The Heat are downplaying the notion the Celtics could enter the Eastern finals tired after two grueling series. They defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games and needed a Game 7 to finish off the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
"That's ridiculous," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We don't buy into any of that. They didn't look exhausted playing against two of the quicker, younger teams in this league.''
The Heat are looking at this as the second-best possible matchup at this stage after the top-seeded Chicago Bulls lost to the Sixers in the first round. The Bulls fell victim to injuries after Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were sidelined.
"It's inevitable,'' Wade said. "It's the matchup the game of basketball wants. Obviously, with the Chicago Bulls, this is the biggest matchup the Eastern Conference can have.''
Wade added he doesn't expect the Celtics to be a pushover because of their age. They still feature three future of Hall of Famers â" Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen â" and point guard Rajon Rondo, who is one of the league's rising stars.
"They're not going to ever quit," Wade said. "Last year, yeah, we beat them in five, but it [felt like] a nine-game series. â¦ This is the Boston Celtics, they're all 100 percent to me."
No sympathy for Celtics
Good luck finding any Heat player shedding a tear about the Celtics' injury woes. Guard Avery Bradley (shoulder) is out for the season, while Allen has battled bone spurs in his ankles recently.
"No excuses," Wade said. "Not getting into it. We don't have Chris Bosh."
Wade said the Heat will prepare for Allen the same way they have previously.
"Ray Allen is on our scouting report with a red sign next to it because he's very important," Wade said.
Chalmers the key