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Blog Entry

Heat are all business as team develops

Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 4:21 pm
 
Heat locker room far from playful, players speak of "sacrifice" often as preseason ramps up towards regular season start.
Posted by Matt Moore


It's preseason. Which means that anything that occurs needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of softball. But there was an overriding feeling you could take from the Heat locker room last Friday, their second preseason game in Kansas City against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If what we're seeing in preseason is any indication, things will not be the same as they were in Cleveland.

Oh, James will still be there. He'll still be torching defenses that are literally powerless to stop him, whipping passes to teammates who now might actually catch and finish off of them. And the egocentricity will still be there. Of that you can be sure. In Kansas City, James' locker room was closest to the door at the furthest edge, not atypical for an NBA starter. Dwyane Wade, out with a hamstring injury, occupied the other end of the bracket. But it was James, only speaking to reporters for a precious few minutes (it is just a preseason game in KC, after all) who loomed. His gear spread out, occasionally shouting rap lyrics as he listened to those gold Dre headphones.

The biggest difference between this Heat locker room and what we saw in Cleveland, though, may be in attitude. The Cavs were consistently discussed as being very loose, very easy going, always joking. The bench famously danced to their opponents' misfortune . Many found it disrespectful, some found it unprofessional. It's possible that the Heat could turn into the same happy go-lucky bunch when they get to know one another better, when there aren't kids scrapping for a final roster spot on a team that could net them a championship their first year in. But there was a very clear sense of the tone of the Heat both in the locker room and on the floor, best summed up by Udonis Haslem before the game.

"From Day 1," Haslem said, "when everyone started to make sacrifices to be a part of this, we understood what it's all about. It's all about business, and everyone coming together for a common goal, to try and win a championship."

That much was clear, even in a preseason game in a non-NBA city. The players aren't robots, it's not a taciturn feel to them when they're on the floor or in the back. Dwyane Wade hung Udonis Haslem's shirt and jeans from a ceiling fan after the game for crying out loud (another indication it is still very much Wade's locker room, despite LeBron's looming presence). Business is probably the most outstanding theme from the sense you take away from this team. Despite the distractions, despite the egos, despite "The Decision," this team focused on executing business. It may have been all fun and games over the summer or in previous years, but the backlash has forged in this team a determination mentally that's been apparent in their brief time on the court. Chris Bosh, after the Heat victory in which he scored 23 points, primarily from the attention drawn by LeBron, also spoke to the level of intensity that's already present with the Heat.

"It is all business," Bosh said. "Everything we do is professional. We handle everything in a professional manner. We practice extremely hard. We work hard in the weight room, in the training room, to prepare us the right way to play. That's the nature of the Heat organization. I think everyone has accepted it and we have that in the back of our minds every time, that we have a lot of expectations on us. And in order to fulfill those expectations we're going to have to work hard and be professional and make sure we get something done and make progress every day."

Bosh said he got over the excitement of playing with Wade and James in training camp. "Once it was business as usual" it was "natural." You have to wonder that in the middle of all the rumored "glorification" of the free agents, if this was the real secret of Pat Riley's success, explaining that his approach is to be professional and reach your goals. Instead of discussions about earning a billion dollars, or playing in this or that city, Riley's approach paid off and so far, it seems to have taken hold. The word sacrifice is spoken often by the Heat, from role players all the way up to the superstars. It's odd to hear it from them after a summer of so many people calling them selfish for leaving their respective teams. But they're very much dedicated to at least talking about it. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that all three of the Triad superstars came in knowing the sacrifice they were going to have to make. Whether that will translate to the floor and locker room is another question that can only be answered by the grind of the regular season, but it can't be denied that the idea is on their mind. And for now, the team itself hasn't allowed many outside influences to start creeping in.

Two people I talked to close to the situation said that as of yet, James' entourage haven't become integrated with the Heat's organization. They are present, but not overt as some feared they would be. Then again, this is October 11th, not February or April, and things are very much different now than how they will be then. The challenge for the Heat will be to keep themselves invested in that business approach, in the intensity Haslem spoke of, while not grinding themselves into nothing. Maybe simply pulling pranks on teammates like Wade's tilt-a-whirl of Haslem's jeans will keep the team loose enough while it focuses on taking its energy out on the critics who doubt them.

