LeBron James planned to spend a large part of Saturday studying film, looking for any edge that the Miami Heat may use against the Boston Celtics.
Film from this season, that is. No need to watch the Celtics inflicting past playoff wounds on him. Those remain fresh – and time has not yet healed them.
The inability to beat Boston is one of the biggest reasons why James is now wearing a Miami Heat uniform. He’ll get a third attempt to top the Celtics in a postseason series starting today when the teams collide in Game 1 of what could be an epic Eastern Conference semifinal.
“It is personal,” James said Saturday as the Heat finished practice. “It is. Absolutely right. You don’t want to keep getting beat by the same team, the same team keep sending you home to plan a vacation. So it is personal.”
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The Celtics expected him to say nothing less.
“It would be personal for me,” Boston forward Paul Pierce said. “I’m sure he’s going to take it personal and you’ve got to expect his best.”
Unwittingly or not, the Celtics played a huge role in pushing James toward Miami for a strength-in-numbers approach with the Heat that wasn’t possible during the two-time MVP’s stint with the Cavaliers.
Collectively, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh figure to rate a better chance, and that theory is about to get put to the real test. They left a combined $51 million on the bargaining table last summer, and victory in this best-of-seven series may make that money seem well-spent.
“I think you’ve got two really good teams, two teams with a lot of will, two teams with a lot of pride,” Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said. “And I think it’s going to be a great series.”
ROSE: NO MVP YET
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose insists the NBA has not informed him he has won the MVP, regardless of what teammate C.J. Watson has said on Twitter.
He said “no, not yet” Saturday when asked if he had been told he won the award.
Rose’s comment came a day Watson caused a stir by posting a congratulatory post on Twitter.
The message read: “Congrats to drose on winning the MVP he’s played unbelievable this season!!!”
Rose is a top MVP candidate after averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago to a league-best 62-20 record.