Heat Veteran Udonis Haslem Sounds off on ‘Hangover’ From Celtics Elimination

Udonis Haslem

Getty Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat looks on before Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 21, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.

After being a missed Jimmy Butler three-pointer away from advancing to last year’s NBA Finals, many people expected the Miami Heat to come into this season on a warpath to avenge themselves from that loss. But so far, it has been a struggle for head coach Erik Spoelstra and company as they have placed as low as 12th in the standings this season.

Slowly but surely, they have pulled themselves out of the hole they were in to start this season as they now find themselves in 7th place. However, Heat veteran Udonis Haslem admits that after such a tough loss in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, the Heat had a “little hangover” to start this season.

“Sometimes you have a little hangover. We had a long season last year. One shot away from the Finals,” Haslem said to Wes Goldberg of The Ringer.

“Sometimes you just expect to pick up where you left off. We expect the camaraderie and everything to pick up where it left off, and we maybe forgot how hard we had to work to get that chemistry.”

Bam Adebayo Sounds off on Tough Playoff Elimination

Everything seemed set up for the Heat to return to the NBA Finals for the second time since 2020. They had the home court advantage, a true superstar in Butler, added an All-Star point guard in Kyle Lowry, and a lockdown defender in PJ Tucker. And when they forced a Game 7 on their home floor in an already grueling series with the Boston Celtics, they seemed destined to be Eastern Conference Champions.

But losing in the waning moments of the fourth quarter of that Game 7 was not just any regular loss. It was a gut punch of epic proportions. Heat superstar Bam Adebayo says it is something that has forever changed him and his teammates.

“Everybody was done. When you go home and you were maybe 2 inches away from being in the Finals again, everybody’s miserable. And then everybody goes their separate ways,” Adebayo told The Ringer.

“Knowing that the team is coming back the same, nobody can come back the same. Everybody looked at themself in the mirror and was like, ‘I have to be better at something when I come back.’”

Erik Spoelsta Sounds off on Heat’s ‘Moving Parts’

Part of the problem is that the team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last spring is not the same team that Miami has put on the floor this season. PJ Tucker went to the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency, and they have dealt with a slew of injuries to key players this season.

Coach Spoelstra admits that Miami has what he calls “moving parts” but the Heat have to find a way to weather that storm if they hope to have any success this season.

“We do have some moving parts,” Spoelstra said to The Ringer. “So, each game we have to understand what our identity is, how can we get to that more consistently, and then get the group playing comfortable, confident, in rhythm.”

Slowly but surely, the Heat have begun to climb the Eastern Conference rankings. They will have a chance to build upon that in their next game against the Indiana Pacers.

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