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Basketball / Sports

Haslem committed to Heat, holds out hope for minutes

SALT LAKE CITY -- Udonis Haslem is keeping the faith. At the moment, that's all the veteran Miami Heat power forward has.

As the Heat moved on to the second game of their six-game trip Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena against the Utah Jazz, Haslem had been held out of six of the previous seven games, his only action over that span the final two minutes of the blowout home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Still, he said he remains patient, even as the Feb. 20 trading deadline looms, his commitment to his hometown team resolute.

"I'm here and I'm going to be here," he said before Saturday's game, already working out a workout schedule for coming days in Phoenix with fellow benchwarmers James Jones and Roger Mason Jr. "And I want the opportunity to help this team win."

For now, he said he is controlling what he can control, appreciating that similar concerns have been alleviated in recent seasons at particularly meaningful moments.

"There's something I can control and that's staying ready and working my tail off to be ready when I opportunity comes," he said.

"I don't know everything. I'm not a prophet. But since this team has been together, there's some point in the season, whether it be playoffs or regular season, where I've had to step up for us. So whether it be Chicago three years ago or Indiana the last two years, there's been a point with these guys when they have needed me. So I got to stay ready."

That has Haslem making sure there are pregame scrimmages with teammates who also have become minutes-challenged.

"I've just learned to focus on the things I can control," he said, "keep the conditioning going. Because it's easy to let it go the other way."

Winter games

No, Heat center Chris Bosh admitted, he does not pay much attention to the Winter Olympics.

"I do not. I'm not going to lie to you, I don't," he said. "But my favorite is when they jump off the slope and go long and then they land. That's the best event in the winter Olympics."

It is the event, he said, he would have been most likely to pursue.

"That'd be it," he said. "I'd get a little adrenaline going, a couple of jumps a day, not too rough on the body."

He joked that teammate LeBron James could excel in figure skating due to his creativity and said of guard Dwyane Wade, "He's short, so he could do that speed skating."

'Toon time

Heat players spent the minutes following the morning shootaround by trying to guess theme songs to sitcoms as teammates hummed the tunes.

Wade struggled before guessing the Good Times theme and had even more trouble James' rendition of the open to Married with Children. Bosh went old school, stumping teammates with the theme from I Love Lucy.

Father-son

In a week, it will be father-son with Heat ties during All-Star Saturday, with former Heat guard Tim Hardaway to team with his son, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., in the Shooting Stars competition in New Orleans.

So is dad ready? Tim Jr. admitted to reporters in New York that he's not quite sure.

"No, he's not," the younger Hardaway said. "I got on the phone with him and talked to him about it, 'Make sure you get some shots up.' He still runs every day, still tries to stay fit. That's a good sign.

"It's good just to have an opportunity, to seize the moment. I was like, 'Why not? Might as well take advantage of it.' I know a lot of people haven't seen him play. It will be good to have him out there on the court."

The older Hardaway currently is serving as a scout with the Heat, also representing the team at community events.

The end

Even with an upgrade in next weekend's slam-dunk field during All-Star Saturday, James said before Saturday's game to basically count him out going forward. Not even next year? "Nah, I'm gonna be 30." . . . Wade, pregame, on why the Heat defense has been better toward the latter stages of recent games, "We're an old team, takes a while to get it cranking."

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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