Former Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale indicated in a recent interview that the intensity level during the Heat’s 2010 training camp between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James was high enough that the two players, in the words of Fizdale, “tried to kill each other.”
Fizdale, who was recently dismissed as head coach of the New York Knicks, recounted the story during an interview with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and noted (at approximately the 1:55 mark) that James and Wade weren’t the only Heat duo to bring that intensity to the court.
“Udonis [Haslem] and Chris Bosh tried to kill each other. Dwyane and LeBron tried to kill each other, and it was unbelievable,” Fizdale said. “Because we never put ’em all on the same team. We never put a starting lineup together. Juwan Howard was on that team, so he was trying to kill people.
“I mean, it was like every day was a war and all we worked on was our defense. That’s it, constantly defensive drills, defensive drills. So our offense was so far behind the rest of the game.”
A number of possibilities for that level of aggressiveness can be offered, including the spartan surroundings of the training camp. Held at Hurlburt Field, a military base in Okaloosa County, the facilities were a far cry from the comfortable hotels the team stayed in during the course of the season.
In addition, that 2010 training camp was one in which the Heat entered as the team to beat after adding James and Bosh during the offseason.
Those additions, coupled with the high profile of a team that became known as the “Heatles,” put a very large bullseye on the team’s back when it came to other NBA teams.
During the subsequent 2010-11 season, the Heat reached the NBA Finals, but lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks.
However, Fizdale said later (at the 2:44 mark) that the gritty atmosphere of that first camp set the tone for the NBA titles won in both 2012 and 2013.
“I still say that that was a big part of us winning titles later was because we had that camp,” Fizdale said.
After James left to return to Cleveland in 2014, the Heat heat’s streak of four consecutive Eastern Conference titles came to an end. The health-related retirement of Bosh and last year’s retirement of Wade leaves only Haslem remaining from the intense quartet from that camp.
This season, the addition of Jimmy Butler has once again infused the Heat with a relentless drive to capture an NBA championship.
Entering Sunday night’s game in Portland, the Heat have a 34-17 record for the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference.
While the Heat are on target to make the postseason after missing out last year, their focus is to go as deep in the playoffs as possible. The current Heat team may not have the same level of talent as the one from 2010, but it has the same goal as the 2010-11 squad.