Heat looking forward to Knicks playoff series, not backwards at old rivalry

The mood was light at the Heat practice at the AAA on the eve of their first game of the playoff series against the New York Knicks. See what Erik Spoelstra and Chris Bosh had to say about the series on video and also check out the transcript below of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's thoughts on entering the postseason together for the second time...

LeBron James

On the team’s mounting injuries at the end of the regular season...

Going into the postseason, we’re a confident bunch. We’re excited. We have a comfort level so I don’t think it’s much of a concern. As far as fatigue with CB, he may get a little fatigued not playing as much as of late but I don’t feel like it’s any concern as far our game plan.

Is there a concern about any loss of rhythm?

I don’t know, we don’t know really until you get out there. I could tell you we’re right back in the rhythm we were in but you don’t know, we haven’t been out on the court in a couple of weeks but I’m confident that we are.

On entering the postseason again....

It’s exciting. I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m excited for the whole season, always have been in my career. This is my seventh time being in the postseason and it’s another challenge. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing our fans tomorrow afternoon and try to put on a show for them.

On the bench players getting more playing time at the close of the regular season...

They benefitted a lot. They got an opportunity to go out there and play significant minutes, more than they’re accustomed to. But we have a veteran ball club, it’s not like we have young guys playing significant minutes besides Norris and Terrel. We have veteran guys that have played big minutes. Those guys are looking forward to the postseason as much as we are.

On prepping for the playoffs...

I think this is the best part of the season. Guys have extensive time to study an opponent, study an individual matchup, study a team’s likes and dislikes. This is when the students come out, this is when your books out and get into the film room and actually hone in on someone’s pros and cons and things like that. At this level, you have to know it and you want to know it so you can try to have an advantage over your opponent. But everyone is doing it, it’s just who does it harder and who does it more consistent throughout the end.

On getting ready for the Knicks with such little time to prepare...

Mentally I got in on them. I didn’t go through the books or the film sessions but mentally I started to think about the Knicks, the match ups, their personnel, things like that. So my mind had already started working. I kind of put more emphasis on them than Philly because I had Philly in the back pocket from last year in the postseason so I knew I could always resort to that.

Dwyane Wade

On Heat fans and the playoff atmosphere at the AAA...

A lot of people say a lot of things about the Miami fans but our fans have been great. They’ve been great for us all year and we know it’s going to turn up a notch. They turn up a notch just like the players do when the playoffs come so we look forward to the atmosphere.

Overall thoughts on the upcoming Heat vs Knicks series....

It’s going to be a very entertaining series, a very physical series. You’re going to have some stars being stars and have some great role players being great role players. It has everything you want. It’s great for the game of basketball, it’s great for this rivalry to continue so for us I think it’s great that we start off with a team that really makes you focus and understand you have to play your best to beat them. I think that’s great for us to come in the first round to not have any letdowns. We’ve got to come in right away early, knowing we’re playing a very good team.

Wade_practice_KnicksAny loss of rhythm from taking this much time off?

I think we’ll be alright. Obviously, throughout a playoff series and throughout a whole playoff run, you’re going to have ups and downs and you’re going to have different adjustments you got to make. So we’ll deal with whatever comes our way. We have enough talent, enough veteran guys that can deal with it all. I’m not really worried about the continuity, it’s just guys getting back into a rhythm and the flow and tomorrow is about letting our energy take us more so than about the execution starting off the game. We’re going to start with the energy that’s going to be in this building.

On the Heat vs Knicks history and if he has any favorite moments from the rivalry...

Since it seemed like the Heat was on the losing side of a lot of those, it’s not really my favorite being a Heat myself. (I liked) the competitive nature of those series. One of my favorite (moments) is when Riley went back to the Garden and seeing him get on the court and celebrate the boos. That was kind of awesome.

On the significance of this series...

Once the ball tips off, it’s a series we’re both trying to win. Obviously, it makes great headlines and it makes everyone in the organization really tune in to what’s going on. All their hard work that they’ve been doing all season, it’s kind of like they’re looking at us like, ‘All right, go out and get it done for us’. But you know, once the ball tips up it’s another game and a very talented, a very willing opponent that we have to take it possession-by-possession, game-by-game.

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