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Defending the NBA crown never an easy task, and Heat say they understand that

  • FILE - In this June 22, 2012, file photo, Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade holds the the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy and LeBron James holds his most valuable player trophy after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City in Miami. Only four franchises in more than 40 years have successfully defended an NBA championship. And such is the challenge now for the Miami Heat. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)The Associated Press

  • Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade hugs his mother Jolinda Wade before their NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Miami. The Heat won 105-93. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago) MAGS OUTThe Associated Press

  • Miami Heat's LeBron James (6), Mike Miller (13), Mario Chalmers, center, and Dwyane Wade (3) high-five after taking a ten-point lead over the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bulls 105-93. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)The Associated Press

From the very first day of training camp, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been talking to his team about the challenge.

Winning one title is one thing. Going back-to-back has proven to be significantly more difficult, and Spoelstra knows this.

Only four franchises in more than 40 years have captured the NBA title in consecutive seasons — the Los Angeles Lakers, the Chicago Bulls, the Houston Rockets and the Detroit Pistons.

The Heat will try to add their name to that list starting this weekend, when they meet the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. And Spoelstra is sticking with the phrasing he used months ago, insisting "this journey will be different."