29 Mart 2008

Heat's Ricky Davis has proven resilient

What feels like the longest season in Heat history is down to 10 games. For Ricky Davis, that puts the finish line to his marathon within view.

While the overall result will almost certainly be the NBA's worst record, the veteran swingman still has put himself in position for a small victory, as the lone Heat player to appear in all 82 games.

"I said that to him the other day in a meeting," said coach Pat Riley. "I mean, we're trying to be honest about this whole thing and truthful and not talk about it, but guys have to look at what is it they've contributed, either personally or to the team this year."

For all that has gone wrong with his Heat reunion, and for all the criticism he has endured, including this week's rebuke from former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, Davis has proven reliable and resilient.

"Some guys can just stay the course by showing tremendous character during this adversity," Riley said.

Like teammates who have opted to step aside, Davis has had his share of lingering ailments, including groin issues. But he will close the season as the lone Heat player to appear in more than 70 games.

"I came in to play all 82 games," he said, in position to do so for the third time in his 10 seasons, after playing 81 games for the Timberwolves last season. "That's what it's about, just finishing out the season."

It is a marked contrast to Davis' first term with the franchise, when a foot injury limited him to seven games with the team in 2000-01.

"I'm still here right now, just try to help them along," he said.

"I'd rather be playing than sitting down. Like coach said, I'm going out there and earning that check."

Signaling a truce?
Apparently Thursday's conversation between Riley and Suns President Steve Kerr brought to a close the war of words between the Heat and O'Neal.

"I'm not going to comment anymore," O'Neal said at a Friday shootaround in Philadelphia. "I'm the type of guy who only speaks once. I shouldn't have to speak twice. I said what I said."

O'Neal had previously attempted to clarify that he was talking about the lack of talented depth during his final months with the Heat, not specifically about Davis and Chris Quinn.

"A lot of times," O'Neal said, "statements get misconstrued. I said what I said. I clarified what I said. I'm not going to talk anymore about it."

Decisions due
With Riley off scouting the NCAA Tournament, the Heat is off until Sunday's game in Boston.

That's when the 10-day contracts of D-League guard Blake Ahearn and forward Stephane Lasme expire. Kasib Powell's expires after Monday's game in Indiana. Players can be signed for up to two 10-day contracts per team, before their salaries must be guaranteed for the balance of the season.

"We're looking at a couple of other guys, but I sort of like what I see with a couple of these," Riley said. "It's hard to evaluate young guys when you aren't playing them with your best players. We're asking them to do things we wouldn't normally expect them to do."

Factoring into any decision on 10-day renewals will be the availability of guard Marcus Banks, who Riley expects back next week. Banks has been sidelined the past 11 games with a pulled right hamstring and is not on this four-game trip.

Mourning hopeful
As expected, Alonzo Mourning is talking about a comeback from this season's knee surgery. The 38-year-old center told WIOD radio, "I still want to play the game of basketball." Mourning said he would make a decision in August or September, with his rehab scheduled to extend beyond that time frame...

kaynak : NBA