ATLANTA -- The Heat committed 22 turnovers in its first game since winning the 2012 NBA championship and lost to the Atlanta Hawks 92-79 at Philips Arena to begin the preseason.
Now, it's off to China!
I'm filing this blog report from inside one of two buses the Heat chartered for the short trip from Philips Arena to the Atlanta Airport. From there, I'll be flying with the team to Beijing and Shanghai. Check the blog often for updates.
As for the first preseason game, some observations:
--Everyone assumed LeBron would ease into the preseason after his long summer. That didn't happen on Sunday. LeBron played every minute of the first quarter and dominated. He finished the period with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
--James' high-flying dunks set off the arena early. There seemed to be about as many Heat fans at Philips Arena as home Hawks fans.
--LeBron, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and Norris Cole started for the Heat. Mario Chalmers (quadriceps), Joel Anthony (hamstring), Dwyane Wade (knee) and Udonis Haslem (upper leg) all sat out with injuries.
--Rashard Lewis led the Heat in minutes (8:28) in the second quarter. He had five points in the period and was 2 of 2 from the field.
--Lewis' first triple with the Heat was a corner three. He appeared a little more comfortable on Sunday compared to last week's scrimmage game. He was 0 of 5 from three-point range in the scrimmage.
--Terrel Harris and Norris Cole accounted for 10 of the Heat's turnovers. Both players had five turnovers. Harris saw significant time at point guard but the results were mixed at best. It's clearly a role he's going to have to get used to. Still, he's one of the Heat's best young players and his future appears to be bright.
--Cole led the Heat in minutes played (32).
--Chris Bosh blew up in the third quarter for 15 points. He finished the game with 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. He was 5 of 7 from the field in the third quarter and 1 of 2 from the three-point line.
--Bosh has been more comfortable this preseason than I've ever seen him and it showed on the court against the Hawks. He played freely his game responded.
--Dexter Pittman played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with three points and four rebounds. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he liked most of what he saw out of Pittman but will review video on the way to China.
It's going to be a long flight.