Archive for Sunday, April 15, 2007

Posey rebounds from DUI

April 15, 2007


— James Posey's body was covered by towels as he sat at his locker, smiling.

He had just gone 6-for-6 - making five of those tries from three-point range - to help the Miami Heat rally past the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, 100-96. His last three-pointer with 1:29 left put the Heat ahead for good and had Posey's teammates rubbing his head and chest-bumping in celebration.

"Some nights," Posey said, "are better than others."

That's a lesson the Heat forward knows quite well.

Posey's week started with an arrest in Miami Beach around 4 a.m. Monday that resulted in DUI charges. He was jailed for a few hours, removed from Miami's starting lineup for its games this week and eventually summoned to the NBA offices in New York to discuss the incident.

But a perfect shooting night and late-game heroics against the Pacers took some of the sting out of an imperfect week, and now Posey is regaining some momentum - at the perfect time, too, with the postseason only a week away.

"I was just focusing on playing basketball," said Posey, who has been tightlipped about the arrest, other than issuing a statement apologizing and denying the charge. "I got great support from the organization, so I went out there trying to play hard and win basketball games."

Posey played a big role for the Heat on their march to the NBA championship a year ago. He hit a backbreaking three-pointer with 31â2 minutes left in the title-clinching game in Dallas, averaged 7.3 points playing primarily as a reserve during 2006 postseason and often served as Miami's defensive stopper.

If the Heat are to defend the crown successfully, they almost surely will need a similar effort from Posey - and teammates believe that won't be a problem, even with his current off-court issue.

"Pose is a professional. Pose is fine," Heat forward Antoine Walker said. "We all go through things in different situations. I think a lot of people want to blow it out of proportion, but the truth will prevail at the end. Pose was playing great before that incident, and he's back focused and ready to go. It's easy when you know the truth."

Posey seemed to struggle in the two games immediately following the arrest, going a combined 1-for-3 with five points in 39 minutes. But if he was in a funk, he snapped out of it Friday.

Posey's six field goals against the Pacers were his most in a game since Dec. 15. His 18 points represented his third-highest total of the season, and the 14 points he scored in the second quarter alone were more than he managed in all but eight games.

"Now he can relax and just think about basketball," Heat coach Pat Riley said.

That's Posey's plan.

A free agent at the end of the season, Posey could command more than the $6.4 million he earned this year, his second with the Heat. He's considered the Heat's best defender, leads the team, by a wide margin, in offensive fouls drawn, and says he's driven by the prospects of earning another championship ring.

"We're trying to finish up the season strong and polish up some things going into the playoffs," Posey said. "Just trying to get better, so we can have a strong run at it. Just going out there, trying to play hard and do what I can do to help the team win."


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