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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.


Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2010 5:28 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

Miami will never get past Boston.  Who is going to get rebounds against Boston's bigs?  Boston will have four near seven footers (the two Oneals, Perkins, Garnett, and perhaps a fifth if Rasheed returns.)  The Heat will be pushed around inside, plus Rondo will break down whoever tries to guard him.  I am a Lakers fan.  I hate Boston more than anything.  Yet, I can see the trouble that the Green will cause to the Heat.  LBJ will be lost in the playoffs trying to break down Boston's D.

Since: Oct 6, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2010 5:26 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

Game 1: 35 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds
Game 2: 24 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds
Game 3: 38 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds
Game 4: 22 points, 8 assists, 9 rebounds 
Game 5: 15 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds 
Game 6: 27 points, 10 assists, 19 rebounds

Seems like the Celtics didn't do "a pretty good job stopping him"

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2010 5:13 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

Miami could go 82-0. All you haters wish you had gotten LeBron on your teams but you didn't so now you must see your teams take beatings from our Heat. D-Wade already has a ring and now it is King James turn to get one, actually a few. Wade will be MVP again. Our only weakness is the center position but it really won't matter as we still will go 82-0. 72 Dolphins 17-0 and now Miami Heat 82-0. Miami is the greatest sports city of all time.

Since: Jul 16, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2010 3:31 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

This writer Matt Moore has LeBron's balls banging off his chin at a constant and steady pace.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: October 12, 2010 10:10 am

Heat are all business as team develops

yes but that Celtic team didnt have to also contend with Wade on the wing and Bosh in the post.

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2010 9:49 am

Heat are all business as team develops

I am actually a Detroit Piston fan.

I respect the Celtics, but they won't have the same success this year.  In retrospect they were lucky to be in the finals last year, and then they had some bad luck losing to LA (Perkins in would have been a deal breaker for LA).

Lebron with the players he has around him will be a force.  To say another team other than Miami is the favorite in the East is just being silly.  People just need to start realizing this.  Lebron is the best.  He made it to the finals in the past with scrubs.  Now he has .500 winning percentage talent around him.  This is a no brainer.  Face the truth.  Of course the season must play out, but I keep seeing these Boston fans out there thinking they will not only run with Miami but dominate them.

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2010 9:26 am

Heat are all business as team develops

so I wonder truely in his mind does he regret turning something he took so much joy in, into a business.....If it aint set in yet I bet end of they year losing it will.

Since: Aug 3, 2008
Posted on: October 11, 2010 11:08 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

"He'll still be torching defenses that are literally powerless to stop him"

Not so long ago, a team called the Celtics did a pretty good job stopping him.

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