Monday, July 15, 2024
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Heat aren’t fazed by lack of believers

MIAMI (AP) – Udonis Haslem started the Miami Heat post-season with an apology. But it wasn’t a real apology.

Haslem, like many other Heat players, is amused by the notion that the number one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs isn’t considered a favourite to win the Eastern Conference title.

Miami doesn’t have an MVP candidate and didn’t have anyone qualify for the top 20 in the league’s scoring race.

“It might not be the most exciting,” Heat captain and 19-year veteran Haslem said of Miami’s 53-29 regular season mark.

“We ain’t got nobody out here scoring 85 points in one game. Ain’t got none of that. But we are winning basketball games collectively as a unit and as a team.

“I’m sorry to everybody in the basketball world that that’s not good enough for you guys, but we’re thankful for the guys that we have and the opportunity that we have to be the number one seed.”

Miami opens the playoffs at home on Sunday afternoon. The Heat expect to have centre Bam Adebayo back and ready for Game 1. He was the only Heat player missing on Wednesday when the team resumed practice after a two-day, players-only, bonding trip to the Bahamas.

“In terms of whether there’s motivation because people are counting us out or not giving us a due respect, each person can translate that on their own,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

It might seem surprising that a team that a few weeks ago had an in-game argument – All-Star forward Jimmy Butler exchanging words with Spoelstra during a time out, then Haslem getting involved in a rather demonstrative way – went on vacation together.

Whatever caused that argument was forgotten by the next day, since players arrived for work the following morning and found Butler and Haslem already in the locker room and carrying on with their usual brand of nonsense.

The Heat insist they’re united. They bicker, and that argument wasn’t the worst dustup the team has experienced this season, but Haslem said that’s all part this team’s DNA.