The Miami Heat didn’t just let their play in Game 6 provide a response to Warriors forward Draymond Green’s prediction about the NBA Finals. They flat-out thanked him.
After the Warriors advanced to the finals on Thursday, Green said he believed his team would face the Celtics in the championship series. On Friday, after the Heat forced a Game 7 vs. the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, Miami players expressed their gratitude.
Udonis Haslem, a 19-year NBA veteran who is more of a coach for the Heat than a player at this point, sought out television cameras to send a message of thanks to Green. In an ESPN interview, Heat guard P.J. Tucker closed by thanking Green.
“Everybody counted us out. Everybody thought the series was already over. I mean, that’s all the motivation we needed,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said.
In his postgame press conference, Tucker expanded on the Heat’s reaction to Green’s comments.
“It’s funny. We laughed. I thought it was funny because he knows better than anybody we still got to play the game. Got to play. There’s no guarantees of anybody winning in this league on a night-in and night-out basis,” Tucker said.
“These games have been crazy. They’ve been unpredictable all series, being at each other’s homes. We’re both great home teams. It’s just been crazy.
“It’s kind of weird to be a player and pick another team. I don’t know.”
The series continues Sunday in Miami. The winner faces Golden State beginning on Thursday.
Matt Pepin can be reached at email@example.com.