Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/16/11
MIAMI - So you thought this was just going to be a fun scrimmage? Well, in the fourth quarter, when there was a running clock in order to get matters over more quickly, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem crashed into unknown rookie Terrel Harris to stop a layup. "Was that a foul?" Haslem said. "I don't know if that was a foul." It was a serious night Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena when the Miami Heat held its Red & Black Game even if the teams were clad in red and white. With training camps condensed into a two-week period after a five-month lockout, there's not much time for frivolity. In the waning moments of the fourth quarter, which was just eight minutes after the first three had been the standard 12, Heat small forward LeBron James was still on the court. Hey, everybody has to work plenty to get in shape for the Dec. 25 regular-season opener at Dallas. The game was open to season-ticket holders, who filled most of the lower bowl, and was televised on Sun Sports. Fans saw Haslem, who scored a game-high 23 points, looking very good as he works his way back fully from last season's foot injury. They saw rookie point guard Norris Cole impress, scoring 21 points. And, of course, they saw the Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade andChris Bosh doing what they do. But there was a twist. While you were away for six months since the Heat last played a game, they engaged in a bit of a role reversal. It was called a lockout but nobody put locks on the gyms where James and Bosh worked out. James honed his post game, including spending time with Hakeem Olajuwon. And Bosh shot 3-pointers as if he were practicing for the long-distance shootout during All-Star Weekend. "Yeah, I think with the talent that we have, I think that we can be interchangeable," Bosh said about the role reversal between the two. "It's all about getting better and it's all about adding things to my game. Like LeBron has been working on his post game all summer, and he's going to get down in there. I've been working on my perimeter game." So what is Wade doing differently this season? "Dwyane can already do everything," Bosh said. Bosh shot 1-of-2 from 3-point range Thursday after going just 6 of 25 last season. He's vowing to use that shot plenty this season, and coach Erik Spoelstra is fine with that. "That is something (Bosh) has been working on, and I like it," Spoelstra said. "He's looked terrific in practice. That top of the key 3 is a shot he can make." The Big Three combined for 50 points Thursday in a game in which the scoreboard was reset to zero at the start of each quarter. James had 21, Wade 17 and Bosh scored 12. James showed off some of his new low-post moves. And he revealed one reasonhe's trying to become more of a presence down there after being more of a perimeter guy most of his career. "I never had to do it," said James, who played his first seven years with the Cavaliers before moving on to Miami in the summer of 2010. "In Cleveland, in the past, I stepped out on the perimeter because I had to. I felt like I had to to handle the ball a lot. But when you have multiple ballhanders here in Norris and (Mario Chalmers), and, of course, D-Wade, I can switch my focus to something else. Once I see that I can be more dominant, I help myself out to help our team even more.'' There will be plenty of time to discuss James' post play this season. But back up for a minute. When James was talking about ballhandlers on the Heat, he mentioned Cole's name first. This is aplayer who played in front of more fans at a scrimmage Thursday than he did in a number of college games at Cleveland State. "He can play," Wade said flatly. Cole sure did Thursday. He had six rebounds, four assists, three steals and shot 2 of 3 from 3-point range. "I felt like I got better (Thursday) and that we got better," Cole said. If Cole, taken with the No. 28 pick last June, turns out to be a rookie surprise, that's not good news for Heat foes. Point guard has been believed to be one of Miami's weak spots.Well, Mario Chalmers, whom Spoelstra said remains the starter, looked rather weak Thursday. Fresh off signing a three-year, 12 million contract, Chalmers did little in the scrimmage, scoring nine points on 2-of-8 shooting. No such surprises emergedat center, the other sore spot on the team. Joel Anthony remains the starter by default. Center Eddy Curry sat out the scrimmage due to a hip injury. Also out were free agent Shane Battier, who has a left quad strain that shouldn't keep him out too long, and guards Eddie House (knee) and Mike Miller (hernia), who will miss all of training camp. But back with a vengeance is Haslem, who missed 69 games last season with a torn ligament in his left foot. He returned against Chicago for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals last May and played well. But he said he still never felt right the rest of the playoffs. He is right now. Haslem also had eight rebounds. "I feel 100 percent better, basically," Haslem said of his foot having healed since Miami last played June 12 in Game 6 of a 4-2 Finals loss to Dallas. Haslem was feeling a lot better than Harris did after the veteran power forward clobbered Harris while stopping a layup. Harris is a free agent from Oklahoma State who doesn't figure to make the team. "Every night he goes out there with a chip on his shoulder no matter what he's doing," Wade of Haslem. That feeling, though, is quite prevalent on the Heat. Wade has said the season is a "bust" if Miami doesn't win the title. Meanwhile, Haslem will bust the chops of anybody who thinks he can get an uncontested layup. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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