MIAMI — If it was unclear that Sunday evening's Miami Heat Red-and-White scrimmage was a low-intensity endeavor, the scene late in the third quarter left little doubt.
LeBron James was about to reenter the game on the Red team. But, before he did, he got an update on another, more significant, contest occurring elsewhere.
Yes, 41-41. That was the score between James' beloved Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.
So what could be taken from the Heat's intrasquad exercise?
Well, not much—not when James (two points on 1-of-8 shooting) was outscored by 12 others.
Not when Chris Andersen (foot) and Udonis Haslem (offseason knee surgery) sat, as did newcomers Michael Beasley, Roger Mason Jr. and Greg Oden, with the latter likely to be watching for a while.
Not when the composition of the teams kept switching, and Erik Spoelstra was watching from the stats table.
Still, here are three observations:
1. Dwyane Wade seems free
Just prior to training camp, Wade hinted that he would be working his way back into prime condition on his own timetable. He sure appears to be speeding the process along. Wade hasn't been limited in any practices, and he showed absolutely no hesitation Sunday, whether running, cutting or even dunking on the break.
It appears all that work with trainer Tim Grover has been worth it and explains why Wade has promised to complete Grover's program in the evenings, even while enduring full Heat practices during the day.
2. Norris Cole looks more comfortable
The backup point guard has spoken of wanting to be more consistent, pointing to his play in the playoffs. The Heat tasked him this summer with upgrading his mid-range game.
"Me as a quick guard, I get past my defenders a lot, but it's a matter of making a play once I get by them in that medium range," Cole said this week. "You can't get all the way to the rim every time, so making those floaters, those pull-up jumpers is going to be key for my game."
Cole was able to get to the rim regularly Sunday, even talking a little trash to Joel Anthony after one layup.
Kid's growing up, it appears.
3. Who's the new Mike Miller?
There's been an exaggeration of Miller's overall impact last season. After all, during the Heat's 27-game winning streak, he was entirely out of the rotation. Take out two of the 27 games, in which he served as a fill-in starter for Wade, and he made a total of one shot.
Still, he was effective in that fill-in role (with Miami posting a 15-2 record), and that allowed Wade to rest easy. That creates an opportunity for others—an opportunity that Mason said played a role in his decision to sign a non-guaranteed deal with the Heat rather than join the Chicago Bulls or Oklahoma City Thunder.
Two holdovers, however, could also stake their claim, and neither embarrassed himself Sunday. Rashard Lewis, with more lift in his legs than at this time last year, posted 10 points and seven rebounds, mostly operating out of the right corner. And James Jones did what he does, firing three-pointers. He made five of 10.
Now, on to the preseason.
The Atlanta Hawks visit Monday.
Ethan Skolnick covers the Miami Heat for Bleacher Report.
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