The Knicks entered this season with rookie coach Derek Fisher and a new big name general manager, former coach Phil Jackson, moving the same pieces around. Sunday will be the first time the Heat see this year’s model of the Knicks live.
That interests Heat guard Dwyane Wade not.
“We don’t spend too much time figuring out how another team’s coming along or not coming along,” said Wade, who expects to play Sunday after missing seven games with a hamstring injury. “We’ve just got to figure out what we can do to get the win and move on.”
Understand, that doesn’t mean Wade considers the Knicks unworthy of his attention. In fact, they’re one of the teams he’ll check out when he’s watching basketball for fun, not profit.
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“The League Pass is one of the best things, right?” Wade said. “For me, when there’s a day with a lot of games on, I look at my friends play — I’m going to look at Cleveland, see what Bron’s [LeBron James] doing. I’m going to look at the Clippers, see what CP’s [Chris Paul] doing. I’m going to look at New York to see what Melo’s [Carmelo Anthony] doing. Detroit to see Caron Butler. Wherever your close friends are.
“Then you’ve got certain teams that you look at from the standpoint of a great team, like San Antonio Spurs, Memphis. Just being a fan of the game, you look at each game for different reasons.”
Heat guard Mario Chalmers’ favorite team to watch as a fan is his college team, Kansas.
As far as the NBA, though, “Cleveland, Washington. Most teams that I know people with, I’ve got close relationships with like [Washington’s] John Wall, [Cleveland’s] Kyrie [Irving], of course, Bron. Still got a close relationship with them. [The Clippers’] Jamal Crawford, CP. I just watch to see how they’re doing.”
Not all athletes watch their sport for fun. Some don’t care to do so. Some just can’t turn off the athlete mind.
“I don’t know if I do anything with basketball for fun,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “It’s all fun, but it’s work, too. I’ve learned how to watch it just to watch it. Trust my brain that it’s going to record what it needs to record. I like to watch teams that move the ball well. Different systems.”
Bosh said he doesn’t watch many teams — West Coast games catch him on the verge of sleep and he feels many East teams remain in formative stages. Like Wade, Bosh also named San Antonio, which the Heat faced the past two seasons in the NBA Finals, as a fun watch because of the Spurs ball movement.
“We’re all sick. The worst invention for all of us is the NBA league package,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Because we all say when we leave work, ‘I’m going to do my work, then for a pocket of a few hours, I’m going to get away from it.’ As soon as you eat dinner, it’s ‘Oh, wow, this game’s on, this game’s on.’ As soon as you turn on the TV, before you know it, people you’re with are looking at you, saying, ‘Really? You’re going to turn that game on again.’
“It’s an addiction for all of us. If you know there’s games on, it’s hard to not turn on the TV.”
Heat center Chris Andersen didn’t practice. Point guard Norris Cole was held out of the contact part of practice with a hand injury, but Spoelstra said he should be fine to play Sunday.
Wade was encouraged that he didn’t feel any worse Saturday morning after a hard Friday practice than he did Friday morning.
“I haven’t been on the court as much. I’ve been in the weight room, running downstairs. Having three days on the court this week is a positive. If all goes well, I get back to playing the way I was before I got injured. But it could be a couple of days before I get my legs up under me.”
Sunday: Heat at Knicks
When/where: 7:30 p.m, Madison Square Garden, New York.
TV/radio: Sun Sports and ESPN; WAXY 790 AM, 104.3 FM, 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: This is the first meeting this season.
Scouting report: The Knicks run the triangle, team president Phil Jackson’s almost clichéd offense by now. … The Heat will be reintegrating Dwyane Wade into the lineup. “They need me to play the way I was before I went out,” he said. “We need Mario Chalmers to keep playing the way he’s playing. Keep being aggressive.” … Chris Bosh said over the next two games, he wanted to see offensive execution, especially under late-game stress.