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Heat limp home to face Hawks

January 18, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

MIAMI (AP) - Chris Bosh shot free throws. LeBron James worked on 40-footers. Dwyane Wade tried a few layups.

The Big 3 left a big void at Miami Heat practice Monday.

"Heat history," Wade said. "There goes some history for you guys. We all missed practice together."

True, Monday marked the first time that Bosh, James and Wade all weren't able to take part in a workout this season; Bosh and James have ankle injuries, and Wade - sidelined for practice on his 29th birthday - has a sore left knee. Combine all that with an ongoing three-game slide, and one may guess there's major worrying going on in the Heat camp these days. Not so.

Wade says he's fine. James wants to play Tuesday against Atlanta, and though it looks like Bosh will sit against the Hawks, tests suggest nothing serious happened when his left ankle rolled on an awkward play in a loss at Chicago Saturday night, a game that ended a 2-3 road trip.

"We're dealing with a little adversity," James said. "We knew it was going to be a tough, probably the toughest, road trip of the season with that many time zones we were going through and the times that we were getting into hotel rooms late at night. We knew it was going to be tough. Did we want to go 5-0? Of course, but we played some good basketball, could have played better at times, but the confidence and the mood hasn't changed."

Nonetheless, a trip that lasted 10 days and where Miami lost two of its three best players to ankle injuries, saw a 13-game road winning streak end and the team fall from the top spot in the Eastern Conference - leaving the Heat a bit drained.

The odd beast that is the NBA schedule is giving them a bit of a break at a great time.

Miami did not play Sunday or Monday. After Tuesday's game with Atlanta, the Heat won't play again until Saturday against Toronto. After that, they don't have another game until a trip to New York to play the Knicks on Jan. 27.

There will be some rest for the weary.

"It's bizarre," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The last road trip was a little bit abnormal as well, crisscrossing the states. Everybody has two or three times during the year where your schedule is a little bit off. You're used to playing in the NBA rhythm of every 48 hours and playing your back-to-backs, and I think that's when we find our best, but right now, this probably comes at a decent time for us."

Monday Miami was just 1 1/2 games behind Boston in the East and still three games clear of Orlando in the Southeast Division. The Celtics and Magic played each other Monday night.



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