The Heat returned to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2020 when they lost to the Lakers. Miami was in a pole position in the Eastern Conference Finals as they took a 3-0 lead in the series against the Celtics. What seemed to be an easy path to the finals turned out to be a dog fight. Boston responded by winning three times in a row to force Game 7.
With the momentum seemingly on the side of the Celtics, the Heat managed to and win Game 7 comfortably (103-84). Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra talked after the game about how his team approached the final game of the series.
“Sometimes you have to suffer for the things that you want,” Spoelstra said. “After Game 6 the only thing that we could is sometimes you have to laugh at the things that make you cry. We did so many things right. I think from a metric standpoint we did everything the best that we did all of the playoffs.
“Our defensive activity numbers, rotations, the extra efforts, the pursuits on the offensive glass, five turnovers. We felt like we did all the right things. We had our season high numbers of attacks and then to come up short that could puncture a team spirit, but instead that just drove us to more resolve to try to get the job done.
“I definitely noticed it from after the Atlanta game the next day in the film session how badly this team wanted to keep this season going. And then I felt the exact same way yesterday when we met after our flight. Everybody got to get everything out their system from the night before and then we just focused on rallying around each other and focusing on the next task.
“We have some incredible competitors in that locker room. They love the challenge. They love putting themselves out there in front of everybody. Open to criticism. Open to everything. But to compete for it, and that’s a beautiful thing. We know we have more work to do, but damn this is hard, it’s hard business and it’s hard to survive three rounds just out get to that final round. We’re extremely grateful for that. We’re not even thinking about this next round until we get to Denver.”