Miami Heat Get A Small Breather In The NBA Restart Playoffs Sprint

Shandel Richardson

When the NBA restart began last month in Orlando, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra referred to it as a "sprint."

After cramming in a training camp, teams finished the regular season by playing almost nearly every other day. It's been the same for the postseason.

The Heat at least bought themselves some time by sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The earliest they will play again is Friday.

"It's important for any team," Spoelstra said. "We have some veteran guys and the professionals know how to take care of themselves. But, yeah, we could use a couple days, particularly guys I was extending time. I played Goran (Dragic) a lot of minutes in this series. He was so good it was tough to take him out."

Dragic, 34, averaged 34.3 minutes in the series. The time off should also benefit forwards Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder. Butler missed the second quarter with a shoulder strain before returning in the second half. Crowder is dealing with a sore ankle. 

The break provides both more opportunities for treatment.

"I'll be OK, figure this thing out and do more and more treatment on it every day," Butler said. "[Trainer] Armando Rivas, he's my guy. He always takes great care of me. I'll be fine, rest up and lock in on our next opponent."

The Heat will play either the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks or the No. 8 Orlando Magic in the conference finals. The Bucks lead the series 3-1 and have a chance to close it out Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Regardless, the Heat will be well rested.

"It's critical for us to take care of our bodies right now," Crowder said. "My ankle is flaring up. My ankle is the size of a golf ball right now, so I'm going to take time and try to get my body where it needs to be for another series. I'm sure Jimmy will do the same thing. It's key for us."

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