BOSTON -- No shocker here, but Dwyane Wade pretty much hates the Celtics. Before Monday’s game, Wade said he respects the Eastern Conference rival but also has a “hatred” for Boston that’s not there for other teams.
“Playoffs, battles — I don’t have this history with other teams like I do with the Celtics. Every year, we’ve been booked to play them in the playoffs in some way — first round, Eastern Conference finals … second round. So, it’s a dislike.”
For Wade and the Celtics, the history runs deep and caustic. Entering Monday’s game, the Heat had lost 10 in a row at Boston in the regular season. In the postseason, the Heat has faced Boston twice in the past two years.
But hate isn’t the same as loathing. Despite his strong feelings, Wade still holds the Celtics in high regard.
“No doubt about it, I respect those guys,” Wade said. “You respect guys when you see them later, but when you play each other, it’s a dislike.”
Even Wade’s friendship with Celtics coach Doc Rivers is put on hold during game.
“I like Doc Rivers. He’s a Marquette guy, so I like him,” Wade said. “But after the game and not before.”
The Heat was shooting 49.6 percent from the field before Monday, which is on pace to set a franchise record for shooting percentage in a single season. Miami’s shooting percentage from three-point range (.386) is also above the franchise mark for a season.
The Heat was nowhere near those numbers in its first game in Boston this season.
Before Monday’s game, Erik Spoelstra and the Heat talked about remaining efficient against the Celtics. In the Heat’s last game in Boston on Jan. 27, the Heat shot 40.6 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from three-point range.
“What we talked about was playing better than we did the last time we were here,” Spoelstra said. “We were very inefficient, and a lot of it is a credit to them and how they play. They took us out of our game, and they played better than us. But, offensively, it was one of our poorer games of the season.”
Chances are good Spoelstra reminded Ray Allen to control his emotions and avoid shooting the Heat out of the game. In his first visit to Boston since joining the Heat, he was 7 of 17 from the field and 2 of 8 from three-point range.
Wade said the biggest challenge the team faced Monday was remaining calm. Throughout the streak, Wade said the one constant has been Miami’s ability to balance its emotions in tight games. That’s not always the case in Boston.
“The biggest thing is we haven’t got rattled at one point,” Wade said. “We haven’t blown every team out throughout this run. We’ve had to come back. We haven’t gotten rattled and that’s a good thing.
“For [Monday], it’s a great opportunity for us because here in Boston, this team beats you mentally sometime more than physically.”
Before Monday, the Heat was winless in its past 10 road games against the Celtics, and 0-5 in Boston in the regular season since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the team. The 0-10 mark was the longest active road-losing streak for the Heat.
Next on the list are the Hornets, who have defeated the Heat six consecutive times in New Orleans.