Michael Beasley started this preseason at the end of the Heat’s bench. He might not be banished there for long.
After not playing in the Heat’s preseason opener, Beasley entered Game 2 of Miami’s exhibition circuit and proceeded to reel off nine points in five minutes. Beasley’s spark off the bench was one of several promising signs for the Heat on Thursday in a 112-107 victory against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Heat (2-0) plays the Charlotte Bobcats in Kansas City on Friday.
Beasley, who is signed to a nonguaranteed contract after being bought out by the Phoenix Suns this offseason, entered the game with 4:48 left in the third quarter and converted a three-point play less than two minutes later. He then scored on a breakaway for five consecutive points.
“I’m trying to find my way, but still be myself,” Beasley said. “It was fun. It was my first time back, and it felt good to get in there and get up and down.”
Beasley is one of several players competing for minutes this preseason, including James Jones, Rashard Lewis, and Roger Mason Jr. Mason Jr. was impressive in Game 1 on Monday but didn’t play in Detroit. James Jones was4 of 5 from three-point range against the Pistons and is now 6 of 9 from three-point range this preseason. Jones’ fourth three-pointer gave the Heat a 100-89 lead with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter.
“I do what coach asks me to do,” Jones said. “I’m a player. We all understand our roles and the role coach wants for us.”
While Beasley’s contributions were a surprise, it’s starting to become commonplace for Chris Bosh to lead the Heat in scoring. He finished with 28 points on Thursday after leading the Heat with 21 points on Monday. Bosh was 12 of 16 from the field, 1 of 1 from three-point range and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line.
“He’s one of the best shooters in this league,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Beasley provided a blast from the past and Bosh appeared to be in midseason form, but it was Dwyane Wade’s confidence going to the basket that might have been the most encouraging thing to come out of the game. Wade, who did not play on Monday, made his preseason debut and played with a quickness he lacked in the 2013 postseason. He had eight points on seven shots to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
“You saw his quick bursts,” Spoelstra said. “His rhythm and timing, that will come. The explosiveness is what we’re all very encouraged by seeing.”
LeBron James still might be feeling the effects of training camp. He missed an alley-oop dunk attempt from Wade in the first quarter. Earlier this week he complained of tired legs and said his vertical leaping ability was limited. James had nine points and went 1 of 4 from the field. He was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Norris Cole was the subject of trade rumors earlier this week before the Heat exercised its team option on his contract for next season. Even though the Heat locked up Cole’s contract, he can still be traded. On Wednesday, he seemed unconcerned about the rumor.
“I didn’t think anything of it because I can’t control what goes on in the business aspect of it,” Cole said. “All I can control is what [happens] on the court and how I play.”