Miami Heat Prove Value of Patience, Even in NBA Finals Defeat

Jimmy Butler studied a box score. Max Strus pulled on a sweatshirt from Lewis University, the Division II school in Romeoville, Ill., that had offered him a scholarship when high-major programs passed on him. And as fireworks crackled outside, Udonis Haslem — a power forward and a staple of the Miami Heat for the past 20 seasons — reflected on the final game of his playing career.

“Proud of these guys, proud of my team,” Haslem, 43, said. “I told the guys I have no complaints, no regrets. They gave me a final season that I’ll never forget, and that’s all I can ask for.”

Inside the visiting locker room at Ball Arena on Monday night, there was sadness but also some joy. There was resignation mixed with no small amount of pride. But most of all, in the wake of the Heat’s 94-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the N.B.A. finals, there was the sense that Miami had lost the series to a superior opponent and a worthy league champion, and sometimes it really is that simple.

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