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NBA ahead: Miami plays at New Orleans on Friday

MIAMI AT NEW ORLEANS

Friday, 5 p.m. PDT. TV: None.

I know, this is sickening, but if you haven’t been driven off by Heat Hype — USA Today just started “Heat Wave” to counter ESPN’s “Heat Index” — this will be an interesting test.

Miami’s opener at Boston was 10 on a scale of 10 in difficulty, with the defense-savvy Celtics waiting to tear the Heat limb from limb. This is more like an 8.5.

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The Hornets aren’t one of the big teams that can overpower Miami but they have Chris Paul, who’s 6 feet tall and may be more dominating than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant.

It’s also one of Miami’s toughest matchups in a stretch of schedule in which its game Sunday at New Jersey is the only other one on the road of the next nine.

— Mark Heisler


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