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News » After home slide, Heat hitting the road

After home slide, Heat hitting the road

After home slide, Heat hitting the roadMIAMI (AP) - Something about going on the road has always appealed to Miami forward Udonis Haslem. After all, it can't be any tougher than playing at home has been lately for the slumping Heat.

Miami has lost six of its last nine games overall, not to mention four of its last six at home - and both those wins were one-point buzzer-beaters, first over the lowly New Jersey Nets on Nov. 17, and then a New Orleans Hornets team without Chris Paul five nights later.

So maybe a change of scenery will do some good.

Barely a few hours removed from a 92-85 loss at home to the Boston Celtics, Miami left early Monday morning for a four-game road swing, the first three of those games coming against Western Conference powers Portland, Denver and the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The buzz over a 6-1 start has now been drowned out by seeing the record fall to 9-7, and the Heat know this trip won't be easy.

"We've got to go out there and win," Haslem said. "Find any means necessary to go out and get these games. Nobody but us ... we're out there against everybody, so we've got to come together."

Only the Lakers had played more games through Sunday at home this season than the Heat. The Lakers took advantage, going 10-2 so far in their building and using that as a springboard to a 13-3 overall record.

The Heat, they're a mere 6-5 at home.

And since winning on the road is much harder for NBA teams - home teams had prevailed 61 percent of the time through Sunday, which is basically consistent with the year-in, year-out success clip around the league - things might get tougher before long for Miami.

"I think there's nothing better right now for this team, when you're going through adversity, going through some tough times," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Out there, there's not going to be anybody else but ourselves. We're going to have to lean on each other and trust each other, come together. These can be some season-changing moments. ... It's a great challenge."

It wasn't such a daunting proposition for Miami last season, either.

The Heat went 7-8 on the road against Western Conference teams a year ago, winning in, among other places, San Antonio, Phoenix and Utah. Those wins proved vital in the playoff picture, since Miami finished as the No. 5 seed, only two games ahead of No. 7 Chicago.

"I don't ever mind going out West," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "Of course it's tough, the schedule, but it's actually good for a team because all you have is yourself. You have your 15 players, your six or seven coaches, the training staff and no one else rooting for you. You all have to come together. You all win together, you all lose together."

Already this season, Miami has shown some road resilience.

It won Oct. 30 at Indiana, a place where the Heat had only prevailed five times in 39 tries over their franchise's first 21 seasons. And just last week, Miami used a huge fourth quarter run to beat the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic 99-98 - just the second Heat win in the last 14 meetings between the division rivals.

They'll need more of that magic this week.

"You don't have the crowd and you don't have to play a certain way," Wade said. "You just have to play hard-nosed and try to win. Team building always happens on the West Coast, so we'll see when we come back. It's a tough trip and it's the NBA schedule. Can't cry about it. All we can do is get our rest, as much as we can, go out there and take each game by game and give it our all."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2009


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