Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow decided to spend a free night Saturday doing something they normally don’t ever have time for – drop in on an NBA game as fans.
Wearing sweaters with hoodies to help conceal their identities, Dragic and Winslow made the short walk over from the team’s hotel during halftime of the Thunder’s 112-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves and watched the second half of the game to its conclusion.
“It was boring,” Dragic said of his first NBA fan experience. “I’d rather be on the court playing.”
Dragic (6-3, 190) said he never has trouble going out in Miami because very few people recognize him. Winslow, though, who is 6-7, 225 pounds, made sure to keep his hoodie on throughout the game.
“I’m short, skinny, nobody thinks I’m an NBA player anyway,” Dragic said. “They did recognize us after the game, though. Some kid was like ’Oh.’ But we ran off.”
If Dragic took one thing away from the game it was to get back on defense to make sure Russell Westbrook doesn’t eat them alive.
Westbrook, the NBA’s third-leading scorer, leads the league with 8.8 fastbreak points per game and 7.3 points off turnovers. Though he’s shooting only 44.3 percent from the field, Westbrook is shooting 41.2 percent from three-point range and getting to the free throw line 11.3 times per game, fourth-most in the league.
“We just need to get back and try to stay in front, not one-on-one,” Dragic said of the Heat’s defensive game-plan against Westbrook. “We need to shrink the floor, the whole team. But he’s still going to get inside the paint. He’s just a freak of nature. He’s so quick and so athletic. We just need to make it tough for him. Like Golden State did that last game. Of course he’s such a good player he’s going to get his numbers, but we need to eliminate those other guys too. I think that’s the key, those other guys.”
Dion Waiters, who is playing against his former team Monday night, called Westbrook “a killer, a dog.”
“He’s a guy that plays extremely hard. He’s not going to let up,” Waiters said. “And he keeps pressure on the defense. That’s what makes him really good, just always playing with that chip on his shoulder. And I know he plays every game like it’s his last, just by being around and working with him. I know. So it’s all those type of things. He’s a professional, a guy that comes in and he’s a guy that does everything the same way, he don’t change anything. He’s got a routine. First one in the gym, first one in team meetings and things like that. He’s just a professional, a true professional that I learned a lot from.”