The Miami Heat heard San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan loud and clear.
"They don't like us. They don't," LeBron James told news reporters Monday in Miami. "I can sense it from Timmy's comments over the last couple of days. … They want us, so they got us."
Winning a championship is motivation enough, but players often look for an extra edge. The Spurs are bent on revenge. The Heat have on eye on history, trying to become the fourth NBA franchise to win three consecutive championships (along with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls).
"You get to the Finals, you use everything as motivation," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
Miami now has a Duncan quote for its bulletin board. In an on-court TNT interview after the San Antonio Spurs clinched their second consecutive Western Conference title, Duncan said, "We've got four more to win. We'll do it this time."
He later added, "We're happy it's the Heat again. We've got that bad taste in our mouths still."
The Heat know the Spurs badly wanted another shot at the Heat, and it's here. Game 1 is Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).