Kurt Helin

Goran Dragic
Associated Press

Dwyane Wade to Goran Dragic: “Shoot the %$&#@!* ball”

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Goran Dragic has not looked comfortable in Miami all season, rather he has looked hesitant and passive. He is scoring 10.9 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting, which would be his worst marksmanship since his rookie season. He’s dishing out just five assists a game. The Miami Heat offense is basically the same whether he is on the court or not, which is not what you want for a guy you just signed to an $85 million contract last summer.

Dwyane Wade gave Dragic some not-so-subtle advice during the Heat’s eventual win over the Grizzlies Sunday, as reported by Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.

“Shoot the (expletive) ball,” Wade recalled telling Dragic in the third quarter of the Heat‘s 100-97 win over Memphis.

He continued, “It’s simple. We want him to be aggressive. I know what he was seeing. You get out of rhythm sometimes, but I still want him to be aggressive. When I’m penetrating and I kick to him, be ready to shoot. He needs to hear that we want him to be aggressive and shoot the ball at the right times. When he’s off the ball, he becomes a scorer. It’s my job. We’ve got a great relationship, and I can talk to him that way.”

The play that set Wade off came with 6:50 left in the third. Wade drove and passed to an open Dragic in the right corner, but Dragic declined the 3-pointer and gave it to Luol Deng on the wing.

“He turned it down and threw it to Lu and we got a bad shot,” Wade said. “I felt like he needed to shoot. Shoot the (expletive) ball. I told him that because we need him to do that. He’s a very good shooter. He needs to have that mentality.”

The problem with Dragic shooting more is he was 3-of-14 from the floor overall and 0-of-3 on corner threes in the contest. Call it confidence, call it a family issue, call it not feeling comfortable next to another ball dominant guard (Wade) and a center who clogs the paint (Hassan Whiteside), call it whatever you want, Dragic is not getting shots he likes and not hitting the ones he takes. Here is his shot chart for the season.

Dragic shot chart

Whatever is going on with Dragic, if the Heat are to become the team that rises out of the crowded second tier of the East – with Chicago, Toronto, Charlotte, Indiana, Atlanta, maybe Boston — they are going to need the $85 million Dragic. Not the one that has spent most of the season looking uncomfortable. And it may be more than just shooting the %$&#@!* ball.

Three Takeaways from NBA Sunday: New starters, same problems in Memphis

Memphis Grizzlies
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It was a quiet Sunday in the NBA, just four games — all with the start times spread out for our friends in Europe. If you decided to spend your day watching the NFL wild car chase — or were just fighting off people attacking you with Snickers bars — here are three things you need to know from a Sunday around the NBA.

1) Grizzlies move Zach Randolph to the bench, still can’t find a win. The Memphis Grizzlies don’t look like a bad team when you see they are 13-12 on the season, but that record overinflates how bad this team has been. Memphis is bottom 10 in both offense and defense, and it has the point differential of an 8-17 team according to Basketball-Reference.com. They recently suffered 20+-point blowouts by the Thunder, Spurs, and Hornets. It’s clear Memphis is not the same team — Marc Gasol has looked a step slow all season, and everyone around him (save for Mario Chalmers after the trade) has seemed to regress. This team needed a change.

Sunday coach Dave Joerger tried to find that jolt by sending Zach Randolph and the struggling Tony Allen to the bench and starting Matt Barnes and Courtney Lee — going small around Marc Gasol. It looked like the lineup might work, Memphis led most of the way and shot 58 percent through three quarters — until an 11-0 run by the Heat to close out the game gave the W to Miami. Despite that result expect to see that starting lineup again — it was +2 for the night and had a net rating of +8.7, and that’s despite the group being out for most of that 11-0 run late. The group shot 40 percent from three, and while the offense wasn’t great it defended well. The lineup deserves more time to see if it can work.

As for Miami, Dwyane Wade helped steal you a win, just take it and run.

2) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are magnificent, that is all Thunder fans need know. We’ve covered this before, but the OKC dynamic duo were at it again Sunday. In a game where the Thunder had to go to overtime to beat the Jazz 104-98, Oklahoma City was +17 when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shared the floor. The duo combined for 56 points, which is 53.9 percent of all the points OKC scored. Just a reminder that having two guys playing well enough both should get in the MVP discussion can erase a lot of mistakes.

3) Westbrook with the inbounds play of the year. We’ve all seen the rare “off the back of the defender” inbounds pass resulting in a layup before, but never anything quite like this — Westbrook goes off the defender for the quick turnaround jumper and nails it.

Watch Dwyane Wade’s jumper ultimately win game for Heat over Grizzlies

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Memphis thought they had a win coming, until the Heat went on an 11-0 run at the end of the game to pull out a 100-97. It was Dwyane Wade with the jumper — Courtney Lee played off him and gave him the midrange, and he paid the price.

This shot came right after Jeff Green — who led Memphis with 26 points on the night — missed a wide-open three that likely would have been the dagger.

Wade finished with 14 points and had eight of those in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 22, and Miami picked up its 13th win of the season (against nine losses).

Durant, Westbrook rally Thunder past Jazz 104-98 in OT

Kevin Durant, Derrick Favors
Associated Press
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 31 points – all but two after halftime – and Oklahoma City rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Utah 104-98 in overtime Sunday night, the Thunder’s second win over the Jazz in a three-day span.

Russell Westbrook added 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Thunder, who have won nine straight home games against Utah dating to the 2010-11 season. Oklahoma City extended its longest winning streak of the season to five games.

Rodney Hood had 23 points, Gordon Hayward scored 22 and Alec Burks added 21 for the Jazz, who fell five games behind first-place Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.

Westbrook scored two baskets in the first 36 seconds of overtime to give the Thunder the lead, and Utah missed its first nine field-goal attempts in the extra period. The Jazz avoided an OT shutout on Hayward’s basket with 8.6 seconds left.

Anthony Davis goes through Pau Gasol for the slam (VIDEO)

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Off the side pick-and-roll, Tyreke Evans gets to the middle of the floor and Derrick Rose has to switch on to Anthony Davis — that’s not going to end well for the Bulls. Pau Gasol recognizes it but is a step or two late in being able to get in a position to do anything about it.

The result is Davis throwing it down and Gasol being the guy who he goes through to do it. It was one of the best highlights from the NBA Saturday night.

The Bulls came back to get the win in this game, 98-94, and Gasol finished with 18 points and 11 boards.