As the Boston Celtics made their run in the second half of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday to extend the series, Miami Heat captain Udonis Haslem led the team huddle during one of the timeouts.
“They were playing harder than we were, which we all knew,” wing Jimmy Butler said of Haslem’s message. “We’ve just got to correct that. That’s where it starts for us. Any time anybody is playing harder than we are, we are not playing our best basketball. I think a lot of it for us comes from how hard we play, how together we play, and we’ve got to get back to doing that.”
The Heat entered Sunday’s Game 6 against the Celtics just one victory away from clinching a spot in the NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James await the East champion.
Only two players on Miami’s roster have played in the NBA Finals before: Haslem and Andre Iguodala. It’s that experience Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is leaning on in these moments to help lead a roster that also includes eight players who are in the middle of their first postseason.