It's a grind, though, for a team that will be playing its 100th game of the season Sunday. Wade has battled a painful right knee for a while, Chris Bosh is in a shooting slump, and the minutes are adding up for LeBron James, who has played deep into June the last three years and then competed in the Olympics last year.
"It's a toll for myself to go through what I've been through the last 2½ years. But I've been blessed, I've been blessed to be able to be in three finals, I've been blessed to be a part of a great Olympic team and to play basketball, the game that I love," James said.
"I'm not going to be able to do it forever. The opportunities that the game has given me for the last couple of years, I wouldn't substitute that for rest," he said.
James and the Heat at least got some with two days off following the Spurs' 92-88 victory in Game 1. Both James and Wade had mentioned fatigue when talking about Miami's poor fourth-quarter performance, just three nights after the end of a difficult, seven-game series against Indiana to decide the Eastern Conference championship.
The break gave the Heat more time to examine ways their own Big Three can be successful on offense, as well as get some more defensive pressure on the Spurs, who committed just four turnovers — none by Parker — in the opener.
"I think it's been great for us, these last I don't know how many hours it's been since Game 1," James said. "But we've used the time, I think, wisely in this case."
They showed up in better spirits Saturday, James and Wade among several players taking part in a post-practice shooting contest, the kind of fun it seemed they would always have from the moment they debuted as Miami teammates three years ago in a welcoming party that rivaled a rock concert.
There will be time for partying if they rally to win the series after a one-game deficit, just as they did last year in the finals. The Heat haven't lost consecutive games in five months, and they know this is no time to start.
"We're not a team that really says too much this is a must-win game, but this is a must-win game for us," Wade said. "We have to win this game at home."
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