HEAT vs. Pistons Oct. 5 Preview

Photo Credit: NBAE

MIAMI, October 4 -- The Miami HEAT will open the preseason tomorrow night, at home, at 7:30 p.m. on Sun Sports.

That sentence is really all that matters.

The preseason is all about getting things right internally, not matching up with specific opponents. This is especially true for the first game, when a team simply needs to lay a foundation for the steps they need to take over the next three weeks.

That’s why the playbook will be small – Erik Spoelstra guessed that he’s installed 34 percent of the offense – and Monday’s practice was short on mention of the opponent, and heavy on anticipation.

“It’ll be a process throughout preseason and throughout practice as the regular season counts down,” LeBron James said. “We know we’re going to make mistakes, but we want to continue to get better.

“If you’re going to make mistakes, you pass up a good shot for a better shot for a teammate and sometimes it might go out of bounds because you’re trying to make the better play. You can accept those. But we don’t want to make any stupid mistakes where we’re not getting better. There’s a fine line.”

There are considerations to be made, however. Both Carlos Arroyo and Joel Anthony were running with the presumed starters of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the end of practice, and while Spoelstra was more committal with Anthony’s place in the lineup, both seem poised to be on the floor at the jump.

Poised may be an understatement for the team as a whole. Excited is more like it. As great of an experience as the week at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field was, it’s been described as intensely competitive and you could see that by Friday’s open scrimmage, it was wearing on those legs.

Now, after beating each other up in countless defensive drills, the HEAT get a fresh sparring opponent. And even though the event should hardly be indicative of the final product – not that it mattered to Chris Bosh’s father, who flew into town for the game – it might be tough to distinguish it from a regular season matchup.

“We played Boston with Toronto in the first year [Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett] came together and you couldn’t tell if it was a preseason or a regular season game,” Bosh said. “They were pretty hype, and they knew what they were trying to do right off the bat.”

The Raptors, a playoff team that season, lost that game by four in Rome, Italy, the site of Boston’s training camp that season; a camp that many of their players credited for bringing a new team together. And though the HEAT may not fly under a banner of “Ubuntu”, in practice, the effect may be the same.

“It was really a memorable experience, meaningful,” Spoelstra said. “Some of the interactions we had, those memories will last us a lifetime. In terms of some of the things we were able to see, a lot of it just puts this whole picture in perspective, what they do for our country. Certainly there are some great standards that we can learn from that.”

Late Tuesday night, the HEAT will only have more to learn from.