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Heat catch fire, burn their critics

Pat Riley's Heat are making Charles Barkley and Mike Fratello look smart with their surprising rebound from a 2-14 start.

Updated: March 5, 2002, 1:55 PM ET
By Marc Stein | Special to ESPN.com

You heard it from TV luminaries large (Charles Barkley) and small (Mike Fratello) and coaching contemporaries as big time as George Karl and Phil Jackson. All of them said so, some going all the way back to Miami's 2-14 start.

Their message: Don't be surprised.

Don't be shocked, they warned, to see Pat Riley's Miami Heat still alive at tournament time, no matter how the season started.

Yet you ask Alonzo Mourning about those predictions now and he swears he never heard them. ...

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