Heat fans, beware: The loser talk has already begun. After Miami closed out its seven-game preseason slate with a seventh loss, this by 17 points to the defending champion Spurs, a reporter apparently asked Udonis Haslem his thoughts on the worst preseason in the Heat’s 20-year history. “Even though we’re 0-7,” he replied, “it’s not the end of the world.” Echoes of Manny Ramirez when the Red Sox were down 1-3 in the American League Championship Series, you say? Perhaps. But Haslem would have been wiser to channel Allen Iverson’s immortal rant on practice, saying something more along the lines of: “We sitting in here talking about preseason. Not a game. We talking about preseason.”

That same day, general managers around the NBA picked the Heat to win the Southeast Division, so they know preseason when they see it. But there remains the matter of the Heat being Dwyane Wadeless as the season begins against the Detroit Pistons, a team that has become one of the Heat’s prime rivals. The Pistons are an early pick to return to the Finals, if not win the championship, but the Heat ought to be stoked: Since the Heat started last season with a 42-point loss at home to the Bulls, coach Pat Riley will have ample motivational material. See the fruits of practice at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) on Thursday at 8 p.m. Tickets begin at $10. Call 786-777-4667, or visit
Thu., Nov. 1, 2007

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