May 12, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT
Back in February over All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, I got the chance to ask LeBron James about the Heat’s struggles with the Celtics. Up until that point, Boston had defeated Miami in all three of the teams’ meetings during the first half of the season, and it appeared as though the Celtics’ style of play, along with the fact that they had been together as a cohesive unit for more than three seasons, would be too much for Miami to overcome in a seven-game series.
Well, as we saw on Wednesday, the playoff series only went five. And LeBron now looks to be prophetic in his answers to my February questions, specifically when talking about how the playoffs would be very different from how things played out against the Celtics during the regular season.
“We’ve struggled, we definitely have,” James said of his team’s first three regular season games against Boston. “But we understand that every game is its own game, and regular season games aren’t playoff games, either. I go back to the year we swept the Spurs in the regular season (in 2007), and they swept us in the Finals. You want to play good in the regular season, (but) I’ve been around this league long enough to understand that the playoffs are totally different.”
When I asked what the Heat needed to fix to get by Boston, LeBron was quick to point out that his team didn’t need any fixing, only improved execution to get past the defending Eastern Conference champs.
“It’s not about fixing anything,” James said. “We have our system in place. It’s about improvement, on every aspect of our game, offensively and defensively. As we continue to improve, as practices and games continue to wear down, as we’re getting into late March and April, we’ll be fine.”
At the time, and given the way the Celtics had played against Miami in those early meetings, this seemed like nothing more than blind faith from James. But as it turned out, he was dead-on with his assessment.
Video of LeBron’s comments can be seen in the clip below.
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