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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heat pick over failed title challenge

AP

MIAMI — Everyone wanted the circus to end. That is, until the circus actually ended.

News photo
Not this time: LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade failed to win the NBA title in their first season together in Miami. AP

Such is life for the Miami Heat now, heading into the offseason.

A season of intense scrutiny, criticism, attention and intrigue ended without a championship, and while getting out of the spotlight for a while this summer may be of some consolation to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, nothing will completely soothe the fact that Year One of the Big Three ended with a loss in the NBA Finals.

"There was really no way to prepare for a season like this," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday, after Miami gathered for its exit meetings.

Even at the end, James found some of his words overly dissected and, he said, misinterpreted.

His offseason began with a clarification of something said after Sunday's night's season-ending loss to the new champion Dallas Mavericks, when part of his answer to a question about people being happy to see the Heat lose included the phrase "they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems."

On Tuesday, James tried to clean up the mess he inadvertently created.

"Basically, I was saying, at the end of the day, this season is over and with all the hatred not only myself, everyone else has to move on with their lives as well," James said. "They have to move on with their lives and their day-to-day, good or bad, and I do, too. At the end of the day, I've got to move on with my life. So it wasn't saying that I'm superior or better than anyone else, any man or woman on this planet. I'm not."

James' fourth-quarter offensive struggles in the Finals are still a talking point, even with the series now over and Dallas celebrating its crown. There were some reports Tuesday that he had skipped the team meetings for a vacation in the Bahamas. Privately, some team members told him at times during the season to stop paying attention to news reports about the team entirely.

"I always feel like LeBron does a great job of dealing with things," Wade said. "No one, no athlete gets scrutinized more than he does, for good or bad things. And I always commend him for the way he handles it. A lot of people can say a lot of things about him, but if you're not in his shoes, if you don't go through the things that he goes through, then you don't understand, you don't know how you would react to things and respond."

James offered some respect to the new champs later Tuesday. He posted a message on LeBronJames.com where he congratulated the Mavericks, especially Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. He also lauded the Miami fans, teammates, coaches, team president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison.

James closed the message with this: "A lot to learn from this year, a lot to build on, and a lot of work to do this summer."



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