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15 STRONG
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No Worries about Recent Road Troubles for Heat

Despite recent struggles, Heat players still consider themselves road warriors and display no concern about turning into road worriers.

With Thursday's 114-108 loss at Indiana, the Heat carries its first three-game road losing streak of the season into tonight's game at New Orleans against the Hornets.

"This has nothing to do with the road," point guard Damon Jones said. "This has to do with not playing part of the game well.

"We're 54-19, we have no reason to worry."

While the Heat has lost as many road games in the past 10 days as it had in the previous seven weeks, all three of the setbacks were decided in the final seconds and were played short-handed.

The Heat lost 84-82 a week ago Tuesday at Houston when it bypassed a potential tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds, a game played in the injury absence of power forward Udonis Haslem.

Then came the 94-92 loss at Charlotte, when guard Dwyane Wade missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, in another game played without Haslem.

Thursday the Heat was kept from a regulation win when Pacers forward Stephen Jackson converted a 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second to play in the fourth quarter, in a game played in the injury absence of forward Eddie Jones.

Jones, who sprained his right ankle late in Tuesday's home victory over Toronto, remains with the team and is hopeful of playing tonight.

The trio of road losses also came during the absence of power forward Christian Laettner, who has spent recent days seeking treatment options for plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

"I'm looking, maybe, for a few games before the playoffs start," Laettner said of a potential return.

Through it all, the Heat still is experiencing one of its best seasons away from South Florida. At 22-14, the Heat is in position to finish with its second-best road record. It went 25-16 on the road in 1997-98 and a franchise-best 32-9 on the road in 1996-97.
 

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Time to play with intensity and passion, I don't like that the Heat have been letting teams like Charlotte and Indiana get into games and eventually win. Just because it's New Orleans doesn't mean they can't beat us tonight. I'm hoping for a blowout to show that the Heat will focus on the games as they come instead of thinking too far ahead of themselves.
 
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