Michael Beasley played the role of defensive specialist on Friday in Toronto in the final five minutes of the Heat’s victory and on Monday said this is the first time in his professional career that a coach has trusted him.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra inserted Beasley into the game after the Heat blew a 20-point lead.
“It feels good to be trusted by Spo on something other than offense,” Beasley said. “It’s definitely different than what I’m used to.”
Asked when the last time a coach trusted him on the basketball court, Beasley named Frank Martin, his coach at Kansas State.
“Spo has trusted me before but it’s different now because I think my rookie year, Spo had to trust me,” Beasley said. “We didn’t have too many choices. Now, we have a full roster and everyone can contribute. He can put me at the end of the bench and forget about me for 20 games.
“And that’s not him doing it consciously, but we have so many guys that can do so much. So when he calls my name, it speaks a lot. But, like I said, I can’t get complacent. I can’t get comfortable. I gotta keep going.”
Beasley entered Sunday’s game against the Bobcats in the second quarter and played nearly nine minutes. During that time, he led all Heat players with four rebounds to go along with two points.
Beasley’s role is ever changing to begin the season. He played a prominent offensive role against the Cavaliers last week, closed out the game on Friday in Toronto without taking a shot and on Sunday finished with four points, seven rebounds and a steal in 15 minutes.
“With this team, like I said before, and I’ve been screaming all year, I’ve got to find something else to bring to the table,” Beasley said. “It’s not going to be the same thing every night, but it’s got to be something.”
Spoelstra said making Beasley feel like “he was part of our family” was important from the beginning.
“We drafted him and spent a lot of time with him,” Spoelstra said. “We wanted to open up our arms and welcome him back into our family. It was, ‘Hey, come back to the family.’”
Beasley is playing under a non-guaranteed contract for the veteran’s minimum after being bought out by the Phoenix Suns.
Dwyane Wade was concerned slightly before the game about how his knee would respond to finally experiencing the nightly routine of an NBA regular-season schedule. Beginning with the Suns last Wednesday, Wade has played every other night in four consecutive games.
Wade’s knee didn’t respond well to playing in back-to-back games on Nov. 15 and 16 after having OssaTron shock wave therapy this offseason. Side effects of the procedure, including sore tendons and weakness, could last up to six months.
Wade finished with 17 points against the Bobcats, going 6 of 10 from the field.
“I guess we’re going to see after this game,” Wade said before Sunday’s game. “I don’t know sometimes. I’m just going day-to-day and see how I feel when the game starts.
“That back-to-back, obviously, I wish I wouldn’t have played it, but I did. But it did let me see where I was on that back-to-back at the time.”
The Heat’s next back-to-back (Minnesota/Detroit) is on the upcoming road trip.
Here’s an obscure statistic that’s not going to pop up again until Wade’s likely induction into the Hall of Fame. His two blocks in the first half against the Bobcats gave him 676 career swats and the NBA record for most blocked shots by a player 6-4 or shorter.
Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson held the previous record (675) but Wade reached the mark in 421 fewer games. Wade has 676 career blocks in 678 games. The record does not include the postseason and, of course, is anything but official. After all, players’ actual heights have been debated for decades.