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Winderman: Without Wade in the lineup, Heat learn nothing from first game

Oct 5, 2010, 11:32 PM EDT

Wade-James_anthem.jpgSo what did the Heat learn Tuesday night, as they unveiled their Big Three in their 105-89 exhibition victory over Detroit?

What they already knew.

And what Erik Spoelstra’s team knows can’t be the rule.

With Dwyane Wade sidelined by a strained right hamstring that could keep him out for two weeks, the Heat had a mere 3 minutes, 17 seconds with LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Wade on the court.

Over that 3:17, the Heat had three turnovers, two baskets and trailed 5-4.

Granted, with actual energy at AmericanAirlines Arena (who knew?), early jitters could have been expected.

But when Wade left, James took control of the offense, even while playing alongside de facto point guards Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers, who rarely got to play as actual point guards.

That also is when Bosh settled in comfortably in the low post, without a shot to that point.

And that’s the rub. The preseason was when the Heat were going to find a way to make this work, especially the chemistry between James and Wade.

The highlight of camp had been the one-on-one between James and Wade during drills. It was worth the price of admission and those endless security waits at the Hurlburt Field Air Force installation.

But that’s not what this is about.

This is about Wade and James and something more than All-Star or Olympic-style play.

For the next four exhibitions, James will do for the Heat what he has done the previous seven years. And he’ll look as good doing it as he did Tuesday.

“I can’t defer,” he said of an approach that could be essential this season. “I’m never in defer mentality. I’m always in attack mode.”

And in the absence of Wade, as the clear-cut secondary option, and the focus of James’ passing, Bosh will load up on his numbers.

But it doesn’t matter.

None of it will matter. For the next two weeks, the Heat will be irrelevant.

Because everything they need to accomplish this season has to be accomplished with Wade working in concert with James.

Tuesday, it was as if LeBron was back in Cleveland.

And he is more than aware there has never been a happy ending there.

For those who had tired of the overkill, enjoy these next two weeks. Because the Heat won’t be the story. Without Wade, they can’t be the story.

 Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

  1. john - Oct 6, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    what they learned is that they are wasting time putting chalmers, and arroyo on the floor. it is clear that james is the point guard; if noone worried about who magic johnson guarded why worry about the vastly superior james? get those scrubs off the floor.
    wade gets his rest for the minor injury. james starts at the point. haslem can play the small forward—he is the best help defender and 15-18 foot shooter on the team. if there is office trouble go to miller.
    there toughest team has james at the point, and haslem at the small forward along with bosh, wade, and pittman.

  2. WhiteLightnin' - Oct 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Ever hear of a paragraph?

  3. pacman18 - Oct 6, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    You know Haslem isn’t a Small Forward right?

  4. john - Oct 6, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    the point is that they are wasting a lot of time messing around when it is clear that james is the leader of this team in talent and temperment—put him at the point. remove the scrubs from the lineup. get miller or haslem on the floor and replace the backup (made starter) anthony and get pittman on the floor as the rebounder and big force inside…basketball-wise pittman is already better than anthony who doe not have a clue of how to play defense and rebound at the same time.
    not rocket science. haslem will adapt. miller will adapt. there best team has james at the point. wade at sg, bosh at pf, pittman at c, and haslem playing small forward with miller, jones, house ready to come in when long shooting is required.

  5. James Katt - Oct 6, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    If James is the point guard, the problem is that he can’t play defense against opposing point guards. He gets burned. Also, he will simply hold onto the ball too long and bog down the offense, just as he did in Cleveland. He massages the ball too long and makes simple passes.
    Magic has 5 championships. Lebron is NOT even comparable to Magic. He has no championship. Magic is a clutch player who made everyone around him better. Lebron is an egocentric player who will bring Wade down.
    Clearly, Miami has problems with defense.
    Unfortunately for them, defense wins championships.
    They will have difficulty against Boston. Boston always plays hard-nosed defense. Miami won’t be able to run against Boston. Boston will eat up Miami.
    They will also have significant problems against the Magic and their defense. Dwight Howard will be undefendable by Miami.
    Miami will also have problems against Chicago. Chicago has depth and talent and youth.
    To say nothing about the Lakers.

