MIAMI — The records are very different, as the Warriors enter Monday’s game with the NBA’s best record at 38-6 and the Heat own the NBA’s second-worst record at 14-30.
But coach Erik Spoelstra sees similarities between the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.
“We have a similar model in terms of the type of player we’re looking for,” Spoelstra said. “Not necessarily all across the board, but we really like or gravitate to guys who absolutely hate to lose. I think they’re very similar in that regard.”
Spoelstra also sees similarities between the Warriors and the Heat’s Big Three teams. Both teams featured rosters full of elite talent and both faced, at times, unfair expectations.
“There are some things that are very similar,” Spoelstra said comparing Golden State to Miami’s Big Three. “I think getting elite level players to sacrifice and play team basketball and really commit to the defensive end. You have to really commend them.”
While the level of talent is similar, their playing styles are completely different.
Golden State — with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — is shooting 31 threes per game this season. During the Big Three era from 2010-2014, Miami averaged 19.7 3-point shot attempts per game.
“It’s different,” Heat guard Dion Waiters said. “When Miami had the Big Three, they didn’t shoot that many jump shots. They were attacking, LeBron (James) facilitating, of course [Chris Bosh]. It was different. Now, Golden State, they shoot from damn near half court. Everybody’s shooting a bunch of threes. With the Big Three, it was more inside out. With Golden State, it’s more outside in.”
As far as the hate Miami’s Big Three teams had to play through, Spoelstra doesn’t see the Warriors drawing that same reaction from the outside.
“I think people respect and celebrate the brand of basketball that they’re playing,” Spoelstra said of Golden State. “And I think eventually that’s where fans got with us, as well. They respected the sacrifices, the team basketball, team concepts that our group was displaying on a night to night basis. And that’s the same with them, I think. People really respect how they share the game.”
Even Spoelstra catches himself watching Golden State as just a fan of the sport.
“When the Warriors are playing at their highest level, it’s almost as if they’re playing a different sport than everybody else,” Spoelstra said. “It’s beautiful to watch. It’s just a different level than the majority of the teams can play.”