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.
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