Miami Heat Approach NBA Finals 2-1 Lead Differently from Last Year

by June 19, 2012

Everyone remembers the Miami Heat blowing a 2-1 lead in the championship round against the Dallas Mavericks last season. No one has clearer — and more painful — recollections of that collapse than LeBron James and his teammates. They say that they’re approaching this series against the OKC Thunder with a different mindset. From Fox Sports: “And since the Heat now lead 2-1 over Oklahoma City in these Finals, the same margin they had last year, Game 4 is now the most discussed Miami painful moment. ‘Yeah, of course it stuck with us, all the way to this day,’ forward LeBron James said. It might stick more with James than anyone. The absence of a title ring on his finger has been well documented, and it was looking as if he was ready to be sized. James, though, picked a bad time to have perhaps the worst playoff game of his career. He shot 3-of-11 for a career playoff-low eight points. The Heat looked as if they might survive James’ brutal night when they led 74-65 in the fourth quarter. But the Mavericks stormed back to win 86-83, and then claimed the next two games to take the series 4-2. ‘We’re a totally different team than we were last year when we were up 2-1,’ James said. ‘We understand what it takes to win, and we’ve used that motivation, and we will continue to use that motivation.’ […] ‘Every day, we remind ourselves, we think of that pain that we experienced last year,’ said forward Chris Bosh. […] ‘We didn’t capitalize on our situation,’ Bosh said of last year. ‘We had a major opportunity and we let it slip through.’ So what happened? If you listen to Heat players, they’re pretty candid about it. ‘Don’t get too confident,’ is what guard Mario Chalmers said Miami has learned. ‘Last year, being up 2-1, we might have drunk the Kool-Aid just a tad bit and it could have possible cost us as a team,’ said forward Udonis Haslem. ‘This year we remain humble, we remain hungry and we remain motivated and focused.'”