ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade were inactive for the Miami Heat's regular-season finale in Orlando on Wednesday night.
``We have to be realistic with their health,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. ``Other guys need work. We're going to play it out and get ready for this weekend.''
Riley made the decision strictly to avoid getting his two stars hurt before the playoffs open this weekend. When Riley was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983, he lost forward James Worthy to a broken leg in the final week of the season - one of the reasons, he thinks, why those Lakers were unable to defend their title.
He isn't taking any risks with the two most important players for the defending NBA champion Heat.
``The end of the season, for teams that are in the playoffs ... we play the whole year for positioning and you try to keep your players healthy,'' Riley said. ``We know how devastating an injury can be.''
O'Neal said after the Heat's morning practice in Orlando that he's ready for the playoffs to start, and Wade didn't complain when told pregame that he was getting the night off.
``It's one of those times where you have to shut up and listen to the coach, do exactly what they say,'' said Wade, who missed 23 games with a dislocated left shoulder and has since battled a sore knee. ``So we'll get some conditioning in and go from there.''
Forward James Posey (sprained wrist and shoulder) was also inactive for Miami.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NBA Championship Odds Now that the NBA All-Star Game has wrapped, which team is currently favored to win this year's championship?
Thumbnail Pelicans' own Davis hopes to lead West On the heels of a rather tepid Saturday in New Orleans, can the NBA’s marquee talents bring the Smoothie King Center to life this...
Thumbnail Thompson, Irving load up for downtown duel With Stephen Curry out of the mix this time around, a lot of people feel compelled to classify the 2017 3-point contest as a wide-open affair. Klay...
Thumbnail Magic phenom aims to dazzle New Orleans After narrowly losing to Zach LaVine 12 months ago, Aaron Gordon appears fully committed to winning the 2017 All-Star dunk contest. Will anyone else even put up...
Thumbnail A-listers hit hardcourt in New Orleans This weekend, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome belongs to the biggest names in hoops – for the most part. Various entertainers will hit the hardwood tonight,...

NBA Team Pages