The Miami Heat got more than they bargained for from the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
After the Heat’s 101-88 victory in Game 7, coach Erik Spoelstra had plenty of respect for just how much of a fight the Celtics put up.
“Boston now for two years has been the single team that has pushed us and bended us to where we’ve had to improve,” Spoelstra said. “They’ve forced us to redefine ourselves.”
Spoelstra had particular praise for Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
“He’s pushed me to be a better coach. We do not take this for granted,” he said. “I’m happy we got through this, it builds some character.”
LeBron James, who scored 31 points and had 12 rebounds, echoed Spoelstra.
“We want to give a lot of credit to the Celtics, they’ve got a hell of a coach in Doc Rivers and great players. They pushed us, as hard as any team has pushed us this far,” James said.
Other Heat reaction:
Center Chris Bosh, who was an essential contributor to the Game 7 victory with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, spoke about getting back in action in Game 5 of this series after missing nine games of the playoffs.
“I just wanted to get out there as soon as possible and contribute to this team,” Bosh said.
Bosh also looked ahead to the NBA Finals vs. the Thunder.
“We’ve been here before, and this time, we want to capitalize,” he said.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade discussed the Heat’s return to the Finals following a loss there last season to the Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s been a long 12 months. When you lose in the finals, it hurts,” Wade said. “Then you have to come into the season and you have forget it, but you can’t forget it, in a sense. You play, and you try to get back to this moment again so you can in a sense redeem yourself.”