guard, while guard Dwyane Wade also shouldered more of a primary-ballhandler burden.
Jones, on the other hand, gives the Heat another punch of energy in the frontcourt. The small forward missed the past two games also with a right hamstring injury.
On Sunday, Miami had six players log at least 29 minutes in a 102-100 win against the Utah Jazz. Short-handed, the Heat has found a little bit of a groove during this four game homestand and enter Tuesday with back-to-back wins for just the third time this season even as players’ minutes have been sporadic.
“It’s easier said than done,” Wade said. “Some nights some guys are going to be involved and get 10 to 15 shots, and they’ll be feeling good. And then a night or two later you’re not even in the rotation, you may not get that many shots, so it’s definitely not the easiest thing to deal with, but try to put yourself into the team at this part of the season. Let’s put ourselves into the team and whatever’s needed, whatever coach decides, however the game is played, do what you can in your time, in your moments, in your opportunities to help this team win.”