LOS ANGELES -- It’s not just the altitude.
There are other factors as well — logistical complications and scheduling among them —that have combined to vex the Miami Heat whenever it plays regular-season games in Denver. The Heat is 9-16 all-time in Denver but hasn’t won there since Jan.29, 2002.
Since then, an overtime victory for the Heat with Eddie Jones scoring 37 points, it has been a decade of losing (0-10) for the Heat in the Mile High City.
Hard to believe that Jones won in Denver but Dwyane Wade never has.
Wade and the Heat will try to break that streak on Thursday when it plays the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. It’s the second night of a back-to-back for the Heat, which means the task will be doubly more difficult.
Like Wade, Udonis Haslem is winless in Denver as well. Chris Bosh has won once in Denver, back when he was a rookie for the Toronto Raptors. Combined, Wade, Haslem and Bosh are 1-23 against the Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
Bosh has lost so many times in a row in Denver (seven) that he actually forgot about his rookie victory on Wednesday.
“I get another shot,” Bosh said after the Heat’s morning shoot at Staples Center. “It’s always great motivation for us, playing in Denver. It was motivation for us last time, but they still smashed us.”
The Heat was obliterated at Denver by 28 points two years ago. Last season, the Heat lost 117-104 after trailing by just two points at halftime.
“We’ll be battling uphill, but I think we’ll get it done this time,” Bosh said.
Don’t bet on it.
Since the 2006-2007 season, teams are 2-27 at Denver when playing the Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back after traveling from the West Coast. In the past two seasons, teams are 1-13 against the Nuggets in that scenario.
“It’s always tough going from [Los Angeles] to [Denver] back-to-back and switching time zones,” Bosh said. “It’s a longer flight than you think and once you’re in Denver, it’s 45 minutes to the hotel.”
In other words, Bosh head won’t be hitting the pillow in the Heat’s team hotel in Denver until around 4 a.m. on Thursday.
The altitude difference is always used as a crutch, but Bosh says it’s not really a problem after the first quarter. Lack of sleep during a long road trip is the real killer in Denver.
The Heat defeated the Nuggets 119-116 in Miami in the third game of the season. Ray Allen hit the game-winning three-pointer and Bosh finished with 40 points. Another 40-point effort by Bosh might be enough to end the streak.
Bosh is off to his best start to a season since joining the Heat. Entering Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles, Bosh was averaging 20.9 points per game. He last averaged at least 20 points per game in his final season with the Raptors.
“I think it’s a matter of getting more open shots, rolling to the basket, getting a couple dunks, getting to the free-throw line as much as possible and just being efficient with my open looks,” said Bosh, whose mark of .569 shooting is the best on the team. “I’m being aggressive. If I have an open shot, I don’t hesitate to let it go.”
Dwyane Wade did not participate in the Heat’s shootaround Wednesday morning at Staples Center due to a sprained foot and his status for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers was in doubt an hour before tipoff. He started the game against the Clippers after receiving an X-ray on his left around 6:30 p.m. local time.
Wade sprained his left foot in Monday’s win over the Rockets.
“Personally, I think it’s a deep bruise in my foot area, but obviously I’ve got to do my job in getting my X-rays to make sure it’s nothing more than that because it’s on a bone,” Wade said. “Then I’ll come out here and warm up and see if I can put pressure on it.”
Wade turned his foot after stepping on Chris Bosh. He returned in the fourth quarter against the Rockets but did not score in final period despite playing the quarter’s full 12 minutes. He finished the game with 19 points.
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