PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Miami Heat are stuck in the post-Shaq and pre-Shawn Marion era at least for a few more days.
Marion and Marcus Banks, acquired Wednesday in a blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Shaquille O'Neal, were not in uniform for Miami's game against Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Heat coach Pat Riley said Marion and Banks were undergoing the first parts of their physicals. The test are expected to carry over into Friday. Riley said he hoped to meet with the pair in the afternoon and maybe introduce the two later in the day.
Marion will likely make his Heat debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat entered Thursday's game stuck in a five-game losing skid and losers of 20 of their last 21 games.
Meanwhile, Riley acknowledged he just wanted to get through Thursday's contest against the 76ers before concentrating on how best to use Marion, a four-time All-Star.
xers (19-30).
``Obviously, Shawn is going to be a big part of what it is we are going to do. He is an integral part of this team. He has to fit in.''
How Marion handles the switch from Phoenix's up-tempo offense to Miami's deliberate game should be interesting.
``He has been playing a style out there where there is a shot every seven seconds,'' Riley said. ``Here, he's gonna think we're all playing in concrete boots.
``He's gonna have to adjust to us a little bit, and we'll have to adjust the rest of the year.''
Marion has NBA career averages of 18.4 points and 10 rebounds. This season, he's averaging 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds.
Riley said he intends to give Banks plenty of playing time the rest of the season.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of Riley's pregame media gathering was spent talking about O'Neal.
Riley dismissed reports that O'Neal was out of shape as ``unfair criticism'' and ``blog ... fodder.''
O'Neal has averaged 25.6 points and 11.5 rebounds in 16 seasons in the NBA.
This season, plagued by injuries and going through a divorce, he's averaging 14.2 points.
Without O'Neal, and with Alonzo Mourning sidelined with a torn right patella and quadriceps tendon, Riley acknowledged the Heat will become a more perimeter-based offensive team.
``We have to,'' Riley said. ``Right now, if you take a look at our team, we're younger, we have become more flexible and we have two very productive players at their positions in Shawn and (Dwyane) Wade.
``We'll keep adding to that.''
Riley admitted having mixed emotions heading into to the Heat's latest rebuilding project.
``It's a little scary,'' he said. ``Sometimes it doesn't work. I think we've done it three times in Miami now. ... If you have the flexibility and the right players, you can turn it around real quick. Look at Boston.
``You just have to be in the right place at the right time.''

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Will Fox be a top-5 pick? With the 2017 NBA Drafttakes place later tonight. Where can we expect one of the top prospects, De’Aaron Fox, to land tonight?
Thumbnail Fultz to go to the 76ers? The Boston Celticshave traded out of the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ersnow hold the top pick once again. Is it a slam dunk who they will take in the NBA...
Thumbnail 2018 NBA Finals Odds After dominating the 2017 NBA Playoffs, will anyone keep the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals again...
Thumbnail Stephen Curry Game 5 Props Will Stephen Curry bounce back from a poor showing in Game 4 when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight at 9PM...
Thumbnail Will James get another triple-double? Will LeBron James add to his NBA Finals record of nine triple-doubles when the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals...

NBA Team Pages