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Wade a game-time decision Friday for shorthanded Heat; Dragic ready to 'be more myself, more attack mode'

ATLANTA -- Dwyane Wade went through shoot around Friday morning at Georgia Tech's practice facility, coach Erik Spoelstra said, but remains a game-time decision for tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Wade, whom the Heat said would meet with the media pregame, said Thursday in Miami he was dealing with soreness in his knee. 

"Going through practice today, behind my knee got a little sore," Wade said Thursday. "So [Thursday's practice] has just been more precaution, not try to make it flare up even more. Do a lot of treatment today, and hopefully be fine tomorrow."

The Heat are already without leading scorer Chris Bosh (blood clot) and center Hassan Whiteside, who is serving a one-game suspension. Right before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, Miami shipped off newly acquired point guard Brian Roberts to Portland and forward Jarnell Stokes to New Orleans in order to get under the luxury tax threshold. Stokes was already released by the Pelicans Friday morning.

So, the Heat (29-24) are essentially down to 10 available players tonight against the Hawks. Being shorthanded, Spoelstra said, is something the Heat got used to anyway in the first half when Goran Dragic and others were out.

"We feel we have a chance regardless of CB and Hassan being out," he said. "That's what we've been dealing with anyway for the last six weeks. We've found ways to win games on the road with guys missing. It's more about your mentality of really showing a collective grit."


If Wade, Miami's second-leading scorer (18.7 points per game) doesn't play Friday, a heavy burden figures to fall on Dragic to score more than he has all season. It already was going to be that way anyway with Bosh out. 

Dragic, averaging just 12.2 points per game (down from 16.6 he averaged last year after being acquired from Phoenix), said Friday he's ready to be more aggressive on the offensive end. 

"Coach wants me to push the ball, try to score more," he said. "It's not only me. It's everybody. [Luol Deng], Gerald [Green]. Bosh gave us 20 points a game, nine rebounds and I don't know how many assists. We need to make it up and just be ourselves, play our game and play good defense like we did in the first 50 games, and now try to find open shots for other guys."

Dragic said he knew the number of his shot attempts were going to go down this season with Bosh back in the lineup (the two never played together last year after Bosh was hospitalized with clots in his lungs). But, Dragic also admitted the offensive system with Bosh, him and Wade was "different than what I expected."

"Of course, when you look my shots went down, my numbers went down. But like I said, I was not worried about that because we were winning," Dragic said. "Of course you need to make everybody happy -- especially CB, D-Wade -- everybody needs to get involved. I was expecting that. I didn't come here to average 25, 20 points a game. I came here just to be in games. Of course now when CB is out, I need to step in and try to be more myself and score."

Dragic has scored 20 points or more only three times this season: in wins over the Magic and Suns and in a loss at home to the Wizards. He's taken at least 10 shots in 32 of his 44 games, but his overall field goal attempts (10.6 per game) were down before the All-Star break compared to last year in the second half when he played with the Heat and Bosh was out (12.4 shots per game).

"Now I can be more myself, more attack mode and try to score," Dragic said of what he'll have to give the Heat with Bosh out. "Like I said, just play, be loose and try to help the team. Before it was different. We had CB. He's an All-Star, D-Wade. There were so many players who could score. We had a system so we had to play like that."

Dragic insists he can play in that system with Wade and Bosh and be effective. He also said he felt like strides were being made as the Heat was nearing the All-Star break. 

> Spoelstra offered no health updates on Bosh, who was in Boston meeting with doctors Thursday.

> What did Spoelstra think of the Heat's moves to shed salary before the trade deadline and get under the luxury tax threshold instead of adding pieces for a playoff run? 

"In terms of the business side of basketball, considering everything, the moves we made yesterday were organizationally responsible," he said. "Those absolutely were responsible to make. That doesn't mean any of those moves are easy. But, considering everything right now, flexibility is very important to us and we have that flexibility."

> With Miami shorthanded in the frontcourt is Amar'e Stoudemire ready to play 40 minutes Friday?

"Man, I haven't played 40 minutes in forever," he said. "I don't know if I've got it in me. We'll see."

Stoudemire hasn't played more than 30 minutes in a game since he was with the Knicks back on Dec. 18, 2014.

Since joining the Heat's starting lineup on Jan. 22, he's averaged 7.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 19.6 minutes in those 10 starts. He hasn't played more than 25 minutes, 36 seconds he gave the Heat in Chicago Jan. 25.





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