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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basketball/heat/sfl-heatsid11nov11,0,6096326.story?coll=sfla-sports-heat

By Michael Cunningham
Staff Writer
Posted November 11 2005

Miami · As much as the Heat misses injured center Shaquille O'Neal, at least it has Alonzo Mourning as a capable backup.

That hasn't been the case with James Posey, whose absence forced coach Stan Van Gundy to send out a makeshift rotation for the first five games.

"The only problem we have is we don't have a true [small forward]," Van Gundy said earlier this week.

Enter James Posey, who made his debut with the Heat Thursday night against Houston at AmericanAirlines Arena. He came off the bench to score six points on 2-of-7 shooting, including two 3-pointers, in the Heat's 88-84 victory.

Posey, who had been out with a sprained right thumb suffered during the preseason, originally had set a target to return Saturday against Charlotte. But he decided to give it a go against the Rockets while wearing a splint with less bulk than one he had practiced with.

"It's been tough not to go to battle and into war with my teammates, that I couldn't help them, be a part of it," Posey said before the game.

Posey received a mild ovation from fans when he entered the game in the first quarter. Van Gundy wasted no time using him, playing him 24 minutes.

Posey, part of the trade that also brought Walker and Jason Williams to the Heat, is expected to provide strong perimeter defense and outside shooting. He looked a bit rusty on the former, picking up two quick reach-in fouls on Derek Anderson and David Wesley, but gave a taste of his shooting ability.

In the second, he missed an open 3-pointer from the wing on a pass from Williams, but he made his next 3-point attempt from the wing on another pass from Williams. Later in the second, he made another 3-pointer from nearly the same spot.

Posey missed two open 3-point attempts in the second half and was on the bench for the decisive moments in the fourth. But in the long view, Posey's return means the Heat, which also has been without forward Shandon Anderson (back), can get back to a more normal, if still not ideal, rotation.

Van Gundy said it shouldn't take Posey long to learn what the Heat wants defensively because "he's got a great disposition and a great energy level."

"He will stay on you, keep hawking you, put his hands on balls, sitting down in front of you [for] charges and stuff like that," Heat guard Gary Payton said. "It makes him like a little pest, like a little bug. We need that."

Michael Cunningham can be reached at [email protected].
 
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