Heat captain Udonis Haslem had a set of specific instructions for the media when he gave the team the greenlight to share a photo of himself and assistant coach Chris Quinn taken before Tuesday’s practice.
“Spread it worldwide,” Haslem said.
The photo: Haslem, a diehard Miami Hurricanes fan, smiling and forming the symbol of “The U” with his hands while Quinn, a Notre Dame grad, wears a homemade version of the now infamous Turnover Chain while also holding his hands up to form “The U.” It was part of a bet Haslem won Saturday when the Canes destroyed the Irish 41-8 on Saturday.
“I wore it with pride,” Quinn said after taking three days worth of bashing from Haslem. “You know, I’m obviously very loyal to the University of Notre Dame, but I also live in Miami now, so I can be happy for their success.
“[Saturday] was a long night. They were on me from the beginning to the end, and they had the right to do it. We’ll live to fight to another day, though.”
Had the Irish won Haslem, who grew up in Miami, but played college basketball for the Florida Gators, would have had to dress up like a leprachaun and “do the Fighting Irish stance, as well,” Quinn said.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat watched Saturday’s game together in Detroit. He called Quinn, a former college roommate of Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano, a good sport.
“This is three days straight he’s been taking a beating,” Spoelstra said with a smile. “Quinny, he can take a punch. He can laugh at himself no doubt.”
The Hurricanes, ranked No. 2 in the AP poll after Saturday’s win, aren’t scheduled to play the Irish again until 2024 and 2025.
HAPPY TO BE HOME
After going 3-3 on a 10-day road trip, the Heat was happy to be home within familiar confines Tuesday.
“I love being able to see those blue skies right outside our practice window,” Spoelstra said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Miami (6-7) has improved defensively over the last couple of weeks with the return of center Hassan Whiteside, but still has work to do, Spoelstra said.
“We’re plugging away,” Spoelstra said. “Everything is about pushing that rock up the hill and trying to get better each day. We’re up and down, like a lot of teams are in this league. From this road trip, I thought we got better. Certainly I would have liked to have seen one or two better results on that road trip. You get greedy, there’s no doubt it. But in terms of a couple of departments, we improved: one, the connection of being able to handle adversity and being able to come out of it a little stronger, a little more mentally tough. Secondly, our defense is starting to trend in the right direction. It’s not there yet. It never will be there, exactly where I want it. But it’s trending more to our liking in terms of our disposition, physicality, five guys working together to make it tough on the other team. So we just have to keep on moving forward.”
A back-to-back set of games against division-leading Washington (8-5) awaits with the Wizards visiting Wendesday and Miami playing on the road at Capital One Arena on Friday. Point guard Goran Dragic said he always looks forward to facing All-Star point guard John Wall and a good opponent in Washington. Last season, the Heat swept the Wizards 4-0.
“You want to play against the best in the world and you know John Wall is one of those point guards who’s tough to guard,” Dragic said. “But at the same time, you want to see where you’re at. We always match up well with Washington, so hopefully it’s going to be like that and get those two wins.”