After LeBron James eliminated the Chicago Bulls in what he called one of the most challenging closeout games of his 10-year career, reporters asked when he would begin preparing for the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Miami Heat forward, clearly exhausted, offered an honest answer:
“I need at least 24 hours after going against those guys."
His opponent will need much more time than that to get sufficiently ready for him.
James has had his best season as a pro, and this time of year, typically, is when he is at his best.
He has been in four Eastern Conference Finals during the previous nine postseasons against four different teams, none of which he will face this time around.
He has won three of them, including both with the Heat.
And in the one loss—in 2009 with the Cleveland Cavaliers—he was hardly the problem.
Before looking ahead, here's a look back.
All quotes in this piece were collected through the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post.