From the moment fans parked at AmericanAirlines Arena, reminders of Monday’s tragic Boston Marathon bombing couldn’t be missed.
Each car parking under the building got its trunk checked upon entry. The Miami Police Bomb Squad unit dogs, present during playoff games and regular-season games more significant than Wednesday’s, sniffed about. Before the national anthem, the Heat held a moment of silence for the victims.
“It was such a horrifying event,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You can’t come to grips with that kind of horror. Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people in Boston. But we hope our world doesn’t change and go down that road.”
Heat guard Ray Allen, who spent five seasons in Boston, used to wait at the finish line of the marathon, where the bombs went off, to cheer his wife and his mother as they completed the 26.2-mile run around the Boston area. Allen said had he resigned with Boston, they would’ve done the marathon this year.
“We have a family friend that was in there, and she’s in intensive care because she lost her leg,” Allen said.
The Heat used Wednesday morning’s shootaround as more of a practice.
“To review our fundamentals. We still have time to really get into this [the playoffs] mentally, but we focused on our details, particularly our defense,” Spoelstra said.
Juwan Howard’s start Wednesday, in what could be the final regular-season game of his NBA career, was No. 900 for his career.
His first start, during the 1994-95 season, was for a franchise that has changed its name (Bullets to Wizards) and played its home games in an arena that got demolished 11 years ago. The arena also carried a corporate sponsorship of an airline that has changed its name (USAir to USAirways) and is about to be sold.
LeBron James missed the shootaround and game for what Spoelstra called “personal reasons.” James and point guard Mario Chalmers were the Heat’s scratches.
No big deal
When the Heat put The Big 3 together, some pundits projected 70-win seasons and the Heat threatening the 1995-96 Chicago regular-season record of 72 wins.
As overheated as all that seems now, the Heat did close the third season of the Big 3 era not far from 70 wins despite resting its stars down the stretch.
Heat forward Chris Bosh was asked Wednesday morning if there was any disappointment the defending champions didn’t reach 70 wins. Bosh shrugged it off, noting that the Heat started relatively slowly this season as it integrated new players into its rotation.
Heat forward Mike Miller made a free throw in the second quarter. It was his 10th made free throw and 16th attempted free throw of the past two seasons.