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For Heat, season feels like ‘a waste’

MIAMI (AP) – A frustrated Bam Adebayo tore his jersey apart as he walked off the court after the final buzzer. Erik Spoelstra made no effort to hide his sadness about how the Miami Heat’s season ended. Kyle Lowry said the year was wasted.

The hope was to spend yesterday flying to the NBA Finals. Instead, the Heat enter an offseason of decisions.

A team that was assembled with a singular goal of winning a championship will spend the coming months lamenting a chance that slipped away.

Miami’s season ended with a Game 7 home loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, denying the Heat a second trip to the NBA Finals in the last three seasons.

“You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this, so for me, honestly, it was a waste of a year,” Lowry said after his first season with the Heat ended.

“I only play to win championships. It was fun, and I appreciate the guys, my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re not winning a championship, it’s a wasted year.”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra during a news conference. PHOTO: AP

The Heat had the best record in the East during the regular season, 53-29.

They did it without a player who was voted onto the All-NBA teams – Miami was only the sixth number one seed in the last four decades without a first-, second- or third-team selection.

“You fight so hard, throughout the season, ups and downs, injuries, disrespect and you still find a way to come this close,” said Adebayo, the Miami centre who was in the running for defensive player of the year. “It’s rough.”

The NBA award votes were cast when the regular season ended. Had the playoffs counted, Jimmy Butler would have been voted All-World.

He joined LeBron James as the only two players in Heat history to have a year with at least eight 30-point playoff games during the first three rounds, capping his playoff run with a 47-point season saver in Game 6 at Boston and then 35 more in the finale.

“We had enough,” Butler said. “Next year, we will have enough and we’re going to be right back in the same situation, and we’re going to get it done.”

“It feels heartbreaking,” said Spoelstra, who finished his 14th season as Heat coach. “We just wanted a crack at it.

”I love this group. This team was here to compete for a title. In that regard, I think we lived up to those expectations. But we fell short.”