Miami Heat news: Who's the man? It's been everyone for Miami Heat this season

MIAMI, Fla. -- The clipboard is handed from coach to trainer. The huddle is broken. The final five get into position. Or sometimes they simply flow from defense to offense.

And then? The beauty of this team, this roster, these possibilities, Dwyane Wade said Monday, is not even the Miami Heat know what's next. Or who's next.

Because the expectation of LeBron James having to make the moment is gone.

Because there now is so much more in place, namely confidence, continuity, cohesion.

Over the Heat's first 13 games, there have been seven make-or-miss decisive moments, with five different protagonists.

"Our guys absolutely salivate in those situations," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You can see they come to life."

Because everyone on the floor is live, capable of making it their moment, beyond the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player.

"We have so many options," Wade said after Monday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, two days after Ray Allen hit a game-deciding 3-pointer against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "Coach can draw up one play, but there can be many different options out of it.

"It's not just going to one guy."

And it hasn't.

On Nov. 3 against the visiting Denver Nuggets, it was Allen completing a four-point play with 6.7 seconds remaining off a James assist for the victory.

On Nov. 9, in a road victory against the Atlanta Hawks, it was Allen putting the Heat ahead for good with a jumper with 1:22 to play and James stepping up with a jump-shot dagger up two with 13.6 seconds left.

Three nights later, it was James making a go-ahead layup with 18.6 seconds left in a road victory over the Houston Rockets and then Chris Bosh putting it away with a pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds to go.

Later on that six-game trip, it was Norris Cole stepping up with a decisive 3-pointer off a James assist with the Heat down 92-91 with 51.4 seconds left in a victory in Denver.

Two nights after that, it was Bosh sealing a victory over the Phoenix Suns with a pair of free throws with 1:28 to play and the Heat up 90-88.

And on the current homestand, it was Wade being given a decisive shot, a jumper with eight-tenths of a second left in regulation that was blocked, in what turned into an overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, and then Allen's decisive 3-pointer Saturday.

Because Allen made a pair of 3-pointers off James' late passes, and because Cole made his, this time there weren't questions about James deferring.

He said Monday that if skeptics want to judge based on the results, that's fine also.

"I live with it not matter what," he said. "I hit U.D. [Udonis Haslem] last year in Utah for a wide-open free-throw shot and U.D. is a 60-percent shooter from there and he just missed it. People got on me for that, because I had 20 or something in the fourth. It doesn't matter. I make the right play.

"It's the way I've always grown up, how I was taught to play the game. You make the right play."

But this season, in a closing group that includes James, Wade, Bosh, Allen and often one more outside-shooting threat, it is like playing with no-fault insurance.

"Whatever opens up we find that guy," James said. "It's multiple guys that can make plays late in games."

To a degree, Allen, as much as any teammate James has had, has made the questions disappear."I don't understand how he continues to be open," James said.

At 10-3 overall and 6-0 at home, skeptics have had to look elsewhere to get their second-guessing fill.

"It's interesting that our group at one time was criticized, questioned about their ability in close games," Spoelstra said. "I mean that couldn't be further than the truth."

So Spoelstra releases his players from late-game huddles with the confidence that it could be any of their moments.

And that it doesn't have to just be James.

To Wade, it is a different world from the start of the Heat's Big Three era.

"I don't think any of us knew what the heck was going on," he said of their initial make-or-break moments as teammates. "We were just trying to make it up on the fly. Now, knowing that we have a lot of options, you have a lot of guys out there who can make plays, who can make shots."

So who's the man? Any of the men.

"We've come a long way," Spoelstra said, "from two and half years ago, where there were a lot of those type of questions."


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