MIAMI — Before they left the floor, the same court that they had celebrated victories and championships on together, Dwyane Wade went to David Fizdale and delivered a hug and a gift, taking his jersey off and handing it to Fizdale, who had been a longtime assistant coach for the Heat.
“Because this is our last time where he’s going to be on the floor in this arena where we shared a lot,” Fizdale said. “He just wanted to give me something to remember him. But he also wanted it to be sweaty. He told me that he loved me and he appreciated me and appreciated our friendship. And I said the same thing to him. Obviously it’s a family thing.”
Lee in limbo
Courtney Lee was supposedly closing in on a return at the end of training camp after missing all five exhibition games, but a setback has put him in limbo with no return date in sight. Lee underwent additional tests on what was called a neck sprain suffered in a collision at practice with Ron Baker knocked him into a stanchion. But that has brought little clarity.
Asked if Lee was getting closer, Fizdale said, “As of today, right now, no. It’s still — he’s got to do some more tests and stuff like that, but he’s going to be out. . . . I think they still want to look at some more stuff, how he responds to certain things and see where it goes from there. It’s just one of those weird little injuries I guess that is hard to shake.”
Emmanuel Mudiay also was held out Wednesday, continuing to make his way back from an ankle sprain that has caused him to miss the first five games of the season.
Fizdale has speculated that a lineup change could be coming by Friday against the Warriors. The starting unit has struggled and the second unit has played more at the pace that the coach is preaching.
“We take hasty shots when we’ve got people open, so we watched that (Tuesday),” Fizdale said. "We’re missing a lot of people on the weak side, especially early in games. We’ve got to get the ball moving. And defensively, we haven’t been setting the tone with teams. We’re waiting to get punched and then we see how the game goes from there and we realize, oh, we can play with these guys. So it’s just trying to hammer home the idea with our team we can play with anybody right from the jump.”
Maybe not the Heat. The Knicks had an 11-point lead in the first quarter Wednesday and then were blown out.
Before Wednesday’s loss the Knicks had been losing tight contests, but still finding some bright spots. Through the first four games of the season the Knicks led the NBA in turnovers forced at 19 per game. Wednesday the Heat committed six in the first quarter, but only eight more the rest of the way.
“That’s great. That’s one of the things we emphasize,” Fizdale said. “We want to be disruptive and get our hands on a lot of deflections, a lot of steals. Because we understand as a young team we’ve got to learn how to execute in the half court but we can’t live in the half court if we want win games. We’ve got to really find a way to get out in transition and get some easy baskets until we get better at executing the details of our offense.”