Heat gracious towards Celtics in victory

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Heat gracious towards Celtics in victory

CSNNE.com wire reports

MIAMI -- The Heat said it often in this series: The Celtics laid the plan for what Miami needed to ultimately do to become champions.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade said it again when their team eliminated the C's in Game 5 Wednesday night.

"It's a great team," James said of Boston in the on-court celebration. "Like I said, I got the utmost respect for that team. They're the reason why all three of us came together, is because of what they did, that blueprint they had in '08 when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen all came together."

And the Heat knew that, to get where they wanted to go, they had to go through Boston.

"For us to go through the playoffs without playing Boston wouldn't have been right," said Wade.

"It was a series that all of us wanted, really since training camp," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

James put Miami up for good with a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining, then added a game-sealing - more aptly, a series-sealing - 3 with 40.4 seconds left.

"They make you fight for everything," James said of the Celtics. "You can never take the foot off the gas. You can never take a second off against that team."

And Wade believes the Celts will be back.

"The Boston Celtics ain't goin' nowhere," said Wade, who later added: "Obviously, this summer, those Hall of Fame guys, that organization's, going to be driven to avenge the defeat. And we wouldn't want it any other way whatsoever . . .

"They're going to continue to drive us, and we're going to continue to drive them."

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets, which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.