ATLANTA -- Heat guard Dwyane Wade missed Friday’s game with an illness but is expected to play on Sunday in Memphis.
Wade was quarantined to his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton of Atlanta on Friday, missing the Heat’s shoot-around in the morning before being scratched from the lineup before the game. Wade remained at the team hotel during the game.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade missed the game because of a cold. It was Wade’s first missed game this season. The Heat was 14-3 last season without Wade in the lineup. Interestingly enough, Wade missed the Heat’s first game in Atlanta last season as well.
Wade, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem attended a party at a club in Midtown Atlanta on Thursday night. Also at Vanquish nightclub was actor/rapper Common and comedian Kevin Hart. A few photos of the party surfaced on the Internet on Friday with Wade holding a box of Kleenex in his hand.
Mike Miller started in place of Wade, with Ray Allen remaining on the bench as the Heat’s sixth man. Miller had played all of 35 minutes over five games before Friday night.
“Any time you go on the road it’s an opportunity for your team to grow under adverse circumstances away from your comfort of home,” Spoelstra said. “We spend a lot of time together, so you have an opportunity to get better.”
Spoelstra called the firing of Lakers coach Mike Brown “a shame” during his pregame news conference.
“Mike is an excellent coach,” Spoelstra said. “He has proven it. He has got an excellent track record. It’s a shame that it came down to that.”
Spoelstra is no stranger to coaching under the pressure of a media microscope, so he could relate to what Brown was going through as Los Angeles began the season 1-4. That changed Friday when the Lakers fired Brown, of course.
“When you see one of your coaching peers, one of your fraternity not get an opportunity, that’s tough,” Spoelstra said. “We know what this business is like. At the same time, really you just want an opportunity, when you’re coaching, of a full season with health, et cetera, you want all those factors to be right.”
Parallels have been drawn between the start of the Lakers’ season and the beginning of the Heat’s season in 2010. Like the Lakers this season, the Heat was trying to adjust as a team with many new players. Miami began the season 9-8 amid rumors that Spoelstra’s job was in jeopardy. “Looking at our situation, it was something much, much different,” Spoelstra said. “We had patience. The stability comes from Micky [ Arison] and Pat [ Riley]. They were thinking big picture the whole way.
“There wasn’t a panic even when we were 9-8. I felt great confidence from them, but it didn’t needed to be said. All we needed was try to get our hands dirty and get to work and figure out collectively how to get out of that hole.”
The Heat began its six-game road trip red hot, shooting at least 50 percent in four consecutive games. Miami led the NBA in scoring (110.0 points per game) before Friday. With a total of 550 points in its first five games, Miami started the season the second-highest total in franchise history.