May 11, 2011, 8:12 AM EDT
With the torch about to be passed — not willingly, but it may happen Wednesday night anyway — the Miami Heat are paying homage.
They told Kevin Arnovitz at ESPN that without what Boston did in forming it’s big three back in the summer of 2007 — Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen coming to join Paul Pierce — what they wanted to do would never have happened.
“They set the blueprint for us when they decided to make the trade for [Kevin Garnett] and for Ray [Allen],” James said. “Seeing guys make sacrifices to come together and play as one. They set the blueprint and went out there and did it. They won a championship. They competed every year.”
“With LeBron losing to Boston in Cleveland in the playoffs, he felt like, ‘I gotta do more, I need to be around more to contend for a championship,’ ” Wade said. “Me feeling the same way going into the summer, saying that I needed more, it was because of Boston. They knocked us out.”
The three veterans of the Celtics seemed to blend from day one, coming out hot that first season together and never real cooling off until they were raising the Larry O’Brien trophy over their heads.
It was not like that for the Heat, they struggled to find what worked for them. They did it under a brighter spotlight than the Celtics, hearing about every misstep.
But they have figured it out now. And they are very close to grabbing the torch away from their inspiration.
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