Erik Spoelstra: "A coach-player relationship in this league often will be confrontational at times."
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra took questions at shootaround on Monday morning at AmericanAirlines Arena. The discussion revolved around the bump controversy and team resolve following four losses in the past five games.
On the significance of Tuesday’s “bump” with LeBron James before a third quarter timeout in loss to Dallas
I didn’t even notice it until people mentioned it after the game. Often, coming out of the timeout, it’s a pinball game. I’m colliding into a lot of people. So it’s probably a perfect case of over-speculation from this team. I was fine with that timeout. The fact that guys are not happy about the play, tempers rose, you could see the fire and passion in people’s eyes. That’s the way it should be. None of us should be happy about what was going on in the third quarter and taking it in stride.
On whether there have been confrontations and voiced disagreements between the players and the coaching staff
That will happen everywhere. A coach-player relationship in this league often will be confrontational at times. And other times, it’s smooth sailing. But just the dynamic of the competitive nature of everybody, expectations, results -- all these things combine, yeah, sometimes it will get testy. And that’s good. Especially when people have a pure heart and mind about getting better, that just shows that the sides want to make it right. I’m going to demand. I’m going to push and prod. And a lot of times, players don’t know what is needed for a team to break through. The guys have been good about it. They understand they need to be coached, they need to be pushed, and that this is a process. We do need to do this together. But we need to get better.
On whether disharmony exists within the team
Come on, if you lose, no one’s going to be happy and nor should they be. Our group is still connected. So we’re still trying to work and get better. That’s the only thing we’re focused on right now. As all the noise starts to raise outside of our circle, we have to stay connected and get through this. It will get better and we can’t get distracted by all these things going on and swirling outside, which I’m sure they are.
On whether there is a residual effect currently felt with the recent controversy surrounding the Heat
We had a focused shoot-around. So now there has to be a carry over to the game. But certainly guys came in with the right mindset. We got our work done. We’re very specific on what we need to do better particularly our consistent effort and disposition on the defense end and doing this together offensively and making things easier for each other. A lot of these things are simple tenants but they’re the most important things for us right now offensively. Our spacing and our ball movement and our energy offensively is critical.
On whether he feels the outside pressure concerning his job situation
My job is to prepare this team and to get us ready for the games and continue to help us get better. That keeps my days full and my nights.