OKLAHOMA CITY — The Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year and they are still recovering and reflecting from a grueling seven-game series with the Celtics. As they spoke about facing the Oklahoma City Thunder in what is expected to be a thrilling series, they couldn’t help but acknowledge the Celtics.
LeBron James, who was critical in helping the Heat come back to win the final two games of the series, was asked whether his Games 6 and 7 performances — he scored a combined 75 points — was draining.
“Game 6, I felt great. I felt great. Mentally it was draining,” he said before preparing for Tuesday’s Game 1 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. “Physically it was draining, as well, but I felt great throughout that whole game. It’s draining when you finally get into the locker room and you just you guys always see me got my feet in the ice tub and my knees are wrapped.
“Then after Game 7, it was even more draining, just the emotions around that series, knowing the team we beat, I mean, it’s probably one of the best coached teams that you can ever compete against. Doc Rivers keeps those guys prepared, and they have four future Hall of Famers in Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo, KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray (Allen). It’s challenging going against those guys. So it was very draining not only Game 6 and Game 7, but series in general.”
Guard Dwyane Wade said the Heat are a different team than last year, when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games, and their Game 2 victory over the Celtics proved that.
“We had a lot of leads in that series in the fourth quarters, and we didn’t close them out.” he said. “But, you know, we’re just a different team now. I remember, I think Game 2 versus Boston, and we was down, I think, 15 in that game or something and we came back and won it in overtime. I remember me and LeBron telling Shane (Battier) last year, I don’t know if we would have won that game.”