Heat notebook

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade acknowledges knee is more painful

 
WEB VOTE What would be the most attractive matchup in the NBA Finals?

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

Dwyane Wade said before Wednesday’s game that his injured right knee is causing him more pain than the left knee injury that hindered him in last year’s postseason.

This year’s injury is a bone bruise. Last year’s injury involved cartilage in the knee and required arthroscopic surgery in July, forcing him to miss the Olympics.

Despite not having a game the past week, “I feel the same,” Wade said. “Time doesn’t help me right now. It’s unfortunate I’ve had to deal with this thing for two months now.

“When I feel great, I’m going to attack. When I don’t, I know how to be a team player and give of myself for other guys. … Even though my knee isn’t 100 percent, it ain’t gone.”

Maturing

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said he is a more mature player than the one who gave the choke sign to LeBron James during Game 3 of last year’s playoff series.

Stephenson apologized after that incident, and James said at the time: “Lance Stephenson? You want a quote about Lance Stephenson? I’m not even going to give him the time.”

On Wednesday, Stephenson reflected on the incident: “I was trying to be involved in that game, yelling at guys at the free-throw line. I was just trying to get in his head. It was a mistake to be doing that.”

Stephenson has blossomed into a capable starter filling in for Danny Granger, who missed most of the season. Though Larry Bird stepped down as Pacers president last June, Stephenson said he and Bird “talk all the time before games” and Bird offers him tips and “key points” about the opponent.

“For a legend like that to have so much confidence in me let’s me be more confident,” Stephenson said. “He tells me to play smart.”

Early matchups

Among the matchups to open Game 1: David West defending Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert on Udonis Haslem and Paul George on James.

On the other end, Bosh defended West, James defended Stephenson and Dwyane Wade defended George.

With Wade the primary defender, George shot 2 for 11 when the teams met in March. Wade said Tuesday that he and James usually suggest their defensive matchups to coach Erik Spoelstra when it’s not clear-cut.

“Spo trusts us, when it comes to defensive matchups between me and LeBron, I think we decide more so than coach decides,” Wade said. “We kind of look at the matchups and look at some things and we say, ‘OK, you got him now. You got him then.’ It’s kind of a thing between me and him that we do, and Coach obviously trusts us and our decision making.”

This and that

• Pacers coach Frank Vogel, on teams defending James in the open court: “It’s 100 percent impossible one-on-one and 90 percent impossible one-on-two.”

• Battier said before the game: “All year long, people killed us for our rebounding. But turnovers have been the better indicator” of the Heat’s success.

• Battier, 6-8 and 218 pounds, describes defending West, who’s 6-9 and 250 pounds, as “stimulating.” Does he feel it the next day after guarding him in the post? “Anyone who’s 250 pounds, I don’t feel good after playing.”

• James picked up two first-quarter fouls for the first time since Dec. 8.

• The Heat entered with a total of 194 games of conference finals experience. The Pacers entered with one ( Ian Mahinmi).

• The Heat will air the broadcast of Games 3 and 4 in Indianapolis on the videoboard inside AmericanAirlines Arena. Fans interested in attending must register for tickets by logging onto Heat.com and paying a $2 convenience fee per ticket. Tickets will be made available beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday. There will be a $5 parking charge, and there is a limit of eight tickets per person.

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