There’s a slight disconnect between the words coming out of Erik Spoelstra’s mouth and the words emerging from his players. It’s far from a Miami Mutiny, but I notice little things like this. Championship teams tend to speak with one voice, a sign that they’re all aligned. I don’t get that vibe from the Heat.
It started the day before the NBA Finals, with an open question about whether or not the loss to Dallas in last year’s Finals still lingers as a motivational factor.
Spoelstra said: “I don’t think we need more motivation. Last year is behind us. This is a different journey.”
That was a different take than Chris Bosh, who said: “It’s with me now. It never left any of us.
“We just have to keep that with us. I think that’s going to help us. It’s helped me throughout this season. I just have to make sure I remember that and keep that in the back of my mind, as we play these games I have to remember the pain and the suffering and all that good stuff.”
It continued Wednesday, when the topic was the heavy minutes LeBron James is logging and whether he could use a little more rest.
LeBron said: “there’s always times where you would like to get a minute here, a minute there, two minutes there. And I’ve got to be more up with my coaching staff as well, when I feel like I may need a minute here or a minute there and then I can go back into the game.”
Spoelstra, who was asked to clarify his post-Game 1 statement about his playing rotation that “I’ll have to see who’s really available,” veered off into this declaration: “Fatigue wasn’t an issue last night, and so our focus will be on playing more to our identity tomorrow night. They imposed their identity more than we did in that game.”
Clearly, Spoelstra wanted to make that his main talking point. He came back to it later, when asked about the Heat’s policy of switching on defense.
“Last night was not decided by schematics,” he said. “It was decided by force. It was decided by will. It was decided by energy.”
Dwyane Wade agreed, to some degree. He said he needed to be more aggressive on offense. But he also implied the way he was being used hampered him.
“I ran a lot of the sets, I played a lot of point guard yesterday,” Wade said. “When you’re doing that, when you have the ball a lot to start the offense, a lot of times you’re getting off of it, you’re giving other guys the ball because you’re running the plays instead of receiving it.”
These aren’t the verbal equivalents of a snapped bone. It’s more like a hairline fracture. But this time of year, the topic should be adhesion, not fissures.