Why, yes, that was the Miami Heat going through a full practice Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Amid of whirlwind of travel, holidays, back-to-back games and injuries, it was the first time the Heat held a full practice since Dec. 14. "We tried to take advantage of everything," coach Erik Spoelstra said of what some would have considered an approach counter to the team's grinding reputation. "We had a good mini-break for the holiday and guys were able to spend a little bit of time away from the gym. Some guys were able to just get the needed rest to help with injuries." Then came Thursday, which also was Hassan Whiteside's first full practice with the team since being sidelined for the second time with a bone bruise on his left knee in late November. Whiteside returned in Tuesday's victory over the Orlando Magic. "When you have opportunities to also practice, that also helps our group, just trying to get on the same page," Spoelstra said, with the Heat turning their attention to Friday's game against the Brooklyn Nets at the end of this four-game homestand. "It's good to get Hassan out here in a full practice with the guys. And we'll move forward to [Friday]. Or guys understand how important it is to protect home." With the NBA starting a week earlier this season and reducing the number of back-to-back games, the goal was additional rest for players. The result has been fewer days with players fresh enough to practice, with most days off coming after a night game. Thursday was an exception for the Heat, who also had Wednesday off.
Miami Heat's practices have been an exercise in patience
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Dec 28