The Miami Heat were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games this season.
But while LeBron James and the Cavaliers will undoubtedly be disappointed by their performance in the playoffs, the Heat will look to capitalize on their chance to win the Eastern Conference title.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve struggled, and we’re not ready to lose.
But we have a lot of energy and belief,” Heat forward James Johnson told ESPN Miami on Tuesday.
“We’re going to continue to fight, we’re going, and hopefully, we’ll be able to come out of this with a lot more momentum than we did the last time out.”
The Heat’s two losses were to the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Heat went into Tuesday’s game with a 17-7 record heading into the playoffs.
It’s the second time in three years that the Heat have missed the playoffs and have gone on to win their division.
Miami is currently on the outside looking in as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Division, but it is already preparing for another difficult stretch of the season as they seek to defend their division crown.
The Heat will play three games against teams that are currently in the playoff picture.
The first is the Celtics on Wednesday night, followed by the Pistons on Friday and then the Pistons in five days on Saturday.
Johnson, who averaged 14.3 points per game in the regular season, was a big reason why the Heat went from last place in the East to second in the conference after Sunday’s loss to the Celtics.
He had 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in just under 31 minutes in the Heat’s 101-95 loss.
“We have to learn from that, but I feel like the biggest thing for us is just getting that mentality of coming out of the gate and playing like we’re ready to go,” Johnson said.
“Because you can’t do that if you don’t play the way you should play.
We have to continue that, keep our focus, keep playing as hard as we can and we’ll get through this.”
James, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to Boston, said he thinks the Heat need to play with a little more urgency to be successful in the second half.
“There are a couple things that I think we need to work on, that we need our teammates to help us,” James said.
“You can’t just get in the tank and let your team go to sleep at night and think that you’re going out tomorrow.
You’ve got to get in there and go, ‘OK, how am I going to get this done?
How am I gonna get this out of my system?’
Because if you get that mentality in, then you’ve got a chance to do something, you’ve had to have that mindset to do it.”
Just getting that mindset of, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go out there and I’m going to put everything on the line, and I’ve got something to prove.’
And I feel that that mentality can go a long way.
And hopefully, I’ve just put that mindset in.
“The Heat had their best shooting performance of the regular campaign last season with the way they played in the final two games.
James said the Heat can continue to improve and play better defensively.”
And we’ve got the guys that are there to do that, we’ve just got to make sure we’re working at that.””
I think that’s what’s most important to us, to keep working at it.
And we’ve got the guys that are there to do that, we’ve just got to make sure we’re working at that.”