Thu, Dec 15, 2011 - Page 19 News List

NBA: LeBron, Wade ready to lift Heat back to finals

AFP, MIAMI

The Miami Heat’s LeBron James, left, Dwyane Wade, second left, and Chris Bosh, third left, pose for photographers during a media day at the team’s training camp in Miami on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are putting last season’s heartbreaking loss in the NBA Finals behind them and rededicating themselves toward capturing a championship.

“We have to get over it and move on,” James said on Monday. “We can’t replay last season. We’re getting ready for the 2011-2012 season, not the 2010-2011 season.”

“We have moved on, but we will use some of the things we did well last year to get better and some of the failures we had last year to get us better,” he added.

The Heat lost to Dallas in the NBA Finals and Miami will open the upcoming lockout-shortened NBA season on Dec. 25 at Dallas, watching the Mavericks celebrate their first NBA title.

A year ago, James was the target of complaints after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami as an all-star lineup. They fell short of their ultimate goal last season, but are ready for another try.

“We didn’t come together to make the playoffs. We came together to win the NBA Finals,” James said.

“We know it’s a long road. We’re not going to shortcut any steps in the journey. We know what it takes to get there. We’re going to try to get back to that point,” he said.

As for lingering hard feelings after being portrayed as a villain by some for switching teams, James is taking it more in stride this time around.

“Not too much bothers me anymore,” he said. “I’m in a good place.”

James said the extra rest has helped prepare him for the rigors of playing 66 games in four months, almost a game every other night on average.

“I’m more alive, more excited to get back where I am,” James said. “I had two months off. I’m excited and happy to be back and happy to see the guys.”

Wade said the emphasis early in the season would be upon working into peak playing condition and avoiding injury. Wade used pilates, yoga and boxing workouts to occupy himself in the off-season.

“I did a lot of things to keep myself active and strong,” Wade said. “Now this is when you get into NBA shape. You can’t get into NBA shape without this. It’s good to be back here in training camp.”

Injuries kept the Heat from having its peak lineup on the court at the same time last season.

“We never got where we wanted to be all season,” James said. “We never got to a point where we were at full strength during the season.”

No club will have a fitness advantage when it comes to finding their form.

“Everybody is going to be in the same situation,” Wade said. “There’s going to come a time when we all have to get our second wind. There’s no advantages [sic]. We want to be in shape and play our style on both sides of the floor.”

James expects the defensive side will come along much quicker than the scoring punch.

“Defensively we’re going to be good no matter who is on the floor,” James said. “We have a system and our coaches are good at implementing that system. Offensively we will get better as we get time on the floor.”

“After looking at the first couple practices, we are head and shoulders above where we were last year, and we should be,” he added.

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