  6. terry - Oct 6, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    To state that LeBron James is “vastly superior than Magic” at the point is vastly absurd. Magic was known most of all for the fact that in the stretch when the pressure was on he elevated his game. One of the reasons James is in Miami is that he is NOT the man when the pressure is on. Wade is – Wade is the ONLY one of the three who has a ring to his name.
    In the 21 NBA seasons between the three of them they have ONE ring – 2006 Miami when Wade took over in the finals against Dallas, and even Shaq did what he was told. Wade is the leader, Bosh, James and the rest are the followers.

  7. Chris - Oct 6, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Magic was a one of a kind player, as is LeBron. Stop with the championships bullsyht argument though. Magic played with Kareem, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Mychael Thompson and role players like AC Green and Kurt Rambis. FAR FAR FAR superior to the poo poo platter of players LeBron has had to suffer with. He isn’t the PG though. To make him one would not be good. He cant chase around smaller and quicker players. He can handle the ball more than adequately for a SF or even at the PF position, which creates mismatches. LeBron DOES make his teammates better. He made Mo Williams, Delonte West and Sideshow Bob (Varejao) look like All Stars. He has infinitely more talent now, and his game will evolve as a result.
    Miami’s defense is just fine. Show proof where it isn’t. Miami is a defensive team first, and ranked highly last year with inferior players.
    I would say Boston will present the most matchups but you are dumber than a bag of hammers if you just think they will “eat up Miami”.
    Orlando has Howard at a position of advantage and that’s about it. Maybe Nelson is a better PG than Chalmers or Arroyo. But SG, SF and PF will be dominated by Miami, and their bench is way better. Vinsanity will assist in helping Orlando fail yet again at glory.
    Chicago??? HA!!!!! Talented but unproven. Havne’t seen them take a big leap forward to be worried about them at this point.
    I predict Miami over Lakers in 7 as Kobe puts up a 7 for 31 and sets a record for glaring at his teammates since any loss is their fault.

  8. bballfan - Oct 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    wow chris what a succinct load off poo poo platter, i am just a fan of basketball but i do have to say the way you rated the other teams and seem to put miami above everyone (including the lakers?)
    first off in the preseason game yes they won but against a team that basically was in disarray (detroit) i truly saw no dominance as was predicted before the season even began i saw miami as disfunctional and at times they were even to the point of arguing amonst themselves that they almost imploded, and this was preseason lets face it too many egos on this team one day i predict they will be a good team but its gonna take time and work.
    now as for the other east teams uhm boy can you sell the other teams short boston has upped thier game as has chicago and orlando.
    when it comes to the finals sorry i still think its going to come down to lakers and celtics with teh lakers winning in 6 games, why??? because both teams have the chemistry the experience and the drive to win you do notice i said “team” heat as yet are not a team they area group of highly talented INDIVIDUALS

  9. Sguy2130 - Oct 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Point guards don’t exist in an offense with Lebron James involved.
    Chris, are you serious? “Miami’s defense is just fine. Show proof where it isn’t. Miami is a defensive team first, and ranked highly last year with inferior players.”

  10. john - Oct 6, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    la just lost a game to lowly minn with out kobe. this is preseason. james and bosh score 38pt in barely one half of play while being up by 20 pts at half without wade—the best sg in the game. james is a far better athlete than magic johnson (by far the best point guard ever) who chased little guards his entire point guard career. it is illogical to say that james will not adapt.
    the only significant variable in this season not ending with miami as the champion is injury. boston is old, slow, on the downside of key careers, and living off their past. orlando has one all-star mainly on defense—that’s it. miami will have the best record and thus home court throughout the playoffs. la is attempting to grind its way to the finals four years in a row, and win on another team’s (miami’s) home court. las vegas is correct. miami wins.

  11. I Need To Know - Oct 6, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    How long will it be before Lebron strains his vagina?

  12. non white - Oct 6, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    he has the championship rings and trophies to prove it.Finals M.V.P.

  13. non white - Oct 6, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    He isn’t the PG though. To make him one would not be good. He cant chase around smaller and quicker players. He can handle the ball more than adequately for a SF or even at the PF position, which creates mismatches.
    You’re right he a point forward like PIPPEN.

  14. j geff - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    how many rings he win since shoq left zero…………..

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