Basketball / Sports

The Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (1) blocks the shot of Charlotte Bobcats' Josh McRoberts (11) in the second half in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, April 28, 2014. The Heat beat the Bobcats, 109-98, and swept the series, 4-0. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/MCT)

Vintage highlights help keep Miami Heat focused during postseason

MIAMI -- For the playoffs, the pregame scene has changed in the Miami Heat locker room.

Before, the players would watch film on the upcoming opponent. During the regular season, it was common to see footage of the current NBA on the television screen.

Now, things have changed.

The Heat have taken a throwback approach during their attempt at a third straight championship. They watch vintage highlights from days of when the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls dominated the league in the 1980s and '90s.

"We started going back to the older games," guard Dwyane Wade said. "It's not just the '80s games. They play a lot of older games. It's just good to see the competition at those times. Certain series that we've watched, you just see how competitive it was. You look at this time of year and nothing is promised to anyone. Everyone has an opportunity now."

The idea of turning back the clock was hatched by guard Ray Allen. He thought it would be beneficial to watch playoff series from the past to help with team focus. The fact ESPN recently aired a documentary on the "Bad Boys" Pistons also played a role in the nostalgia.

"I thought when I was asked about what to watch, I thought it would be a good idea to get us in that sense of urgency," Allen said. "The Bad Boys piece just came out, and in the locker room we talked about how intense it was and that's the sense of urgency we need to have."

The Heat began watching old games during their first-round series against the Charlotte Bobcats. Coach Erik Spoelstra said players grew tired of watching current film. First, it was the Celtics versus the Pistons. Then the Bulls against the Pistons. And those great Lakers-Celtics rivalries from the '80s.

"You remember watching those games back in the day, but you don't remember how those guys played," Wade said. "It's a lot of things you forget about that time. To be able to watch that while you're sitting in the locker room for 30, 45 minutes, it's always good to keep the brain working and keep your mind on the game."

The games have helped create the proper mind-set as the Heat try to accomplish this rare feat. They are attempting to become the first team to play in four straight NBA Finals since the Celtics from 1984-87. The Lakers from 1982-85 are the only other team to do it since the Bill Russell-led Celtics competed in 10 straight Finals.

Center Chris Bosh said looking back helps the Heat avoid overconfidence. It gives them the opportunity to see how difficult it was.

"It's good to kind of look back and see what those guys went through," Bosh said. "I've always loved looking at those games. People think the '87-88 Lakers had a cakewalk, but if you watch the games they really had to gut it out. ... I just enjoy watching those games. You watch those games and it was brutal out there. You know what's ahead. You're watching other guys go toe-to-toe and it's awesome."

The practice will continue throughout the remainder of the postseason. Aside from the '80s, they have managed to sprinkle in a few other great moments in playoff history. Before a recent practice, they watched the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors upset the No. 1 Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs.

"It's pretty much the video guys picking a lot of the old games," forward Udonis Haslem said. "We sit down and watch them and we crack jokes. Sometimes, we learn stuff from it, and sometimes we pick at it. We're just getting a basketball mind-set. We've pretty much seen all the current games. It's not as interesting as something from the '90s or the '80s. We're watching our childhood heroes and how they used to play the game."

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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