HOUSTON – The last All-Star game in Houston was a glimpse of what Miami Heat games would become.
LeBron James scored 29 points and was the MVP. Dwyane Wade added 20 and made the go-ahead basket to cap a huge comeback, and the Eastern Conference beat the West 122-120 in 2006.
I had a pretty good experience the first time around, looking for the same thing this time, Wade said Friday.
The way things are going for the Heat, why not?
And think about this: James was already the best player that night, and he was nowhere near the player he is today.
I’m a better player. At that point in time, I wasn’t a complete basketball player. I couldn’t shoot as well as I can now, I never posted up back then, James said. More games, more playoff games, more knowledge. You continue to learn each and every day, it makes you a better player. That’s what you want, to become a better player. That’s what I want. I want to be the greatest of all-time. I try to do whatever it takes to get me in that position.
Seven years, I’ve tried to improve each and every year.
Back where they first teamed up as All-Stars, Wade, James and Chris Bosh will start together for the East tonight, another highlight for the NBA champions.
Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t having nearly as much fun in a season so disappointing that Bryant was asked Friday whether the All-Star weekend was a retreat for him.
I don’t know if it’s a retreat, it’s just more of an opportunity to get some rest, regroup, put the first half of the season behind us and move on, he said.
As Wade knows, the All-Star break can be just that – a break – from a forgettable season.
He arrived for the 2008 All-Star game with a 9-43 record after the Heat lost on Valentine’s Day to the Chicago Bulls, on their way to a 15-win debacle just two years after they won the NBA title.
I put all that aside, though, and I came and I enjoyed the weekend, and when I went back to Miami, it was like, Oh my God, we’re back in it,’ Wade said. But All-Star weekend, you just enjoy being an All-Star. You enjoy being around the guys. You can kind of forget about that a little bit, unless you have the cameras and the microphones in front of you asking you questions about it, but besides that you try to enjoy it.
This time, the Heat celebrated Valentine’s Day in Oklahoma City with a 110-100 victory over the Thunder, the team Miami beat in five games last summer for the title. Miami has won seven in a row, and James is playing arguably the best basketball of his career.
It’s really indescribable, Bosh said, just to not only win a championship with great guys, be in a great locker room, and just to have fun doing it, but just to be an All-Star every year, play with great teammates. I mean to play in front of a lot people in arenas every night. I don’t take those things for granted.
James just ran off an NBA-record six straight games with at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting from the field and seems to be distancing himself from anyone else that can take the MVP award he won last year for the third time in four years.
Bosh was chosen as a starter Friday by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who will lead the East. He replaces injured Boston guard Rajon Rondo.
Bryant and Howard are still here, away from a Los Angeles season that’s been anything but a Hollywood story.
Considered a title contender after acquiring Howard and Steve Nash in the summer, the Lakers fell to 25-29 after they were blown out Wednesday by the rival Clippers, who opened a 13-game lead over them in the Pacific Division standings.
Howard has battled injuries to his back and shoulder and has been nothing like the player who has been the NBA’s dominant big man in recent years.