NBA Miami Heat

What We Learned About The Miami Heat After Preseason Opener

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Can We Find Meaning in the Preseason?

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As the tress change color, supermarkets stuff the store with candy and Halloween programming litters the television schedule, the NBA is back! Well, after a few weeks of exhibition games

The Miami Heat kicked off their preseason action against the Atlanta Hawks last night. It is only the preseason, but we can still learn some information about the defending champs.

The Heat defeated the Hawks 92-87 and led the entire game.

Atlanta is experiencing some growing pains and will have a tough season. Josh Smith departed for the cold weather of Michigan with the Detroit Pistons, and there was little offseason excitement in “Hotlanta”.

Essentially, Miami is still Miami and little has changed. They are still a dominant force and have a handful of threats and “go-to” players.

There are a few storylines to look at for the Heat. Dwyane Wade was scheduled to start, but Erik Spoelstra scratched the star from the lineup in a last minute decision. Wade wanted to stay cautious and give his legs a rest.

LeBron James was active and had a quiet game with nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes. Chris Bosh came out like he had something to prove. He was Miami’s high scorer with 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden also joined Wade on the sideline.

There are a few questions to ask and some analysis to be had. Miami still has to shrink the roster down to 15 and Bosh needs to continue to play well.

Here are 5 things that we have learned after the first preseason game.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow him on Twitter @Smphil01, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Who Will Make The Roster?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here are 13 players that will be on the roster come the regular season: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Chris Andersen, Rashard Lewis, Joel Anthony, James Jones and Greg Oden.

That leaves two spots and seven players. Roger Mason Jr. had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench, making a strong argument for a spot on the team. He has a great opportunity to play for Miami.

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Will Michael Beasley Still Be in South Beach Come November?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Beasley did not play last night, and Erik Spoelstra cited a calf issue as the reason. Whether or not this disrupts his chances of making the team is hard to say.

This is Beasley’s second opportunity with Miami, and it would be hard to believe that they would cut the small forward unless a serious problem arises. This is Pat Riley’s project, and he won’t give up that easily. He likes to prove people wrong and likes to say “I told you so”.

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Chris Bosh Starts Strong -- Not Impressed

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Bosh did have a strong outing last night, but it is only the preseason! Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see Bosh have a good game and shoot well, but it is not that impressive or important when it is the preseason and it is against a team in the middle of rebuilding.

Bosh needs to continue to play at a high level during the regular season and when the all of the “Big 3” are on the court.

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Dwyane Wade Will Play Limited Preseason Schedule

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade decided at the last minute that he should sit out against the Hawks. Erik Spoelstra agreed, and I applaud the decision.

These exhibition games are not important, and there is plenty of basketball to be played. Wade will play small portions of the preseason, but I expect him to rest for most of it.

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It's Only The Preseason!

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Honestly, if you really want the truth, it’s only the preseason! Every now and then something crucial will happen in October, but we shouldn’t be too concerned this early.

The preseason is as valuable as Pokémon cards.