Jun 20, 2012, 4:32 PM EDT
MIAMI — There was a calm confidence around the Miami Heat as they went through practice Wednesday in preparation for Game 5 Thursday night. You could sense it. They may be up 3-1 with a chance to close it out, but they were business like.
“Honestly, it feels like a normal prep day,” Shane Battier said. “You come in, get treatment, look at film, talk about adjustments. For us it’s about building, it’s about getting better. After looking at the tape there is so much room for improvement.”
The biggest improvement would be a healthy LeBron James — who cramped badly in his legs near the end of Game 4.
“I feel a lot better than we did last night, that’s clear…” LeBron said Wednesday after a light “practice” that say nothing physical for the key rotation players. “I’m still a little sore because of the muscles just kind of being (used) at an intense level. Very tight, I’m still sore.”
The Heat expect him to be all the way back and ready to go come Thursday night.
There have been no easy wins for the Heat in this series — all three of their victories have been by single digits. They seemed to recognize that if they coast even a little — something that as a team they have been prone to do — they will be on a plane headed back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 rather than in a parade through South Beach.
But they were business-like in their approach to it. Battier said that started with Pat Riley and flowed through Erik Spoelstra.
“You’ve got to absolutely immerse yourself into the process and the focus,” Spoelstra said. “It’s Game 5. We want to treat it as a Game 7….
“It’s been well documented the experience we went though last year and the pain and all that. It doesn’t guarantee anything. Experience is a great teacher. You know, hopefully all those experiences will help us.”
The Heat carried themselves like a wise, experienced team on Wednesday. We’ll find out Thursday night if they really have learned from the past.
- NBA Playoff Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards 5
- Report: Steve Kerr “expects” to be offered, will take Knicks coaching job 4
- Why shot-location defense matters 3
- NBA Playoff Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers 6
- Are the Warriors championship favorites? Adjusting for playoff rotations says yes 13