Via Sports Radio Interviews, Erik Spoelstra appeared on ESPN 790 the Ticket in Miami with Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday.
Among the revelations:
Spoelstra said the microscope under which the 2010-11 Heat are playing evokes memories of the 2000 Eastern Conference semis when, as a No. 2 seed, the Heat were bounced by the Knicks in gut-wrenching fashion. "It feels like we are in the playoffs, where every single one of our plays is analyzed ad nauseam like it is in a Game 7. It reminds me of when we lost to the Knicks in Game 7 at home and Jamal Mashburn passed to Clarence Weatherspoon instead of shooting the spot. That play -- individual sequence -- was dissected an incredible amount all summer long. That's happening to us in Game 55. And I think it is valuable for us to go through that kind of pressure together."
Spoelstra is asked about the theory that an NBA team needs to fail in the playoffs before it can succeed, but isn't buying it because the Heat, simply put, don't have that kind of time: "“I have no doubt about it. You see that every year in the playoffs. Teams that have been together and they come up short. They dedicate their whole summer and the next season for whatever their failings were during the playoffs. We don’t have that time. We’re trying to fast track that whole process with nine new players and there aren’t any excuses. We want to do it now. We feel like we have enough, but you have to go through some pain and adversity to be very honest with yourself. And what we went through two weeks ago we lost five straight, I actually felt better about that process that we were going through during that stretch that I felt about our team in December when we won twenty-one out of twenty-two games because we were not building a game that was ready to beat elite team in the playoffs in December.”
If he had it to do over again, Spoelstra wouldn't have revealed the detail of players crying in the locker room: "I wouldn’t have said it [the players were crying after the Chicago Bulls lose]. I mean the players…we don’t have a problem with it because everybody has been in a situation where their words have been taken out of context. In a strange way we’ve all been through this together and everybody in something where they have tried to say something to the team that has been taken out of context and it strengthened us. I brought it up to the team the next day and there wasn’t any broken trust. You know you’re in front of the media three times a day eventually something you’re going to say is probably not going to have the meaning you would have expected. I wouldn’t have said it if I had a do over just so I would eliminate one more distraction, but my point about it was the guys do care. I think it is great that we have some incredible, incredibly competitive, self-willed guys in this locker room, but this means a lot more to them, their profession.” Its' encouraging that Spoelstra doesn't write off the comment as an error in judgment about trust, but rather one about distraction.
Spoelstra feels as if the Heat have a ways to go: "We’re not there yet. No we’re not there. We haven’t proven that we can beat Boston. We haven’t beaten Chicago yet. We are getting better. Now we’re the most improved team since the end of November. I believe that. In many ways we’re arguably one of the most improved teams. In the last two or three weeks through some of the process and from the struggles we’ve gone through we’re gaining ground, but we’re not there yet.”
You can listen to the interview here (1 hour, 38-minute mark).