The Miami Heat are 1-0 against the Boston Celtics in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals. Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic are as big a reason for that as any.
On the arm, wrist, and hand of the now-famous Bam Adebayo block that was heard around the world, the Miami Heat were able to sneak out of there with a victory. Although Bam’s block was the play that sealed the deal for the Miami Heat, that wasn’t the sole cause for victory.
A ton of other players made huge plays, such as Jimmy Butler‘s big And-1 basket near the end of the game and each of Tyler Herro’s huge shots to keep us close, but none of them can say they were bigger than what Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic were able to provide.
In the biggest moments of the game, when the Miami Heat needed a bucket in the worst way, these two guys stepped up like no other. Goran Dragic continued to do what he has done all NBA Bubble and postseason long in being the Miami Heat’s go-to guy in crunch moments.
Jae Crowder continued with his clutch shooting, hitting huge three after huge three to bring the Heat back or put them up. You also have to note the toughness and grit that Crowder has brought, that same duo of intangibles he always brings, as well as the immense effort that Goran has brought with him to the Bubble.
We said that if Goran outplayed Kemba Walker, we liked the Miami Heat’s chances in this series. He did on Tuesday, finishing with 29 points, four dimes, and seven rebounds to Kemba’s 19 points, six assists, and three boards.
Jae Crowder finished with 22 points, five boards, and one assist, on 5-9 shooting from deep. That’s the kind of hot shooting he’s been doing since arriving in Miami mid-season.
It is for these reasons, the chemistry they have built with their team, and the fact that this season wasn’t even supposed to be the season, that Pat Riley must bring them both back. With a little Pat Riley magic and some salary cap gymnastics, it’s possible to bring them back and land another huge piece, especially considering that re-signing your own players is a bit more flexible than bringing in outside guys, per the rules of the salary cap.
We have to have them moving forward, as they have been too key to what we have been able to do this year and what we have built as far as going forward. That’s why Pat Riley must find ways to keep Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic down on South Beach with the Miami Heat.