Wade and the Heat not content after beating Boston


May 15

When the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bulls and Heat tips off Sunday at the United Center, Miami guard Dwyane Wade knows what to expect from the 23,000 or so on hand. But it’s nothing this Heat team hasn’t experienced before, he said.

“We’re used to hostile environments,” Wade said following the Heat’s Sunday morning shootaround. “We’ll just come out and play the game. We understand that this is a very good home team, one of the best home teams in the league. It’s a very good home crowd. But at the end of the day, we have to play the game of basketball in between these lines.”

Following an impressive 4-1 series win over the Boston Celtics, Wade made it clear that the Miami Heat are not satisfied by simply reaching the conference finals.

“Our goal was not to beat Boston,” stated Wade. “Our goal was to win a championship. The Chicago Bulls showed they were the best team in the NBA this year no matter what anyone says. We want to be the best; we got to beat the best. We’ve got to go through them and they have home court for a reason.”

If the regular season is any indication, the Heat have some work to do. The Bulls were one of two teams to sweep the Heat this year, along with the Dallas Mavericks, but won the three games versus Miami by only a combined eight points.

And while much of the discussion surrounding this highly anticipated matchup has focused on the three superstars in the series—NBA MVP Derrick Rose, Wade and LeBron James—Wade views it a little differently.

“I see it as two great teams in the Eastern Conference Finals,” said Wade. “Obviously we have marquee names in the game and it’s not just Derrick Rose and LeBron and myself. It’s Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer and a lot of guys who were touted in free agency.”

Wade is also quick to give credit where credit is due, and in Chicago’s case, Rose is the deserving recipient of a lot of praise. But Wade also understands the Bulls are not a one-man show.

“They weren’t the best team in the league just because of Derrick Rose,” said Wade. “Obviously he’s a big part of it, but everyone on that team does their job to the T. One thing I’ll say about this team is they are very consistent. Everyone on that team knows their role, plays their role, and they do it consistently on a nightly basis. They’re great because of all of them.”

Wade admitted Game 1 carries a little more importance being the opening matchup in the series, as well as the first time this postseason the Heat have opened a series on the road. But he insists he and his teammates are up for the challenge.

“It’s kind of surreal in a way to be back in my hometown playing in the Eastern Conference Finals,” said Wade. “I’ve never thought about it, but what better way for me to start off, to come out and really be focused and understand what this is really about?”

Audio—Heat guard Dwyane Wade at Game 1 shootaround (05.15.2011):

Wakeup call not necessary for LeBron

Heat forward LeBron James may not have gotten as much sleep as he wanted Saturday night, but he took advantage of his early awakening.

“Can’t sleep! To excited right now. Breaking down film til I fall back to sleep,” James wrote on his Twitter account at 5:38 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It took me about an hour and a half to get back to sleep,” James said after the Heat’s shootaround, adding he’d try to get a few hours of sleep this afternoon. “I’m just excited. I’m a little sleepy now, but I’m excited about the opportunity tonight. It’s going to be fun.”

Battle of the boards could be crucial

Given the Bulls outrebounded the Heat 131-90 over three meetings in the regular season, Miami forward Chris Bosh was asked about how his frontcourt might improve this time around.

“We’ll just go get the ball,” said Bosh. “There’s no science to it. It’s just hard work and wanting it more than the other team. I think, collectively, we’re going to have to win the war on the boards because that’s the most important thing in this series.

“They both crash the boards extremely hard, especially off of Derrick Rose’s penetration,” added Bosh of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. “Booz is capable of scoring and Joakim is just an all-around glue guy.”

Bulls and Heat NBA Playoffs news and notes

Chicago swept the season series (3-0) against the Heat for the first time since the 1991-92 campaign … the Bulls won the three games by an average of 2.6 points (8 points combined) … the Bulls and Heat have not met in the playoffs since an Eastern Conference First Round matchup in 2007 that Chicago won 4-1 … Chicago is advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998, while Miami last advanced to the Conference Finals in 2006 (on their way to winning the NBA Championship) … this also marks the second time these two teams have met in the Conference Finals (1997: Bulls won 4-1) … in three games this season, Derrick Rose averaged a team high 29.0 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 3.3 rpg, while Dwyane Wade posted 29.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.7 apg in three games against the Bulls … this marks the fourth time in Heat franchise history that have advanced to the Conference Finals (1997: Lost to Bulls 4-1, 2005: Lost to Pistons 4-3, 2006: Defeated the Pistons 4-2).

Audio—Heat forward Chris Bosh at Game 1 shootaround (05.15.2011):

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