Heat's tough road trip on, off court ends in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE (AP) The Miami Heat are having a tough road trip on and off the court.
The Heat wrapped up a six-game trip against the Bucks on Friday night. They arrived Wednesday night at General Mitchell Airport. But after landing, the Heat said the team plane slid while taxiing.
The plane ''never left the pavement. Everyone on board has deplaned and is OK,'' the team said early Thursday morning on its Twitter account .
There was light freezing rain and sleet in Milwaukee on Wednesday, and the team's chartered plane arrived in Milwaukee from Oakland, California, shortly after 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
''I don't think anybody on the plane knew there was anything going on until all the firetrucks came out there,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday night. ''Thankfully, it wasn't anything more than that. It was after the landing and there was a lot of ice. We've been in a lot worse weather than this.''
The NFL's Minnesota Vikings had a similar scare on Dec. 23, the night before playing the Green Bay Packers. The team plane landed safely at Appleton International Airport before sliding off the runway while taxiing and getting stuck in grass. It had been snowing for much of that evening in Appleton, which is about 30 miles south of Green Bay, and it took hours to get passengers off the plane. The Vikings lost the next day, 38-25 to Green Bay.
Despite going 1-4 heading into the game at Milwaukee and losing three straight games and nine of their last 10, Spoelstra said he wouldn't accept a lackluster effort from his road-weary squad.
''Our guys understand that we are not in any position to have that kind of attitude,'' he said. ''We had two days in between coming from the West Coast to here. We had a very good practice yesterday and a very good shoot-around today. Our guys will be ready.''
The Heat said that center Willie Reid would miss the game because of a bruised sternum, leaving the injury-depleted team with 10 available players.
''I imagine everyone will play tonight,'' Spoelstra said. ''That keeps it pretty simple for guys to understand their roles. Play as hard as they can and then come out. Any lineup that works we'll go with it.''