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Sports

March 22, 2013

Heat hot at home; team record within reach

(Continued)

“Every time we start the season, we always say we have to protect our home court,” center Chris Bosh said. “And doing that, that kind of helped us continue to be decent in the early part of the season when we were struggling on the road a little bit.

“We wanted to build that habit, because in the playoffs, if you have homecourt advantage and you protect home court, you can win it all. We all know if it comes down to Game 7, you’d rather be at the crib than be on the road.”

While the recent road victories, particularly the past two against the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, have been completed amid an air of desperation, the home games have turned into appointment viewing, from pregame dunk shows by LeBron James to A-list celebrities dotting the front rows, especially amid the golf and tennis tours passing through South Florida.

“We have a great energy in our arena,” Battier said. “Our fans are excited for a show, and I’ve always maintained that we have a lot showmen on this team. And so, after the first LeBron dunk or Dwyane dunk, the crowd is really hoping for more, and I think that picks up our overall play.”

While nothing the balance of the season might match what James did Monday night to Celtics guard Jason Terry, the alley-oop passes tend to come with greater regularity at home.

“Our crowd has done an excellent job getting behind us,” guard Mario Chalmers said. “So of course we want to put on a show for them.”

To a degree, the upcoming two-game homestand against the Pistons and then Sunday against the Charlotte Bobcats following the just-completed five-game trip is merely a pit stop, to be followed by a four-game trip that opens Monday against the Orlando Magic.

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