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Heat’s training camp intensifies on day two

Players log casino time, but still focussed on ‘work’
  • Heat guard Dwayne Wade winds down after a training session. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

  • Heat point guard Norris Cole at practice on Wednesday. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

SHELDON LONGLEY
Guardian Sports Editor
slongley@nasguard.com

Published: Oct 03, 2013

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LeBron James and company got to spend some time in the Atlantis casino on Tuesday night, but that was primarily it, as it was back to work on Wednesday morning with their training camp moved into day two here in The Bahamas.

The two-a-day sessions are being held on a makeshift basketball court inside the Imperial Ballroom of Royal Towers at the Atlantis Resort. The sessions will wrap up today, and the Heat will return to Miami tomorrow. While here, they aren’t venturing much outside of Atlantis, though. Even the session with the approximately 200 Bahamian high school students yesterday was held at the resort on Paradise Island.

As for Tuesday night, James said that they just decided to have a bit of fun in the casino. Hinting that he lost some money, Udonis Haslem joked that he isn’t going back there, and Chris Bosh said that he never made it out of bed, stating that he’s been to The Bahamas before and just decided to go to sleep. In his spare time, Coach Erik Spoelstra said that he just sat by himself on the beach.

There’s no doubt that these guys are having fun in The Bahamas, even though they are here for work.

Reserve guard Norris Cole said that The Bahamas is treating them right, and they appreciate that.

“I love it here. They’ve been very accommodating. They’re open to us, and they’re great hosts,” he said.

Dwyane Wade, who is going into his 11th season, said that it’s great to be in The Bahamas for work, but it’s also good to go out there and have some fun.

“When we get out there for training, we work hard, but it’s great to go and enjoy ourselves on this beautiful island also. We appreciate being down here for these couple days,” said Wade.

As for the second day of training, it was business as usual as the two-time defending NBA Champions went through a number of drills. At one point, Coach Spoelstra delegated Wade to take over as the voice of the morning session.

“Coach understands the kind of team that he has. He wants the players voices to be heard. He doesn’t want his voice to always be the one that is thrown out there,” said Wade. “It’s good, especially for the guys who we are trying to incorporate into the system like [Michael] Beasley and [Greg] Oden. When they see the players being called upon to lead, it makes them feel more comfortable.”

Spoelstra said that it’s good to mix things up, especially when it comes to giving the more senior players the opportunity to lead in practice.

“There voices are more powerful than ours,” said Spoelstra. “Dwyane did some demonstrating and some talking today, and UD [Haslem] did some things. They are the life blood of our system. They know it. We’re making gradual steps in some of the things that we are focussing on. We’re finding different ways to run different drills. Once we get into the season, there won’t be continuous days of detailed work like we have right now, so we have to take advantage of this.”

Haslem has been with the team for the longest, going into his 12th season. He said that they all know their roles, but they still have to go out there and earn another championship. The Heat will open their preseason at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, and will host the Chicago Bulls in the first game of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season on Tuesday October 29. They will be going after their third straight NBA title this year.

“Nobody is giving us anything. We start from scratch right now, so everyone has to come in and earn their minutes,” said Haslem. “We’ll be competing. I love to see D-Wade and Bron going after each other. I like to go after CB (Chris Bosh), and he goes back at me, and Joel [Anthony] and Bird (Chris ‘Birdman’ Anderson) and everyone else. On the court, we’re a family, but behind these doors, we go after each other. Here in The Bahamas, we try to enjoy the sights and the different things, but obviously we’re here to work.”

Bosh reiterated those sentiments.

“We’re here to put in hard work and pay attention to detail. It’s just like any other camp – starting with the basics, putting in our system, refreshing our memory, and then just getting after it and competing,” he said. “We have a unique opportunity where we could hit the ground running every year because we have the same core and we’re able to take the young fellas along with us.”

‘King’ James, the highly touted “best player in the world”, said they have to continue to evolve as a team, building on the success from year to year.

“We can’t be the same team that we were last year. I don’t think that’s good enough to win a championship,” said James. “Obviously, the sets and the way we defend will be the same, but there will be tweaks along the season that will help us more. Today was a great practice. We got a lot of stuff done today, and a lot of guys got better so it was good. There are a lot of bumps and bruises right now – guys working at getting back in shape.”

Reserve guard Norris Cole said that they enjoy going after it in practice, and at the same time, making each other better.

“It was a good day today. We’re just getting used to our movements,” said Cole. “Everyone is giving it their best shot. We believe that only us could stop ourselves. As long as we continue those same habits, and continue to work hard, we feel like we’ll be right there at the end.”

Wade, who simply took over the morning session yesterday, said that they enjoy being around each other and competing with each other.

“We enjoy each other so much. We very rarely get sick of each other,” he said. “Today was a hard day. We worked pretty hard. Obviously training camp breaks your body down, and you have to build it back up but the first few days have been positive. We’re just trying to get our bodies into the shape that we need to. We understand what we’re embarking on. We don’t need to talk about it. We’re just trying to enjoy this moment. We understand the team that we have, but we also understand that we can’t win a championship today or tomorrow. It takes a while. You have to build habits over the course of the season to get to a game seven of the finals and to be able to pull it off. We don’t look too far ahead. We stay within the moment,” he added.

The two-a-day training sessions will wrap up this today over at Atlantis, and the Heat will end their five-day stay in The Bahamas tomorrow.


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