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  • 22 August 2019
    MIAMI -- Shaquille ONeal is coming back to Miami this week, about to be the third former Heat player to have his number retired and raised to the rafters of the teams arena.Perhaps he can offer some foul-shooting tips while hes in town.For as notoriously bad as ONeal was from the foul line -- 53 percent for his career -- he never played for a team that shot free throws as poorly as the Heat have so far this season. Miami is connecting on 66.2 percent of its foul shots, by far the worst rate in the NBA, on pace for the worst such season in team history and one of the reasons why the Heat are off to a 9-19 start.I would say its all mental, said Heat guard Goran Dragic, the teams leading scorer at 19.1 points per game and best free-throw shooter at 81 percent. You need to be focused on the free-throw line. Not only in games, but in practice. Dont just go to the line and shoot them, shoot them visualizing the way you would shoot them in the game. And then its probably going to be a much better percentage.The Heat were 14 for 25 from the line in Sundays 10-point loss to Boston, and missed eight in the fourth quarter alone.This is how bad things are for the Heat at the line: If they were to make their next 562 free throws, that still wouldnt push their shooting percentage past San Antonio for the top spot in the NBA right now.Were working at it, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. We still have chances.Miami has had eight games in which its failed to make even 60 percent of its free throws this season, a league-high -- and already one more than the Heat had in all of the 2015-16 season.Maybe most baffling is this: The Heat are making only 63.9 percent of their foul shots at home, 7 percent worse than any other team in the league. Miami hasnt been a great shooting team from anywhere -- 24th in 2-point shooting, 28th in 3-point shooting this season -- but the foul-shot problems are particularly frustrating.Got to make free throws, Heat forward Justise Winslow said.Hassan Whiteside had a strong second half to get his percentage up to 65 percent last season; hes at 53 percent so far this season. Winslow was a 68 percent shooter last season, and is down to 61 percent this season. Hes 6 for 14 from the line since returning from a sore left wrist -- his shooting wrist -- yet offered no excuses, even after missing four in Sundays loss.No ones guarding you, Winslow said. Me, myself, my teammates, just got to make free throws. Theres not anything super-complicated about it. Just got to make your free throws.Game notes The Heat announced that Wayne Ellington (right hamstring strain) will miss his second consecutive game on Tuesday, when Miami plays host to Orlando. ... Rodney McGruder (left ankle sprain) is questionable for Tuesday. Rock Ya-Sin Youth Jersey .J. Jefferson has been charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Devin Funchess Jersey . The third-ranked Ivanovic, who won the event in 2008 and 10, served five aces and broke Wickmayer, also a former winner in 2009, five times. "The result looked easier than it really was," Ivanovic said. .Y. - Rob Manfred was promoted Monday to Major League Baseballs chief operating officer, which may make him a candidate to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner. Marshall Faulk Colts Jersey .C. -- Al Jefferson joked that he feels he can score from anywhere on the court. Rock Ya-Sin Colts Jersey . The 20-year-old Pelicans big man glanced up and smiled widely at the well-wishers -- a fitting end to a day he wont soon forget. Davis responded to his selection earlier in the day as a Western Conference All-Star with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-91 on Friday night. If Australian Tyler Wright could choose one place to have her world surf title hopes on the line, the south-west of France would be pretty high on the list.It may not be the Gold Coast or Bells Beach, but the Landes break could almost be named Little Australia in surfing terms, with Aussies taking out all five events held there since it was added to the womens calendar in 2011.Wright has claimed the last two of those, while she also featured in the final in 2012 and 2013.Wright, 22, will clinch her maiden world championship at the seasons second-last event with a win, and could do likewise if rival Courtney Conlogue does not win the event and the Australian reaches the quarter-final and finishes only one round behind the American.In comparison, Conlogue has reached the final just once in 2014, and the quarters in the three previous years, before exiting in the fourth round last year.Australians Nikki Van Dijk and Bronte Macaulay could also do Wright a huge favour in the non-elimination first round,, when they meet with Conlogue.ddddddddddddWright, who has won four events this year, will face South African Bianca Buitendag and Chelsea Tuach of Barbados in her opening round, and cannot meet Conlogue until the final.Sally Fitzgibbons and Keely Andrew meet Frances Johanne Defay in their first round battle, while Laura Enever and Stephanie Gilmore are the only other two Australians in the field for the event which is scheduled to start on Tuesday.In the mens field Australian Matt Wilkinson is venturing towards must-win territory to keep his title hopes alive.After winning the first two events of the year, he has now slipped to third on the rankings with three events to go.He has not progressed beyond the third round in the past three events.He is one of 12 Australians in the field, and will face Brazilian Miguel Pupo and Italian Leonardo Fioravanti in the first round. 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