Yesterday Miami Heat’s assistant coaches werearmed with handheld football pads and proceeded togo for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as they drove into the lane at the end of practice. Online sports betting fans might think the star trio were pretty much running backs preparing for a big game.
However, the Miami team was just preparing for a physical battle on the court in today’s season opener versus the Chicago Bulls. After the Heat staff brought out the football pads to practice for the first time this preseason, the message has been sent.
Miami would like to see Chicago extra motivated today, and not just because this will be point guard Derrick Rose’s first game back since suffering a torn ACL in April of last year. The Heat will also be raising their 2012-13 championship banner and getting their rings before the game, and it’s not lost them that they ended the Bulls’ NBA season in the Eastern Conference semifinals just five months ago.
Not that Chicago will be watching. Instead, they’ll be in the locker room, coach Tom Thibodeau stated yesterday.
YouWager experts point out that the Bulls have been in this position before. After Miami won the title in 2006, Chicago made it to Miami for opening night and the banner raising ceremony.
The Bulls blasted the Heat 108-66. Only Udonis Haslem and Wade remain from that team, while Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich are the only Chicago players who were around then.
Wade, who grew up in Chicago, agreed there’s hard feelings between the two organizations with the Heat having ended the Bulls’ season twice in the last three years.
Wade expects the competition in the East, starting with Chicago, to be even tougher this basketball season.