All is well in Miami. The defending NBA champions sit in first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the weekend at 32-14, one and a half games ahead of the New York Knicks. Although Miami has played down to competition and struggled at times it is right where it wants to be. Shane Battier knows his team wins ugly quite often, but doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.
Shane Battier joined WQAM in Miami with Jorge Sedano to discuss the Miami Heat defending their championship, the Heat getting unconventional results, his confrontations with David West and the nicest compliment he’s received from an opponent.
What do you think about the media being critical of the Heat not doing enough to defend their championship?
“Well we get a chuckle because last year it was never smooth. It was never easy. It’s never been easy the last two years for this team and … when we were seriously close to being eliminated in the playoffs wasn’t pretty. We grinded and we found a way to win and that’s just our team. Our team, I don’t think, is destined to be a team that wins easy. We’re a team where we are at our best when it’s kind of nasty and kind of ugly and kind of grimy, despite the talent level on the team. That’s our identity and we know we can play better. We know we need to play better defense, but we don’t get caught up in semantics of how we win or if we win pretty.”
Is it fair to say the Heat were built unconventionally so at times the Heat will have unconventional results?
“Yeah that’s fair. That’s just our personality. The Miami Heat has never been built on a glamour basketball where everything is easy. It’s always been a defensive-oriented, tough, grind-it-out organization and the fact that we got the title out doesn’t change much. The fans expect different, but we know we are at our best when we are playing great defense and grinding and winning. You talk about winning? We don’t care how we win.”
True or false: You want to fight David West sometimes?
“I really don’t care. I really don’t care. There’s not a person in this league that I care enough personally to get into a fight with. When I am on the floor it is all business. It’s just me doing my job and the other guys don’t feel that way. Guys … I don’t think take it personal, but I’ve never taken anything said to me or done to me personally in my career. For me it is 100 percent business.”
What’s the nicest compliment you’ve received from an opponent before?
“[Laughs] Not too many. Mostly my new teammates, whether it was in Memphis, Houston or Miami, they tell me all the time, ‘You know what Battier, I used to hate you, but you are a really good dude and a great teammate.’ I know I am a good dude. I know I am a good teammate and my teammates appreciate what I do.”