Erik Spoelstra said at today's shoot-around in advance of Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons that "as an organization we have [Dwyane Wade's] back." Spoelstra referenced, of course, Wade's one-game suspension for kicking Ramon Sessions in the groin during the Dec. 26 game. The team released a statement on the suspension, provided in its entirety below:
"While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it. In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami HEAT family. Unfortunately, he is the type of player, along with other players on our roster, that defenses take privileges with. We stand with Dwyane and support him in this situation and have made our feelings known to the league office."
This statement echoes Spoelstra's claim earlier Friday that opponents have played too physically with the Heat. It remains to be seen if referees will seek harsh penalties when opponents foul Wade or LeBron James hard, but Pat Riley clearly intended this message to be more than a simple statement of support for Wade.