Heat coach expected a series like this
While many saw the Heat quickly disposing of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference final, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said from the outset he expected a challenge.
That has proved to be the case. The Heat is down 3-2 after Tuesday’s 94-90 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena and must win Thursday at Boston to avoid elimination.
“If you’re a competitor, you live for this,” Spoelstra said of the twists and turns in the series. “And it’s everything about it. It’s the highs and the lows, the knowing but not knowing. It’s competition, man.
“And these are the days 20 years from now that we’ll all be thinking about — ‘Oh, man, that’s when you felt most alive.’ “
Spoelstra said the rough patches of the series almost were to be expected.
“Look,” he said, “you have two really good defensive teams. If you’re not getting great opportunities in the open court, you’re not going to get a lot of clean looks in the half-court.
“And that’s why this is a make-or-miss league.”
Even now, great uncertainty remains, hardly the easy path to the NBA Finals envisioned by some a little more than a week ago.
“This is not supposed to be easy. This is what competition is all about,” Spoelstra said. “And when you get in a competitive series like this, yes, there will be highs and lows. You’re disappointed, you’re angry, sometimes you’re exhilarated.
“But I’ll tell you what, you feel alive. That’s what our guys feel right now.”
To Spoelstra, it has been a unique experience, amid all the lineup maneuvering, injury adjustments and strategic twists.
“This series,” he said, “is probably as unconventional as any series I’ve been a part of.”