Prior to flying to Boston for Game 7, Miami Heat players were told to pack for a week with the plan that they’d be in the NBA Finals, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
The Heat reportedly had a flight to Denver scheduled ahead of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and the positive mindset paid off. The Heat beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7, avoiding a historic collapse in the process.
“When the players got together Sunday to fly to Boston, the mood was better,” Windhorst wrote. “They were told to pack for a week because after the expectation of a win in Boston, they would move on to face the Denver Nuggets immediately for the start of the Finals.
“When they had their next film session at the team hotel, they saw they’d done a lot of positive things at the end of Game 6 that had given them the chance to win. And by Monday morning, when it was time for the Game 7 shootaround, the Heat were loose and focused, with Game 6 not even a glint in their eyes.”
With Monday’s win, the Heat now have a couple days off before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 1.
Miami, the No. 8 seed in the East, took a 3-0 series lead over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the team dropped three straight games (two at home), leading to a Game 7 at TD Garden on Memorial Day.
No team in the history of the NBA has ever won a series after being down 3-0, and Miami made sure that stayed intact, dominating the Celtics in Game 7. It was the team’s third road win of the series.
Miami was clearly confident that it could get the job done against Boston. If not, it wouldn’t have been so intent on making sure it was ready for the start of the NBA Finals in Denver.
The Nuggets, who swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, have had quite the layoff recently, as their last game was on May 22.
Denver is a tough opponent, especially at home, where it went 34-7 during the regular season. The Nuggets are also undefeated at Ball Arena in the playoffs.
The Heat are looking to change that, and the team seems to have the right mindset entering the NBA Finals. Miami is looking to become the first No. 8 seed in NBA history to win a title.