ATLANTA The Miami Heat entered the preseason ready to work. They had a lot to prepare for after winning a title, and a trip to China during the preseason.
Many members of the Heat have spent time in Asia -- this will be LeBron James' ninth time -- and they expect to use the trip to bond and prepare for the season.
We just have to show up and do our job and that's really try to improve as a basketball team but at the same time, the time together helps your team grow, said coach Erik Spoelstra following the Heat's 92-79 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in their first preseason game.
The game, which was highlighted by LeBron's three dunks in three minutes during the opening quarter, helped Miami work into shape. Many on the team were feeling the pace of their first game against, as Shane Battier put it, someone who doesn't know our plays and our personalities.
They'll need it in China, particularly after the 15-hour flight. Spoelstra, a veteran of the long flight, didn't think it would ...