MIAMI (AP) -The notion that preseason games are irrelevant doesn't apply these days with the Miami Heat.
A winless exhibition record in 2007 was the first sign of trouble in what quickly became a miserable season for the Heat, who open this year's preseason slate Sunday at home against the Detroit Pistons.
With a revamped roster and newly installed offensive sets, the Heat may place a bit more emphasis on the games that don't count this year, with hopes of building some momentum to take into the regular season.
``We're basically trying to start a new style, as far as maybe being a little more up and down and the way we want to play pace-wise,'' Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. ``So it means a lot, more so to us probably than other teams that have been together and have had the same style of play for the last couple years.''
Of the 13 players Miami used in last season's preseason opener, only four are still with the club.
rs logging 40 minutes of court time.
There are certain things new coach Erik Spoelstra wants to see as a barometer of what his club has picked up over the first week of training camp, like an understanding of the defensive philosophy and the effectiveness of a quicker-tempo offense.
``It's like that quote from John Wooden, 'Be quick but don't hurry,''' Spoelstra said. ``It's kind of how I want our guys to be. I want to take advantage of our athleticism, but I don't want it to be a wild and crazy game. I'll pull the reins on it if it gets too crazy.''
Miami was 0-7 in the exhibition season last year, then went a league-worst 15-67 in the regular season. Eventual NBA champion Boston was 4-3 in exhibition games. Kobe Bryant and the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers went 3-4. Atlanta was six games over .500 in games that didn't count, then eight games under .500 in the ones that did.
But there's something to be said about getting a taste of winning.
``You don't want to get into the habit of losing - or losing by 20 points,'' Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
The Heat leave for Europe on Monday, for exhibition games in Paris on Thursday and London next weekend against the New Jersey Nets, part of the league's annual initiative of bringing the game to a global audience.
his regular-season roster and rotation will look like.
``I think everybody knows that it's not about the 'W,''' Spoelstra said. ``But it is about looking good and producing.''
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