Miami Heat Preaseason: Winners and Losers from Week 2
Although they split the games, there were both positives and negatives for the Heat that came out of this trip.
As Miami prepares to defend its title this season, they must look at every opportunity as a chance to improve and better its chances of walking away with another championship at the end of this season.
The roster is far from being 100 percent healthy, but those players out on the court made the best of the unique opportunities presented with them in China as they matched up with one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA.
Winner: Ray Allen
It didn't take long for Ray Allen to prove his worth and demonstrate exactly what he's capable of bringing to Miami, particularly in the first game against the Clippers.
Allen finished with 15 points, including four three-pointers.
As important as it is for Spoelstra to try to incorporate Allen into the offense, a great shooter like Jesus Shuttlesworth will get his regardless.
The thing about Allen is that he does not need the ball in his hands to make plays. He's one of the greatest players we've ever seen move without the ball, along with the likes of Reggie Miller and Richard Hamilton.
The Heat are glad to see him on their side now, but I think it's safe to say Allen is the true winner here. He's now on a team where he's playing behind an All-Star shooting guard, and when Allen is on the court he gets constant open shots.
Not sure a great shooter like him could ask for a better situation.
Winner: Dwyane Wade
Well if you haven't heard by now, Dwyane Wade is now signed to a shoe company in China called Li-Ning. As he prepares to launch his new product worldwide it was important that he made an appearance this past week in Beijing, despite the fact that he's still working his way back from knee surgery.
Wade did not look great out there, but he was feeling good enough to throw down two monster dunks and set LeBron James up for an alley-oop that arguably turned out to be the highlight of both games.
No matter his mediocre play, the crowd still chanted "We Want Wade" as he sat on the bench in the fourth quarter, and he now has the opportunity to really be the face of this shoe company looking to make the next step.
Although Wade struggled in his first game back, the Heat didn't falter too much due to Ray Allen playing behind him. The two can work together to relieve stress on one another. I'd love to see those partner drills in practice. Two of the best competitors we have in the game today.
Loser: Chris Bosh
Let's be honest, Chris Bosh and the Heat's small lineup got exposed against DeAndre Jordan. That's unacceptable.
Both Jordan and Blake Griffin ate up Miami's small frontcourt. Clearly, some things are going to have to change if the Heat hope to go through the entire season starting Bosh at center.
Either Bosh has to bulk up a little or get tougher, or he needs to swallow his pride and understand how hard it will be for him to go through an entire 82-game season playing center for the Heat. That's a lot of banging and bruising to play through as an undersized, finesse player.
Although Bosh played well, it only makes sense for him to have some skeptical thoughts about his play at center for Miami. Yet, he may not have much of a choice.
The small lineup worked during a shorter season and compacted playoff season, but at the end of the day, it's clearly not something Miami should depend on game-in and game-out.
Winner: Norris Cole
Norris Cole got some quality minutes against Chris Paul on Sunday in Beijing due to Mario Chalmers being injured.
Chalmers has been out for a while now with hamstring issues, and even though Cole isn't playing great basketball, many have hinted at the fact that he may indeed be the Heat's starting point guard come regular season.
This is not because he is a better overall player than Chalmers, but maybe has something to do with Spoelstra wanting a little more offensive power coming off the bench. Nevertheless, this is all speculation for now.
Cole finished with six points, three assists, two steals and six turnovers in 25 minutes of play on Sunday. Needless to say he needs to take care of the ball a tad bit more, but the potential is there.
He's winning by default since Chalmers is out, but regardless, he's still winning.
Winner: The Team
The trip to Beijing was meant to do much more than get some more games underneath the team's belt. Instead, trips like these are what brings teams closer as they learn about a culture together, walk the Great Wall of China and visit Shanghai.
Before the team left for the trip, Spoelstra said (via Associated press, h/t espn.com), "You only have these type of opportunities so often," which is very true.
Although each player missed their family and friends, including LeBron James, the guys had no other choice to bond with one another as they prepare to embark on another long NBA season.
China is slowly but surely becoming a great atmosphere for NBA basketball, and the Miami Heat were fortunate enough to experience it first-hand as a team. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of these guys that will ultimately bring them closer both on and off the court.
The importance of team chemistry is underrated in the NBA, but when Miami's chemistry is unmatched this season, think back to this slide and feel free to commend me.