MIAMI — Returning home with a chance to close out the Celtics offers little solace to the Miami Heat, who are still very wary of the defending Eastern Conference champions after sneaking out of Boston with a 98-90 Game 4 victory Monday night.
The Heat can advance to the conference finals with a win Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena but they fully realize Boston is going to bring its best game with its season at stake.
“It means everything (to potentially win the series),” Heat forward LeBron James said. “That’s what we came together for. Boston kind of set the blueprint for a lot of team when they decided to make the trade for KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray (Allen). When they did it, you seen guys make sacrifices to play together as one. So they set the blueprint, they went out and did it.”
The Heat said they are taking nothing for granted despite a two-game lead and Boston having to win the final three to take the series.
“Not against this team, this is not a team you want to let your guard down against,” Wade said.
“No way,” James added.
“We won that game,” Wade said. ” It was a good win. Tomorrow we’ll be ready to play. We understand this team. We understand how close the game was. (Rajon) Rondo missed a layup and they could have went up 2 and the game could have been different.
“They are going to come in and give us their best shot. It’s going to be one of those games and I think we’ll prepare for it.”
Both admitted that their decision to combine forces was motivated by the Celtics’ Big Three and their four-year run as an elite team.
“With LeBron losing to Boston in Cleveland in the playoffs and him feeling like I gotta do more and I need to be around more to contend for a championship,” Wade said. “Me feeling the same way this summer saying that I need more, that was because of Boston. They knocked us out. A lot of moves obviously I think started with the Lakers making their moves, then Boston made their moves and then everyone else decided if we’re going to compete at a high level we need to be equipped and that’s what we did this summer and that’s why it’s been a good series.
“It’s the second round but this is like the Eastern Conference finals type of build up series. It’s been played out that way and will continue to be that way.”