PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Miami Heat are stuck in the post-Shaq and pre-Shawn Marion era at least for a few more days.
Marion and Marcus Banks, acquired Wednesday in a blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Shaquille O'Neal, were not in uniform for Miami's game against Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Heat coach Pat Riley said Marion and Banks were undergoing the first parts of their physicals. The test are expected to carry over into Friday. Riley said he hoped to meet with the pair in the afternoon and maybe introduce the two later in the day.
Marion will likely make his Heat debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat entered Thursday's game stuck in a five-game losing skid and losers of 20 of their last 21 games.
Meanwhile, Riley acknowledged he just wanted to get through Thursday's contest against the 76ers before concentrating on how best to use Marion, a four-time All-Star.
xers (19-30).
``Obviously, Shawn is going to be a big part of what it is we are going to do. He is an integral part of this team. He has to fit in.''
How Marion handles the switch from Phoenix's up-tempo offense to Miami's deliberate game should be interesting.
``He has been playing a style out there where there is a shot every seven seconds,'' Riley said. ``Here, he's gonna think we're all playing in concrete boots.
``He's gonna have to adjust to us a little bit, and we'll have to adjust the rest of the year.''
Marion has NBA career averages of 18.4 points and 10 rebounds. This season, he's averaging 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds.
Riley said he intends to give Banks plenty of playing time the rest of the season.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of Riley's pregame media gathering was spent talking about O'Neal.
Riley dismissed reports that O'Neal was out of shape as ``unfair criticism'' and ``blog ... fodder.''
O'Neal has averaged 25.6 points and 11.5 rebounds in 16 seasons in the NBA.
This season, plagued by injuries and going through a divorce, he's averaging 14.2 points.
Without O'Neal, and with Alonzo Mourning sidelined with a torn right patella and quadriceps tendon, Riley acknowledged the Heat will become a more perimeter-based offensive team.
``We have to,'' Riley said. ``Right now, if you take a look at our team, we're younger, we have become more flexible and we have two very productive players at their positions in Shawn and (Dwyane) Wade.
``We'll keep adding to that.''
Riley admitted having mixed emotions heading into to the Heat's latest rebuilding project.
``It's a little scary,'' he said. ``Sometimes it doesn't work. I think we've done it three times in Miami now. ... If you have the flexibility and the right players, you can turn it around real quick. Look at Boston.
``You just have to be in the right place at the right time.''
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 862 Memphis Grizzlies  76%
#3 855 Milwaukee Bucks  72%
#4 865 Utah Jazz  70%
#5 867 Indiana Pacers  70%
#7 853 Toronto Raptors  66%
#8 502 Boston Celtics  63%
#9 860 Atlanta Hawks  60%
#10 507 Philadelphia 76ers  55%
Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction The Pacers are a small favorite on the road tonight against the Lakers at 10:30PM ET. Are they a good bet to cover the spread?
Thumbnail Breakneck pace expected at Toyota Center At 33-12, Houston clearly has the attention of the basketball world. But can Mike D’Antoni’s no-holds-barred attack find success against the class of the...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Grizzlies Prediction The Grizzlies will host the Kings at 8:00PM ET tonight coming off a loss. Is Memphis a good bet to cover?
Thumbnail Jazz vs. Mavericks Pick Can the Utah Jazz take care of business on the road against the Dallas Mavericks when the two meet at 8:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Bucks vs. Magic Prediction Will tonight's Bucks and Magic matchup go over the betting total for bettors when the teams square off at 7:00PM ET?

NBA Team Pages