MIAMI (AP) -Dwyane Wade isn't overly concerned.
His Miami Heat are 2-9, at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, winless at home and are coming off an 82-79 loss Wednesday to an Atlanta Hawks team that had dropped 17 straight road games before visiting South Florida.
Yes, things are bad.
But Wade points out that it's still just the opening month of a long, long season.
``Almost everybody in this room has been in this league for a long time,'' said Wade, the 2006 NBA finals MVP. ``And I'll tell you one thing - everybody in here hasn't been successful every year. Everybody knows you're going to hit some rough spots. But to make it work, you've got to stay together as a team, on and off the floor. Then you can overcome.''
Miami hosts Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The Heat were expected to struggle without Wade, who missed the start of the season while continuing to recover from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries. And when Wade finally was fit to begin playing games last week, Miami was 1-6.
Wade warned in the days before the comeback that it would take more than just his presence to turn things around. He wasn't kidding, either.
The Heat are 1-3 in the four games Wade has played, although two of those games came down to final-second possessions that could have turned outcomes in Miami's favor. Neither went Wade's way, though, and Miami is already seven games behind Orlando in the Southeast Division standings.
``This is all about hanging as tough as we can,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. ``There is a lot of frustration and disappointment but it's a long, long season. I've been through this before. Players have been through this before. This particular team has not been through this, and we've got to stay the course.''
Even in an almost-silent locker room after Wednesday's loss, Wade said keeping the team's spirits intact won't be an issue.
``That's never been a problem in Miami,'' Wade said. ``The locker room's always been good. We've got good guys in here. Our leaders are going to keep everybody together. We're not worried about that.''
But unless things turn around, and fast, there might be a reason for worry.
A year ago, Miami got off to a slow start because of a rash of injuries, and those early season woes hurt the then-reigning NBA champions in the chase for the 2007 postseason. The Heat wound up as the No. 5 seed and were swept out of the first round by Chicago.
The Heat vowed things would be different this year.
Wade isn't ready to abandon that pledge.
``We've got 71 games left,'' Wade said. ``It's not over.''

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