Heat: China trip to strengthen team chemistry
Beijing, China (4E Sports) – The Miami Heat insist that the trip to China for a two-game exhibition series is not a vacation but an opportunity to strengthen their team chemistry as they prepare to defend their NBA title.
“Basketball will be the priority,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re trying to manage it as much as we can.”
The Heat arrived in Beijing Monday night after a 14-hour flight. They will play the Los Angeles Clippers in China’s capital city Thursday and Sunday in Shanghai.
Spoelstra said the Heat used the long trip to bond and get to know each other as part of team building.
“We know what our main objective is, and that’s to go over as a team and use that opportunity to get better, to come together as a team,” Heat superstar LeBron James said.
The Heat are not new in exhibition games abroad. During Spoelstra’s first season as coach, the Heat played the New Jersey Nets in a pair of exhibitions in Paris and London in 2008.
Dwyane Wade, who is still working his way back from July arthroscopic knee surgery, said the exhibition games can serve as gauge as to what the team has achieved in training camp.
“You need competitive situations,” Wade said. “You need to be pushed; you need to feel fatigued.”
Forward Chris Bosh echoed Wade’s view, saying losing in exhibition games could waste the momentum gained during training camp.
“Whether it’s preseason or not,” Bosh said. “We want to have the same preparations would we have any other time.”
Like the Heat, the Clippers consider the China journey as a working trip.
“It’s a working trip for us. It’s not a vacation,” coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Del Negro will have his hands full to ensure that new acquisitions Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill, Ryan Hollins and Heat 2012 center Ronny Turiaf can jell with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
“It’ll be a good time to bond, with so many new faces,” Del Negro said. “But we have to go there and get work in. We can’t spend a week there just seeing the sights. We have to get our work in every day.”