The Dragon didn’t see much action Monday night, but he breathed plenty of fire in crunch time against his former team.
Plagued by foul trouble most of the night, Goran Dragic scored 10 of his 21 points in the game’s final five minutes to help the host Miami Heat defeat the Phoenix Suns 115-98 in a game marred by scuffles and ejections.
Playing with five fouls in the fourth quarter, Dragic nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with just under five minutes to play to give the Heat a 102-89 lead.
Two minutes later, Dragic scored on a layup and another 3 on consecutive possessions to put the game away. He added another layup for good measure with 1:58 remaining, as the Heat (26-33) earned a season sweep over Phoenix (31-30).
Dragic’s 21 points came in just 14 minutes of playing time.
Markieff Morris, who called out Suns fans for a perceived lack of support after Saturday night’s blowout home loss to the San Antonio Spurs, was ejected early in the third quarter for a hard foul on Dragic.
Minutes later, a scuffle between the Suns’ Alex Len and the Heat’s Hassan Whiteside led to both men being ejected.
Dragic’s heroics and the ejections overshadowed a gritty performance by Suns forward P.J. Tucker, who recorded season highs in points (20) and rebounds (14) Monday.
Here’s a closer look at how the Dragon lit up his former team, by the numbers.
Tucker recorded his third double-double of the season Monday. All three have come since Jan. 28.
All five Suns starters scored in double figures. Markieff Morris had 13 points in 22 minutes before his third-quarter ejection.
Len’s ejection was a shame considering he was having one of his better games in a Suns uniform. The second-year center had 10 points, 11 rebounds and two steals in 27 minutes of action.
Dragic wasn’t the only former Sun to abuse his ex-team Monday. Former Phoenix forward Michael Beasley, whom the Heat signed to a 10-day contract Thursday, scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 26 minutes off the bench.
Whiteside had his way with the Suns before his ejection, notching 17 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) and 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards. He added two blocks and two steals in 26 minutes of game time.
The man the Suns brought in to replace Dragic was ineffective for most of Monday night, as Brandon Knight went just 3-of-12 (25 percent) from the field for the game. He did dish out seven assists, and he went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line for a 13-point evening.
Tyler who? Tyler Johnson, that’s who. The little-used shooting guard came off the bench to score a game-high 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Miami on Monday. He also went 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and had three steals.
Miami’s 39 second-quarter points was its highest point total for any quarter this season.