Monday 21 August 2017 / 04:59 AM

PLAYOFF PROFILE: GORAN DRAGIC

Miami’s Goran Dragic has caught the eyes of many because of both his phenomenal playoff performance and catching an elbow to the mouth in Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors.

In an attempt to stall a drive by All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, Goran stepped in the path of DeRozan’s Euro-step and took an elbow to the chops. The worst part, Goran got called for a blocking foul on the drive. Processing his third foul of the night while dripping blood into his own hands wasn’t enough to keep Goran down. He went back to the locker room to get stitched up and then drained a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

Unfortunately, the Heat weren’t able to overcome the Raptors’ momentum and lost the game, bringing the series to 1-1. Goran, however, showed a tenacious ferocity finishing the game in OT with 20 points and a mouth full of stitches.

History of A Point Guard Named Goran

Goran Dragic was born in Slovenia on May 6th, 1986 (Happy 30th Birthday, Goran!) and grew up playing soccer, as any European kid does. However, an injury (go figure) forced Goran to switch sports. Basketball was nowhere as big in Eastern Europe as it is in the United States, but Goran idolized greats such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Steve Nash (who would later be his teammate). He would wake up at 3am just to watch NBA games. Goran got his start playing professional basketball at the age of 17 with a Slovenian 2D league in 2003. He would bounce around European club teams, winning the Slovenian League championship in 2008.

Goran decided to enter the NBA draft in 2008 and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs, only to be traded to the Phoenix Suns in an effort to find a replacement for the soon-to-retire Nash. He would play in an amazing comeback against the Spurs in the 2010 Western Conference Semi-finals to help the Suns overcome a 18-point deficit and take a 3-0 series lead by winning the game 110-96.

Goran would later bounce between the Suns and Rockets before landing at his current team, the Miami Heat. Goran’s brother, Zoran, would also join him to play for the Suns and Heat. As of July 2015, Dragic is on a 5-year contract with the Heat, and fans are glad to finally have a point guard like Goran.

Goran Loves to Foul with His Face

It is almost comical the amount of times Goran has taken a limb to the face this season. Well, comical to us watching in the comfort of our living rooms – not so much for the 6’3”, 190-pound Dragic. This is the third time this season Goran’s been stuck in the face with a brutal hit.

In December, he was de-toothed by an elbow from Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford. Keep in mind Horford is 6’10” and 250 pounds. If his elbow comes anywhere near a point guard’s mouth with any velocity, he is guaranteeing some dentist a paycheck in the near future. In April, Goran would lose another tooth in Detroit to Pistons guard Spencer Dinwiddie, with no foul called. Goran would grab the tooth and throw it to the sideline and kept on playing for a couple minutes until Dwyane Wade subbed sub in. After the game, Goran photobombed teammate Joe Johnson’s postgame interview with a big grin, missing a front tooth.

“I’ve lost five teeth,” Dragic says in an interview.

He pushes his nose to the left.

“It was way over here — four bones broken in it,” he says. “I was 16. Even now, when you look at me straight on, my nose goes to the side.

Stitches?

“It’s funny, I’ve got a lot but only on the left side of my face,” he says. “Four, five, six stitches at a time. Only one really bad one. I bumped heads with Mo Williams in Portland…”

He runs a finger down a faded scar above his left eye.

“…and needed 13 stitches outside and eight inside.”

So the black eye Dragic received Tuesday night in the Game 1 win against Toronto? Dragic didn’t even know when he got it. Nor does he really care.

“If I don’t have a black eye, I’m not really playing,” he said.”

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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