Erik Spoelstra is not playing the ‘what if’ game.
As in what if the Miami Heat won any of the games they were ‘supposed to win?’ Say beat the Knicks on the last day of March, or won any of those Orlando games.
Spoelstra said on Monday that would be the “uneducated. … lazy” narrative.
“The classic, uneducated narrative would be, ‘Oh, God, if you just won the New York game,’” Spoelstra said Monday as the team met for their exit interviews. “That’s so uneducated. That’s so lazy, that narrative. … ‘Just would have gotten the Orlando game. …’ Any of these games, that, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to win.’ For the people that are in the business, it never works out that way.”
Start playing that game and Spoelstra will come back with the games the Heat were not expected to win, like knocking off the team with the best record in the NBA, Golden State, on a buzzer beater by Dion Waiters. Or two wins over the Rockets, the second on the road just before the All-Star break. Maybe going into Cleveland in early March and building a 20 point lead before winning by eight with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combining for 62 points.
“We got a lot of tough road wins that, maybe if you’re actually playing that game, that you’re not by X-ing those games or check-marking that saying, ‘That’s a win,’” he said.
“No, and that’s why you play an NBA schedule, because you don’t know what the result will be. There’s always surprises virtually every single night and that’s why Vegas makes a ton of money. Nobody knows. You predict it, but it could have been any one of those games and I don’t think our guys should have any regret because the games that people say that, hey, we should have won. It wasn’t like our guys didn’t come out and compete. We just got beat. And that’s the nature of the game.”
Spoelstra added there were plenty of games during the team’s 11-30 start where the Heat were shorthanded, fighting through injuries, that he could look at.
“I always think to that Phoenix game, in Phoenix, we ended up playing (eight) guys,” Spoelstra said about the 99-90 loss on Jan. 3. “Literally, right before the game, Tyler (Johnson) is throwing up, has a migraine, (James Johnson) is throwing up and has food poisoning and trying to play. I think that would have probably given us enough.”
Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow also missed that game.
“But I could point to about 10 different ones of those. And, ultimately, you are who your record is.”