Heat prevail in Game 7 against the Pacers to seal Eastern Conference.
The Miami Heat clinched their third consecutive Eastern Conference championship on Monday night, eventually defeating the Indiana Pacers 99-76 to win the series 4-3.
As a result, the Heat will take on the San Antonio Spurs as they bid for back-to-back NBA championships, but coach Erik Spoelstra was full of praise for Indiana, who played their part in a very competitive and hard-fought series.
“They had a terrific year. Our hats go off to them in this series, they pushed us to get better and we had to play our best game of the series to get this one done,” he told TNT host Ernie Johnson Jr at the trophy presentation.
“The competition brought out the best in us. You see how bright these lights are right now, these guys love these kind of moments, and hopefully we can now get on to the next round,” he concluded.
Having been in this situation for the last two years, experience played a key factor as the Pacers were unable to cope with the intense defensive effort from Miami and the atmosphere at the American Airlines Arena.
Meanwhile, LeBron James thrived as he led the Heat with a game-high 32 points, with his aggressiveness and team-play not only benefiting the Heat, but also putting additional pressure on the Pacers who fell into foul trouble and looked unable to contend at times.
James looked ahead to the clash with Spurs suggesting that the only thing that changes is the personnel that they are facing.
“Our gameplan will not change. Our team disrupts, we fly around, we help one another and we share the ball offensively,” he stated.
The league MVP believes that if his team bring the same intensity and effort they have a great chance of lifting their second NBA championship in two years, and they will now rest and recover ahead of what will undoubtedly be another fascinating series.