On the eve of the Heat’s second Eastern Conference finals Game 7 in as many years, an upbeat Erik Spoelstra delivered the same six-word message three times during his briefing with the media on Sunday:

“We’re not above a Game 7.”

Many expected the Heat’s run through the Eastern Conference playoffs would not be quite as arduous, but Spoelstra said: “It’s not a failure. We’re not above having to earn it.

“We’re not entitled to anything. There have been plenty of champions before that have had to go through Game 7s. Nobody just runs through the playoffs” — although a few have come close, including the Lakers’ 15-1 sprint through the 2001 postseason.

The Heat is 11-4 in these playoffs. But Miami is 4-5 against Indiana this season, including 3-3 in this series.

Aware of rampant criticism about the Heat’s play in the Eastern finals, Spoelstra said: “Come on! We’re tied. It’s not like anybody is up in this series. That’s where the narrative on the outside is skewed.”