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Heat arrive in China for preseason games

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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Wade did not play in Atlanta on Sunday as he continues recovering from offseason knee surgery. He is hopeful of playing at least once in China, and went for a late-night workout after the plane landed Monday night. He remembers what those Nets-Heat games were like in Europe four years ago, and said the element of facing the same team twice in the span of a few days helps raise the competitive bar a bit, even in an exhibition.

"The second one was a little bit more of a grind-out game, where you really wanted to win," Wade said. "The first game will be fun and will give the fans a show. The second one's going to be a little more intense. Guys will want to get at it and try to win. No doubt, you need some competitive situations. You need to be pushed, you need to feel fatigued, all those things."

It would seem like he's ready for his preseason debut. Another photo released by the Heat on Tuesday morning showed Wade dunking in practice — a sign that his knee is just fine.

The NBA allows teams that are traveling internationally during the preseason to open camp a few days earlier than everyone else, which Spoelstra said was helpful.

Sure, it's a logistical challenge, but Spoelstra isn't worried.

"There's a lot of good things about trips like this with the NBA, and that's why we're looking forward to it," Spoelstra said. "If we didn't have this training camp I'd be thinking that this is a tough thing, a lot of distractions and so forth. But we've had a full training camp. Now we get to go away, together, and spend an inordinate amount of time around each other in a place that's a little bit out of our comfort zone. That usually is good for team-building."

Those meals might create a team memory or two as well.

Chinese culinary options can seem unique — even though some on the trip are quick to point out there are American fast-food restaurants all over Beijing. But for those with more adventurous palates, some unusual choices can be had.

"I'm sure we're going to eat some funky meals where we can all say, 'Oh, that was nasty,'" said Heat forward Shane Battier, who has endorsed the Chinese shoe brand Peak since 2006. "Those experiences are good. And for guys who have never been to China before, it'll be fun to see their reaction. And those things, I think, can build a team."

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