The Miami Heat held off a late rally to defeat the Boston Celtics 93-86 on Tuesday night.
They had to do so without star guard Dwyane Wade, who missed his third consecutive game with a knee injury.
Without Wade, LeBron James has to carry more of a load and play more minutes, something the Heat, who are attempting to win a third consecutive championship, don’t want to do. They’d rather keep James’ minutes down so he is fresh in the postseason.
James admits it’s been difficult on him and his teammates.
“With some of the guys being in and out, and with the concern with D-Wade, it’s been tough on all of us trying to fill that,” James told Michael Wallace of ESPN. “We’ve just got to be able to do a little bit more consistently, and go in with the mindset sometimes that he’s not playing instead of [he is] playing.”
Of course, Wade isn’t the only Heat player to miss time. Several other veterans have spent time on the bench, but the Heat have to power through it and won’t make excuses.
“I can say from a rhythm standpoint, it’s kind of hurt us,” James said. “And we’re a team that’s built on rhythm, built on chemistry, and we’ve had so many lineup changes, so many different guys in and out with injuries that it’s kind of hurt our performance. We don’t like to use it as a crutch or as an excuse.”