Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/28/12
MIAMI -- A week earlier, Miami players discussed how they liked being under the radar. Former President Bill Clinton was talking about going to a Heat game and nearly all the questions he got were about New York sensation Jeremy Lin. My, how things have changed. The Heat is back on the radar," Miami guard Dwyane Wade declared after Tuesdays practice, the teams first one after the All-Star break. Part of that has to do with the Heat dismantling the Lin show by holding the guard to 1-of-11 shooting and 8 points in a 102-88 win last Thursday. And part of that has to do with the Heats two biggest stars each having controversial All-Star moments. Wade had a hard foul on Kobe Bryant in the third quarter Sunday in Orlando, resulting in Bryant suffering a nasal fracture. Wade said he has apologized to Bryant but doesnt deny the incident is sure to spice up Sundays game between the teams in Los Angeles. From the standpoint of coverage, media attention, yeah, it makes it interesting," Wade said. From a different standpoint, also interesting is the criticism Heat forward LeBron James received following his decision in the waning seconds to pass rather than shoot with his East team trailing 151-149. James threw the ball way, and his team ended up losing 152-149 to the West. Never mind James had 36 points in the game and tied an All-Star record with six 3-pointers. Never mind he had led the East back from a 21-point second-half deficit, hitting nine straight shots at one point. I dont really even have an answer for it, honestly," James said Tuesday about the latest criticism he has received. Is it something new? Is that something new?" Nevertheless, the Heat are back in the spotlight. It comes as they prepare for a three-game trip that takes them to Portland on Thursday, Utah on Friday and into the Lakers den Sunday. The third one will be the biggee. Never mind if the Heat, who have won eight straight games, all by double digits, show up Sunday with a 10-game winning streak. The talk coming in will be about Wades hard foul on Bryant. It was already spicy enough," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. Now, itll be fun. Itll be something to play on the reels over and over before the game. People like that. They like to tune in. So Im sure it will be pumped up a lot." Bosh was the only member of the Big Three to emerge from Sundays All-Star Game without a controversial moment. Then again, he did describe Wades foul as the hardest hes ever seen in an All-Star Game, although Bosh said there was no ill intent by his teammate. With Bryant going to the basket in the third quarter, Wade wrapped him up with a thud to prevent a basket. Blood came out of Bryants nose but it wasnt known until later it was a nasal fracture. It was unfortunate, obviously," Wade said Tuesday. I would never want to hurt anybody in a game . I sent my apologies (to Bryant). But it was not intentional. If it was something that I did intentional, thats a different story. "I sent him a message (saying) My apologies. Unfortunately, it happened to him. But thats all I can do. He knows its no ill intent on me to do that. Did I take a foul (on purpose)? Yes, I took a foul. So talk about me for taking a foul, but I never wanted that kind of outcome." Bryant and Wade were teammates on the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning outfit and respect each other. While they only have faced each other in the NBA twice a year since 2003-04 and during All-Star Games, both have been quite competive. TNT analyst Reggie Miller criticized Wade on the game broadcast for not immediately apologizing to Bryant after the play. But Wade didnt consider that a valid comment. Reggie doesnt know what was said," Wade said. When I saw his blood, his nose, I was like, Obviously, I didnt try to do that. I dont know if anybody wanted me to get down on my knees in front of the world and do it. I dont have to do that . Like I said, I sent my apologies to Kobe, and I move on from it. Its unfortunate. Its nothing that was ill intent. But this will be the last time I talk about it from this time on." But Wade then was willing to talk about James and the criticisim he has received for his decision to pass. Many of James critics harkened back to how James deferred in the fourth quarters of last springs Finals, which the Heat lost 4-2 to Dallas. Its LeBron. No matter what LeBron would have did," Wade said. If he would have missed the shot, they would have said he cant make it. If he would have hit the shot, they would have said, He only can make in an All-Star Game. Hes in a losing situation. I dont really care. He had a great All-Star Game, and if it wasnt for him, we wouldnt even have been in that situation with the way he caught fire." Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also came to James defense. That's an All-Star Game, come on," Spoelstra said in disgust. That's a continuation of the theatre of the absurd . Theres nothing we can do about the extreme exaggeration about everything that happens with our team." Well, there is one thing the Heat, who are tied with Oklahoma City for the NBA's best record at 27-7, can do. At the end of the season, hopefully it ends the right way, and that will be ultimately the only way we can shut people up," Spoelstra said of Miami seeking to win a championship. But the Finals are still 3 months away. And plenty of time will be spent until then with the spotlight shining brightly on Miami. Whether they like it or not, the Heat are back on the radar. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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