MIAMI — Everybody knows the Miami Heat are loaded with a talented roster that includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"Playing against this team is totally different than anything you have to play against," admitted Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, whose 3-3 Jazz will get that opportunity to face the 5-2 Heat tonight at 5:30. "They have a lot of tough people to try to guard."
But respect doesn't just go one way in this match-up.
The talent-stacked Heat are quite complimentary of the Jazz, too.
"It's the most difficult team to prepare for," Miami's Dwyane Wade said after shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena this morning.
The former MVP credited Sloan's system, with tricky-to-defend cuts and passes, for making opponents take a "mental approach" throughout the game.
"I look forward to it because it always challenges your mind as a basketball player to see how prepared and ready you can get," Wade said. "We look forward to their proposed challenges."
One of those challenges, Wade noted, is trying to contain Deron Williams, who is good to go tonight after fully participating in the Jazz's shootaround after going half-speed at practice Monday with a sore lower back and a bruised right hip.
Wade lauded Williams, his former Olympic teammate, for being "very versatile" and "very tough to cover" because he attacks, has the "visibility to make plays," draws defensive attention, stretches the floor out with his shooting ability.
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: DJJazzyJody