MIAMI Miami lost its first seven games in 2003-04. But there was plenty of reason for the Heat to believe bad times wouldnt last long.
Dwyane Wade was showing as a rookie he would pan out as the No. 5 pick in the draft. And there was another rookie, one not even drafted, who gave the Heat further reason to salivate.
During those seven Heat losses, forward Udonis Haslem played like a man possessed, averaging 9.1 rebounds. Turns out he was merely following orders.
First thing that Coach (Pat Riley) actually told me when I walked in here is that everybody in this league can score, and the way I was going to make my niche and make this team is to hit the boards and rebound, Haslem said of Riley, the Heat president who stepped down as coach in 2008.
Haslem, who had spent a year in France after getting out of Florida in 2002, has been doing that ever since. And Wednesday against Milwaukee at AmericanAirlines Arena he likely will become the all-time leading rebounder in Heat history.