Heat notebook

Miami Heat’s LeBron James had ‘incentive’ to play against Pacers

 
 
LeBron James played Wednesday night despite a sore left ankle. ‘I love games like this and I would hate to sit this game out, so I’m here,’ he said.
LeBron James played Wednesday night despite a sore left ankle. ‘I love games like this and I would hate to sit this game out, so I’m here,’ he said.
Hector Gabino / el Nuevo Herald

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

The decision for LeBron James to play against the Pacers came just a few minutes before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was required to turn in his pregame lineup card.

After two straight days of treatment on his sprained left ankle, James met with Spoelstra and the Heat’s training staff 45 minutes before tipoff and the group decided there wasn’t a risk of further injury. James rolled his ankle in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz on Monday.

“I’m nowhere near 100 percent … but I’m good enough where I can be productive,” James said. “If I felt like I was going to hurt the team tonight, I wouldn’t be playing.”

In the past, James has missed games two days after twisting his ankle, but he admitted he had extra “incentive” to play against the Pacers despite lingering soreness. The Heat trailed the Pacers by two games in the loss column of the Eastern Conference standings entering the game.

“I love games like this and I would hate to sit this game out, so I’m here,” James said.

James started the game defensively on Pacers forward Paul George, but picked up two fouls in the first quarter. The second foul, a hand-check call on Lance Stephenson, sent James to the bench for Rashard Lewis with 2:59 left in the first period and the Heat trailing the Pacers 19-16.

“If I’m in the lineup, I don’t think Spo can keep me off him,” James said of guarding George before the game. “I love the individual matchup, and as much I could I was trying to be on him. I had a questionable call that kind of took me off him and I couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to, but he’s a very good player.

“His ball handling, his shooting, his confidence has made him into the player he is today, so I love the matchup.”

James checked back in less than two minutes into the second quarter with the Pacers leading 34-24.

The hunted

Dwyane Wade was asked before the game whether he can relate to the Pacers’ focus on winning the East, considering the Heat couldn’t get past the Pistons early in Wade’s career.

“When you’re the team that’s chasing and you’re the hunter, obviously, you focus on it a lot more,” Wade said. “I think it’s a little different for us. We respect every team that we play, especially great teams like the Pacers. But their mentality is they want to beat the Heat. Our mentality is we got to take care of the whole league.

“It’s just a different kind of mindset that we have to deal with than they would. But they feel like we’re the biggest challenge and who they want to focus on, and rightfully so. We’ve been there before. We understand their mindset and they’re going to give us everything. All the games we play in the regular season and the playoffs, it’s going to be a great battle every time.”

Etc.

• Pacers coach Frank Vogel missed Wednesday morning’s shootaround with an apparent case of food poisoning, according to the team. Vogel coached from the bench during the game, however.

•  Shane Battier on defending Pacers center Roy Hibbert: “When you deal with size, you have to be really definitive in your rotations and your defensive movements. That’s the biggest weakness of being a smaller team. You’re just … at the end of the day, Roy Hibbert is 7-2, and you have to mitigate that with great awareness and sharpness in what you’re trying to accomplish defensively.”

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

  •  
FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

  •  
Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.

    Doral

    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category