Detroit Pistons' Jason Maxiell (L) clashes with Miami Heat's LeBron James in a preseason NBA basketball game at the Miami Heat's home arena in Miami, Florida Thursday. (Photo : Reuters)
If there were any doubts about the condition of Dwayne Wade's left knee, the Miami Heat superstar all but eradicated it at the American Airlines Arena in Miami (2-2) during the Heat's 105-78 torching of the Detroit Pistons (2-3).
Wade, who had surgery to repair his left knee during the summer, led the Heat in scoring with 21 points while dishing 5 assists in his 23 minutes of game play, while fellow "Big Three" members LeBron James and Chris Bosh contributed in the blowout. James scored 13 points while Bosh posted 17 points.
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Detroit had a miserable shooting night, missing 18 of their first 22 shots from the field.
After the game, Wade told the Associated Press that he was slowly trying to get back the rhythm that made him an eight-time All-Star.
"I'm continuing to get my rhythm, my conditioning," Wade said. "Tonight I kind of broke out a lot of the things I normally do and I felt comfortable doing that. I was able to see a couple things I need to continue to get stronger at, but wasn't bad."
Regarding Wade, who will no doubt be a key component for Miami's chances to repeat as NBA Champions this season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team wasn't planning for Wade to practice every day in the preseason. However, he added, Wade's body is allowing him to be out there.
"I just like his progress right now," Spoelstra said. "You see bursts of his old speed and quickness."
James gave Wade a ringing endorsement after the game.
"He looked real sharp," James said. "He had a good bounce in his step, made some shots, did a little of everything. ... Very active tonight. He told me he was going to be."
Around the League; NBA Preseason Wrap-up for Thurs. Oct. 18
Celtics: 115, Nets: 85
In what could be the start of, potentially, one of the Atlantic Division's most heated rivalries, the Boston Celtics delivered a sound 30-point thrashing to division rival Brooklyn Nets (3-1) 115-85 at the Barklays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The game marked several firsts for the newly-christened Brooklyn Nets-their first nationally televised game on TNT, representing Brooklyn after leaving their former New Jersey Home following the last season, their first home-game loss and their first loss of the preseason.
Celtics small forward and longtime leader Paul Pierce suffered a brief scare when he left the game, briefly, with an ankle injury before he returned to finish the night with 18 points. Boston shooting guard Courtney Lee also had 18 for the Celtics.
Despite the fact that it was merely a preseason game, the intensity of the game from both teams gave a palpable playoff-like feeling to the contest.
"Kevin Garnett came out tonight and (Rajon) Rondo and Pierce with that look on their face like even though it's a preseason game, we want to send a message," Nets coach Avery Johnson said after the game.
Garnett, one of Boston's emotional leaders from their 2008 NBA Champion team, said the Celtics' inspired play was more of a statement to make up for their 107-75 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers Monday, rather than a chance to stick it to their revamped division rivals.
"When we touch the floor man, it's all business," Garnett said in a postgame interview with the Associated Press. "It has nothing to do with Brooklyn. We felt like Philly, that was embarrassing. We don't play basketball like that. That was embarrassing to us. We have a culture here that we adopt.
"When you put this jersey on, it comes with responsibility. Whether it's preseason, we're (messing) around, chilling, 1-on-1, 21, whatever it is, it comes with responsibility. We don't take that lightly around here. We felt like in Philly we took a step back."
Hawks: 97, Hornets: 68
Point guard Devin Harris led the way for the Atlanta Hawks (2-3) in their 29-point blowout of the New Orleans Hornets (3-2) 97-68 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
While the game was tied 40-40 at halftime, the beginning of the end for the Hornets started after they missed their first 13 shots in the third quarter, while the Hawks outscored the Hornets 26-7 during that same quarter.
The Hawks' star small forward Josh Smith led Atlanta with 156 points, while power forward Al Horford put up a double-double for Atlanta with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Highly touted rookie power forward Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 19 points, 15 of them in the first half.
Grizzlies: 97, Bucks: 94
It all came down to free throws, but point guard Michael Conley's pair of clutch free throws with only three seconds in the game helped put the Memphis Grizzlies (3-2) over the top as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) in a 97-94 thriller at the Lacross Center in La Cross, Wis.
Conley and Grizzlies star Rudy Gay each scored 20 points to lead Memphis in scoring, with Conley-a five-year veteran out of Ohio State University-scoring 9 of his points in the final 5 minutes of the game to keep the Bucks at bay.
Standout point guard Monta Ellis scored 20 points for Milwaukee while fellow point guard Brandon Jennings had a solid performance with 19 points-including going 5-for-6 from three-point range-four assists and two steals.