“Don’t Give Up On Me”: Miami Heat Coach Reveals Goran Dragic Begged to Play After Game 1 Injury

Published 10/11/2020, 11:13 PM EDT
Sep 23, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) celebrates after making a three point basket against the Boston Celtics during the second half of game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


After an inspiring run, the Miami Heat ultimately fell short in the end. They lost the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers after taking them to a six-game series. They managed this despite two of their two main players, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, being injured.

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Although Adebayo returned after Game 3, Dragic was unable to play until today. Coach Spoelstra later spoke about the determination of the Slovenian, who was ready to play despite the pain. Spo said, “He [Dragic] said, ‘Coach don’t give up on me in this series. I’ll find my way back.’ I talked to the trainers and they said ‘No chance.’ But he just kept begging everyone to play…He wanted to do it for his teammates.”

Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson said, “Dragic texted Spo at 4:15 a.m. after Game 1 and said ‘don’t give up on me in this series.'” Dragic was begging to play and was willing to withstand the pain for the team.

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Sep 30, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) shoots the ball against Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) during the second quarter in game one of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Goran Dragic: The warrior Miami Heat needed in the Finals

Before the Finals started, Dragic was the Heat’s top scorer. He was averaging 20.9 points while playing almost 35 minutes per game. Throughout the regular season, Dragic came off the bench and started only 3/59 games. But this strategic change to start with him instead of Nunn worked out splendidly for the Heat.

Dragic was consistently getting the team buckets, and the Heat missed this after he got injured in Game 1. After missing four games, he played tonight through extreme pain, with a plantar fascia tear in his left foot. In the 18 minutes he played tonight, he scored just five points off 2/8 shooting, but he proved what a warrior he was for the team.

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Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic passes the ball during warmups before game six of the 2020 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Without his contribution, the Heat might not have made the Finals. If they had had him for the whole series, the script could have been different. But unfortunately, that didn’t go to plan, and the Heat’s amazing playoff run was halted by the Lakers.

 

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Sep 23, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) and guard Goran Dragic (facing camera) embrace as forward Bam Adebayo (13) looks on after defeating the Boston Celtics in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A free agent in the upcoming off-season, Dragic might end up re-signing on a cheap deal. The young Heat team look like they will be contending for the years to come and having Dragic’s veteran presence on the roster will be a major boost for them.

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Aaron Mathew

1635 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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