After error-filled win, Heat wants clean slate

Pro Basketball

June 15, 2006|By IRA WINDERMAN | IRA WINDERMAN,SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL

MIAMI -- The hope, Gary Payton said, is not created by Tuesday's 98-96 victory.

Instead, the veteran point guard said, it comes from the fact that the best of the Miami Heat has yet to be put on display in these NBA Finals.

"We haven't played a good game for these three games," Payton said, as the Heat looks to even the best-of-seven series in tonight's Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena. "We haven't played a Miami game yet."

For as scintillating as Tuesday's Game 3 comeback was, with guard Dwyane Wade scoring 15 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat essentially fumbled its way to victory.

Miami not only shot 20 of 34 from the foul line, it committed 20 turnovers that led to 28 points by the Mavericks.

The miscues were featured during a 90-minute video session that preceded yesterday's practice, a workout Wade skipped because of an injured left knee, which is not expected to keep him out of tonight's game.

The tape session had everything from center Shaquille O'Neal passing the ball to a referee, to Wade going up into the air and then dropping the ball to his toes, to power forward Udonis Haslem tangling his feet during a key late possession.

"Eleven of the 20 turnovers that we had were unforced," coach Pat Riley said. "That's not counting two moving picks. That's not counting the three three-second violations.

"They were just mindless, careless passes, fumbles, some of the things that we did in transition. Shaq threw it one time down the right side of the court; I don't know who he was throwing it to. Dwyane uncharacteristically was trying to get off the ball when normally he's attacking."

Not only were the passes off, but so was the Heat's timing. While the intentions were noble, the Heat too often searched for better shots at times O'Neal was planted beneath the rim in solid rebounding position.

"The three three-second calls were when another guy should have shot the ball," Riley said. "The ball movement was good, it got to an open shooter, Shaquille was in the lane, he wasn't open, and the ball should have gone up.

"We definitely have to cut down the unforced turnovers. They only had four [of 16] turnovers that they really forced."

Haslem said the Heat continues to adjust to Dallas' penchant for double-teaming O'Neal with 7-footers.

Ira Winderman writes for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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