The three-pointers started flying before the scrimmage even began.
First, it was Dwyane Wade, who didn’t even play during Wednesday’s intrasquad practice game at AmericanAirlines Arena but still managed to make the first shot of the night. Wade, still recovering from knee surgery, attempted a half-court heave during pregame warm-ups and drained it. After that, his night was over.
Next it was LeBron James’ turn to attempt a half-court shot. James nailed his attempt, too. After that things started to cool down.
The Heat attempted 42 threes between Team Red and Team White, making just 11, and postgame moves inside the paint were almost nonexistent. Clearly, Wednesday night was more about giving back to the fans more than taking the scrimmage seriously.
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“I like the fact that the ball was moving well,” Spoelstra said. “Obviously, it will be a little different during a live game.”
Team Red defeated Team 69-56, but it hardly mattered. Players switched teams throughout the game. The real story of the night wasn’t even on the court. More than 11,000 fans packed the arena’s lower bowl for the glorified practice. The fans were loud and rowdy, booing people who wore opponents’ jerseys and cheering loudly for their defending NBA champions.
“It was definitely surprising to see as many as we had tonight,” James said.
While the Heat’s longest-standing superstar, Wade, took his rest in the team’s first appearance since winning the 2012 NBA championship, Miami newest future Hall of Famer started the scrimmage. It didn’t take long for him to send fans to their feet. Ray Allen, the longtime sharpshooter for the Boston Celtics, drained his first shot attempt for the Heat. It was a three-pointer, of course.
Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers and, before this season, a longtime thorn in the side of the Heat’s defense. Fans rose to their feet in chorus with Allen’s first jumper and started cheering before the shot was even on a downward trajectory.
Allen finished with 13 points, connecting on 3 of 7 three-point attempts.
“We have such a great- shooting team here, and you want to be greedy because you want to shoot it, but it’s also just as equally gratifying when you make that great pass for someone else to get a three,” Allen said.
While the on-court action was exhibition quality, the show in the stands was slightly more intriguing. Heat fans heckled and booed a pair of Celtics fans throughout the game. The commotion was so noticeable — the entire arena was booing — that the players even took notice. One player was wearing a Rajon Rondo jersey and the other was wearing an old Allen jersey.
“I think she thought she was with everybody because she was wearing my jersey, but everybody let her know, like, ‘No, you’ve got to come in here correct,’ ” Allen said. “It was pretty funny. I’m curious how much more of that we’ll get throughout the year.”
Shane Battier and Mike Miller were locked in from three-point range as well. Miller was 3 of 8 from behind the arc, making his first three attempts of the scrimmage, and finished with nine points. Battier was 4 of 7 from distance and had 12 points.
“We’ve got a few three-point shooters this year, so we’re excited about that,” Miller said. “But at the same time our bread and butter is going to be attacking with our big guys, and we just got to make shots to help the out.”