MIAMI (AP) -Penny Hardaway is an NBA starter again.
The Miami forward made his first regular-season start since March 24, 2004, on Friday night, when the Heat hosted the Phoenix Suns.
Hardaway also started three playoff games that season, but each of his last 49 regular-season appearances since that year had been in reserve roles. The 36-year-old replaced Dorell Wright in the starting lineup.
``It feels great, because I've worked so hard for an opportunity like this,'' Hardaway said.
Hardaway was signed by the Heat this past offseason as a free agent, giving him a chance to prove that he'd recovered from knee problems that essentially kept him off the court for years and threatened to end his career.
But he made the team, and the Heat like what they've seen so far.
``Sometimes he still thinks he's 25 and he's going to go and jam it over the top of somebody,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. ``Those days may be over with, but he can play. He's played very well for us.''

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