San Antonio mirror our commitment, says Miami's Dwyane Wade
Heat point guard says Spurs have the same combative spirit and self-belief as they do on court as NBA Finals head into game three
Dwyane Wade thinks there is no team better than the Miami Heat at dealing with the mental challenge of the play-offs. In his eyes, only one other team might compare. He is talking about the San Antonio Spurs.
That is why Wade believes these NBA Finals are just getting started.
When he looks at the Spurs, he sees qualities his own team have, including an ability to break down a loss and quickly correct things.
It's what Miami did before game two of the finals and it's what Wade expects the Spurs to do before the title series resumes with game three in Miami (this morning, Hong Kong time).
"You never put them away," Wade said. "I think they always believe and it's the same with us.
"You can't, you won't, put us away because we're always going to believe. That's why this is a perfect, different animal, kind of series. They're the other team like us.
"They don't lose much and when they do they come back and be better in the next game.
"So we've got to come out and do the same thing."
That would explain why on Monday, instead of a day off, the Heat gathered to watch a video of game two.
By winning in San Antonio to even the finals at 1-1, home-court advantage belongs to the Heat. But no one in their locker room thinks it is going to get easy now.
"They came out great. They played a great game," Spurs guard Tony Parker said after Miami's 98-96 win in game two, the 13th straight time the Heat immediately followed a postseason loss with a victory.
"Now it's our turn to go over there and get one. We played pretty well all season long on the road and so we're going to have two great opportunities to come up with a win."
Miami have won a franchise-record 11 straight postseason games at home.
The last team to win a play-off game in Miami was the Spurs, in game one of last season's finals.
"We are in a tough situation because we've got to go to Miami and we've got to get one," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said.
"We don't want to come back here 3-1 down. It's very hard to overcome that. Definitely going to be a great challenge."
A challenge, sure, but it is one Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows the Spurs can handle.
"Coming back here there has to be an incredible sense of focus and urgency," Spoelstra said.
"They're a veteran, poised, championship-level team that's been through a lot. The crowd won't affect them much."
Neither team thought they played all that well in the games they have won in the finals.
The Spurs turned the ball over too much for their liking in game one - the game that will be remembered for the air conditioning malfunction and cramps inside a steamy building forcing LeBron James to leave in the final minutes. In game two the Heat were not thrilled with a slow start and how they spent much of the game playing from behind.
When James got rolling in the third quarter, things started swinging Miami's way. When he found Chris Bosh for the three-pointer that put Miami ahead for good with 1:18 left, it was just another example of the four-time MVP setting a teammate up for a big play.
"I'm going to make the right play," said James, who signalled to Bosh about what he wanted on that play. "To have that trust from my teammates, they know when I've got the ball, I'm going to make the right play. Doesn't mean it's going to go in. Doesn't mean it's going to result in a win, but they believe in my ability."
The pressure, if Miami had not found a way to win in the final moments of game two, would have been enormous on the two-time defending champions.
Now, it seems to have shifted to the Spurs. "It doesn't matter what we've been through before," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "We're here now again."
The last time these teams met in Miami at this time of year, the Heat wound up spraying champagne in their locker room.
All Miami need to do for a third straight title is stay unbeaten at home. But Bosh will not go there. "I can only think about game three," Bosh said. "We have to make sure that we play well and keep it that way."