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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Spoelstra puts the pressure on rookie Cole

By Tom Haberstroh

MIAMI -- Erik Spoelstra loves to work with his point guards.

One of the mainstays at Heat practice last season was Erik Spoelstra working with Mario Chalmers on his 3-point shot. Spoelstra, who used to play college ball at University of Portland, would toss Chalmers the ball and then close out on him as the defender, replicating an in-game environment. Spoelstra wouldn't stop there. Sometimes you'd catch Spoelstra purposely nudging Chalmers as the point guard took the shot in effort to teach him how to absorb contact and remained balanced. Other times, you saw Spoelstra take a giant cushion, not unlike you see used by coaches on the football field, and push Chalmers as he fired off a shot.

This season, though, you don't see it very often. Not because Spoelstra doesn't want to, but because there just haven't been very many practices. But with Chalmers shooting a paltry 30 percent from downtown in March, Spoelstra got back out there after Wednesday's practice for some shooting drills with Chalmers.

But there was a new face this time: Norris Cole. The rookie has hit a bit of a wall this season and Spoelstra knows the youngster needs to put in some extra time. So after working with Chalmers, Spoelstra went over to Cole and worked with his jump shot on the other side of the court. The drill had Cole shooting jumpers, just like he did with Chalmers.

Then suddenly Spoelstra decided to personally guard Cole. Not only that, the 41-year-old coach held up pretty good. Here's a little clip from the action where Spoelstra looks like he got a piece of Cole's jump shot.

I don't know, did he foul him?