When Miami Heat steamrolled through the Eastern Conference NBA playoffs last season to storm into the Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, not many gave the Mavericks a chance. However, a below-par performance from Heat saw them lose the title to the Mavericks.
Aiming high: Miami Heat's LeBron James in action during a pre-season
This time round, though Miami's master trio -- LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh -- are desperate to make amends. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said his boys have had a good thought about that defeat and are raring to go at this season beginning Christmas Day. "Mentally our guys are ready, they've had enough time to think about it (defeat to Mavericks)," said Spoelstra.
Speaking about the championship, two-time Most Valuable Player LeBron James said: "That's our goal, ultimately. It's a long ways from now. But it's our goal. We didn't come together to make the playoffs or come together to win a playoff series. We came together to win the NBA Finals."
2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade said: "If we don't win a championship, yes, it's a bust year. It wasn't meant for the Miami Heat to win the championship last year. So, we have to take that on the chin. We have to come back this year even hungrier and even more focused and understand that if we get the opportunity again, hopefully it's our time and we do the things that you need to do to win the championship."
Speaking about the Christmas Day fixture Dallas native Chris Bosh said, "It's going to suck, especially for me, being back at home on Christmas. I haven't been in Dallas for Christmas for a couple years now. Just to be there and have that event going on at that time, I'm not going to like it. But I think everything happens for a reason, and the best we can do is use it as motivation, especially for that game. I think both teams are going to treat it like it's the Finals again."