Heat wrap up home-court throughout NBA playoffs

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2013 at 2:26 am •  Published: April 11, 2013

Boston plays at Miami on Friday in an Eastern Conference finals rematch from a year ago. On Sunday, Chicago — the team that snapped Miami's 27-game winning streak — visits the Heat. After that, all that remains for Miami is two matchups with lottery-bound clubs, one of those games being a trip to James' former home court in Cleveland, followed by a home finale against Orlando.

There's playoff ramifications for the Celtics and Bulls in those games, though it's unclear how or if that may sway the Heat thinking when it comes to assembling a lineup, especially with all these little nagging injury issues popping up so close to the postseason.

"It's always nice to have home-court, especially in front of our fans the way they get involved in games and how well we play at home," Heat forward Mike Miller said. "It'll be a big advantage for us — we hope."

Miami has the league's second-best home record so far this season, trailing only the Denver Nuggets. And since James and Bosh arrived in Miami, the Heat are 20-4 in home postseason games, with one of those losses being the Game 6 defeat to Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals.

That's why the Heat aren't overstating the importance of home-court advantage.

"It's nice. It's nice. It's not everything," Battier said. "Our mindset last year was 'Anyone, anywhere.' And I think that's the best mindset going into the playoffs, but it was nice to have a Game 7 against Boston at home, in retrospect."

The next week or so will not be vacation time for Miami, regardless of who's in uniform for the remaining four games.

First, the training room will be a bustling place, with so many players having so many issues that necessitate at least some form of treatment right now. James is notorious for studying absurd amounts of film and tendencies for his playoff opponents, a process that will begin when someone is locked into the No. 8 spot on the East bracket. And since March 22, the "Big Three" of Wade, Bosh and James have played together only twice.

Then again, this is also the time of year Miami has been waiting for since last year's NBA Finals ended.

"You can't be afraid of success," Spoelstra said. "And we've had a target on our back all year and in the playoffs that's the way it should be coming off of the finals from last year. So we talked about it from the very first day of training camp — this is a different year, a different journey and it's already shaping up to be that. We had to earn the home court. We'll have to prove it now when we get there."