By SHANDEL RICHARDSON, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL
TORONTO — Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had yet to give it any thought.
After all, he had only known he was the coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team for a few minutes. His first decision is whether to start center Chris Bosh in the game Feb. 17 in Houston. He leaned toward having three Heat starters, with Bosh joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The last team to have three All-Star starters was the Los Angeles Lakers, who had Magic Johnson, A.C. Green and James Worthy in 1990.
“I’ve only given this thought for the last nine minutes,” Spoelstra said. “But I will tell you this, unequivocally, that my loyalties are first and foremost always with the Miami Heat.”
A spot in the starting lineup became available when Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season because of a knee injury. The other starters are New Yorks Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Celtics center Kevin Garnett.
Spoelstra said he will just enjoy the moment before making any decisions.
“This year, people have been talking about championship hangover, things of that nature,” Spoelstra said. “We see it a different way. We’re starting to play better basketball in the last three or four weeks, so it is an honor.”
James said Spoelstra and staff are deserving of the honor.
“I think it’s awesome,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a testament to our coaches preparing us. As players, we just go out there and try to execute their game plan. We’re happy for them. We’re trying to represent our organization at the highest level and we’re going to be well represented in Houston.”
Boos for Bosh
It’s been nearly three years since Bosh decided to leave Toronto, yet the sting remains for the fans. They booed him every time he touched the ball despite this being Bosh’s fourth return to face his former team.
“Yeah, I’m a little surprised,” Bosh said. “They (fans) pay their money. They can do what they want. I hope they just remember the good times.”
Bosh said the jeers served as his motivation, especially in the second half when he scored 22 of his 28 points.
“I was hearing a lot from the fans,” Bosh said. “I thank them for continuing to stay on me and calling me names. That helped my focus a lot. I was like, ‘I need to get in this game to shut them up.”‘
Super Bowl disaster averted
The Heat had originally planned to fly back immediately after Sunday’s game. With no Internet or televisions on the plane, they were expected to miss the Super Bowl.
A win combined with players expressing their disappointment of missing the game called for an audible. The team watched at Real Sports Bar in downtown Toronto before flying back at the game’s conclusion.
“It seemed very logical,” Spoelstra said. “We all wanted to watch it.”
Pittman back to D-League
The Heat announced Sunday they sent third-year center Dexter Pittman back to the NBA Developmental League.
It is Pittman’s third stint with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“When I go to Sioux Falls, it’s like pressure relief,” Pittman said. “I get to work on my game and get game time.”
Pittman has appeared in just four games this season.
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