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Heat’s Erik Spoelstra misses Dwyane Wade, marvels at LeBron’s ‘ridiculous’ start

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Seeing Dwyane Wade sit courtside was a comfort, Erik Spoelstra said, but it could be better.Wade was wearing a red and black track suit, sitting on the baseline near the Miami Heat bench. Retirement in Los Angeles seems to suit him, if not his former team.“If you print this, I’d rather have him in uniform,” Spoelstra deadpanned to the press prior to tip-off. “That’d be good, right? He’s gonna sit right by our bench. So I’m gonna let him take one of our huddles.”As things stand, the Heat have a pretty good team anyway, getting out to a 6-2 start entering Friday night’s game against the Lakers. With new star Jimmy Butler anchoring the franchise, Spoelstra still has a shooting guard to lean on. One of the things he most admires about James is his commitment to his physical well-being, which is why he’s not surprised that the 34-year-old star is still near the top of his game in his 17th season. Spoelstra called James’ willingness to work “uncommon,” which explains how James has managed to stay so youthful even long after his Heat days.Spoelstra was interested, too, in the pairing James is enjoying with Anthony Davis, who he said makes a very natural fit. James has a way of blending into what a roster needs, but Spoelstra believes Davis’ game actually fits James’ natural skills well.“I think that’s part of his genius, is he’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be to bring out the best out of the other players,” he said. “And I think his connection with (Chris Bosh) was pretty natural, and this just fits like a glove with LeBron and A.D., the way they work together. Their skill sets complement each other.”BRIEFLYVeteran point guard Rajon Rondo missed his eighth consecutive game to start the season with a calf strain. The Lakers were planning to ramp up Rondo’s activity in practice this week, but they listed him as doubtful following Thursday’s practice. The team did not shoot around on Friday morning before the game. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Related Articles Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWade visited with the team on Friday afternoon, squeezing in facetime with Miami and his old team after they flew in the night before from Phoenix. He’s moved residences to Southern California, and his son Zaire Wade is a senior standout on the court for Sierra Canyon High alongside Bronny James.While Spoelstra knew Wade would come in support of the Heat, with whom he enjoyed 15 NBA seasons, the Miami coach also knew Wade would likely cheer on his close friend James, at least a little bit.“Ah look, I get it,” he said. “But LeBron always looked better in red and black.”The LeBron in purple and gold isn’t so bad, either, Spoelstra admitted. Going into the game, James was averaging the highest assist total (11.1) of his career and leading the league. Spoelstra coached James to two of his four league MVP awards, but he was more scorer than dish-giver for his best Heat teams.“Every year he’s doing something that’s just ridiculous, that you can’t explain,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why he’s the best player in the game.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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