MIAMI -- The Miami Heat’s Big Three already are in midseason form when it comes to preseason chemistry. But president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra had no idea the team’s most important trio to this point would be Jay Sabol, Bill Foran and Rey Jaffet.
The work LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have put in on the court through five preseason games pales in comparison to the chemistry the Heat’s head athletic trainer, conditioning coach and rehabilitation specialist have established.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a good thing with the Oct. 26 season opener at Boston approaching as quickly as the revolving door is spinning in Miami’s training room.
James, who missed Wednesday’s game at New Orleans, sat out Friday’s practice to rest his sore right hamstring. Spoelstra said James would likely practice Saturday in preparation for Monday’s preseason game against Charlotte.
Wade, who has missed all but the first 3 minutes, 17 seconds of the Oct. 5 preseason opener, was not with the team Friday and returned to Chicago to attend court hearings in a custody battle for his two young sons.
Carlos Arroyo, Jamaal Magloire, Eddie House and Mario Chalmers also have been on the mend and are in varying stages of recovery.
“We don’t play until Monday, and we’ve got a long ways to the [Oct. 26 season opener at Boston], so I don’t want to rush it,” James said of taking a deliberate approach to returning to the court before the games actually count in the standings. “We’ve got four days between [preseason games], so it’s more precaution than anything.”
Patience continues to overrule panic in the mood around a team that admits it is well behind Eastern Conference rivals Boston and Orlando in development. Those teams are meshing. This Heat team has been M*A*S*H*-ing.
Bosh, one of only two projected starters to play in every preseason game, is concerned about the lack of chemistry the new-look Heat have with 11 days remaining before facing the Celtics. He’s prepared for Miami to be a work in progress.
“I think we’re still going to be able to hit the ground running once we’re 100 percent,” said Bosh, who is averaging 17.2 points per game, shooting 57 percent from the field and somehow avoiding the injury bug that’s been nibbling on his key teammates. “But we’re not going to be able to flow into things. We’re probably going to have to call more plays than usual. But once we’re 100 percent, we’ll have that flow in the game and make it a little easier for [Spoelstra]. He’s not going to have to approach us like we’re [just] getting together. He’ll just put us out there, and we’ll take care of the rest.”
James said he’s not yet sure whether he will play in Monday’s game but remains optimistic that the Heat’s basketball Big Three will eventually outperform the team’s top three training and conditioning specialists in the coming week.
“It’s important we try to get a few things in,” James said. “We’ve got three [preseason games] left. I think it’s important for team chemistry if we can get a game in together, all of us ... like we started off against Detroit. That would be great.”