One way or another, this season is setting itself up to reveal a lot not only about LeBron James and his legacy, but about this group of professionals the Heat have surrounded the Triad with. One thing's for sure, with all the hype, talent, attention, criticism and expectations they'll face this year, and despite what they may tell reporters, it won't be business as usual.


Comments

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:07 am
 

Heat are all business as team develops

Looks at the rosters and it is easy to see that Cavaliers were not better than Boston last year. Other than small forward, Boston had the edge at every position, had the better bench and the better coach.

Gator:  If Boston's roster was so much better than the Cavs then why did the Cavs have the number one seed in the playoffs.  Did Orlando have a better roster in 2009 as well?  Quit making excuses for the bum because he can't lead a team come playoff time.  Boston and LA will abuse the Heat in a seven game series.  The Heat need to start worrying about all of these tight hamstrings that are suddenly occurring.  Maybe the big three should stop doing stage dancing and patting themselves on the back. 



Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:09 am
 

Heat are all business as team develops

I'm not a Heat fan but I know basketball and this team has a chance of winning 70+ games. Its hard to analyze how all the parts will mesh together hence the need to be skeptical. However, if you just analyze the parts you will see how good this team can be. There is too much talent to not win. People refuse to understand the fact that their is not just 1 to go guy but 3 players that can take over if the other is having a bad game.

If player 1 is not playing well, he has player 2 and player 3 to step up....now replace "player #" with James, Wade or Bosh in any order and you have a near undefeatable opponent. The Heats biggest problem this year is going to be injuries.



Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2010 12:47 am
 

Heat are all business as team develops

I am laughing as I read this comment. Calling Bosh the most overrated player in the game tells me either 1. you know nothing about basketball or 2. your just mad that these guys are not on your fav. team. And why would you call them "sellouts," what are they selling out? A chance to create dynasty and make history?

Please leave your ridiculous comments in your head!



Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2010 12:19 am
 

Heat are all business as team develops

Outside of ESPN and Miami, who gives a F about the Heat...  Bosh is the most overrated player in the game.  This is a team full of sellouts, outside of D Wade....  Certainly not to be respected in any way.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:54 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

I don't think the Heat scare either Boston or LA fans.  The two teams have a combined 33 championships.  Championships are won with defense, rebounding, and heart.  Something the Heat lack severely (minus Wade.)  Everyone is tired of LBJ's excuses.  The last two seasons he led his team to the best record in basketball, just to fold under the pressure of playoff basketball.  This year the pressure will be more intense and LeBum will quit once again.

The Lakers and Celtics do not scare the Heat either. They should all have respect for each other. The last two years the Cavaliers with Lebron have lost to better teams. Looks at the rosters and it is easy to see that Cavaliers were not better than Boston last year. Other than small forward, Boston had the edge at every position, had the better bench and the better coach.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:43 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

You gonna have a lot more weakness' than just center.. what about YOUR BENCH.. thats a weakness.. your big 2 and Bosh cant play every minute of every game..

The Heat's bench is pretty decent - Miller, Haslem, Ilgauskas, Chalmers or Arroyo, James Jones, Eddie House, Juwan Howard. Definitely not the best bench, but no where near the worst either. I am guessing you will see a drop in minutes per game for Bosh, James and Wade. Each of them had to carry their respective teams last year. This year they will have help.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:32 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

The people who should worry the most about the new Heat are the nurses at the VD clinic in downtown Miami.Can they keep enough topical cream and latex gloves down there in south beach?

If you stay out of Miami, we won't have to worry about that.



Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2010 9:03 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

You're all a bunch of whiney jealous pinheads. The Heat are unstoppable. I'm a Jazz fan, but I'm smart enough know this Heat team is on a completely different level than any of your pathetic teams, you all know it too, that's why all the tears are flowing. I'm gonna love watching all you dopes cry this season as the Heat win each game by 20 points or more. Let the suffering begin. Jazz in 2011 aloha



Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:55 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

Why wasn't LeBron all business in Cleveland? Oh yeah cuz he is a coward.



Since: Jul 16, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2010 4:33 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

The people who should worry the most about the new Heat are the nurses at the VD clinic in downtown Miami.Can they keep enough topical cream and latex gloves down there in south beach?


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