Do you remember when?
The Low Point of His Coaching Career
"I have nothing against (current) Coach Erik Spoelstra but would rather see Coach Pat Riley on the sidelines leading the Miami Heat this season. I WANT to see LeBron, Wade, and Bosh reach their potential sooner rather than later because, to be honest, they’re exciting to watch and I like watching highlights. Besides – who wouldn’t want to see a Wade to Bosh to LeBron triple alley-oop ala NBA Street’s Gamebreaker?! If you feel like me or just are a Heat fan that is already sick of Spoelstra go ahead and cast your vote at www.FireSpo.com."
Look where they are now!
The Heat have now displaced the 1970-71 championship-winning edition of the Bucks for the third-longest in-season winning streak. It was also their ninth consecutive road victory, a notion that didn’t seem possible when they were 8-10 on the road and not showing much urgency two months ago.
The Bucks, who have enjoyed quite a bit of success against the Heat over the past three seasons, blasted Miami by 19 points in the Heat’s last visit to the Bradley Center, in December. But the Heat never were out of control once Wade returned, another example of just how dominant they’ve been over the streak, which is now in its seventh week.
When the streak started back in the first week of February, the Heat were neck-and-neck with the New York Knicks for the top record in the Eastern Conference. After Friday’s events, the Heat’s magic number to clinch the top seed in the East is suddenly down to single digits at eight.
Meanwhile, they’re now tied for the second-most road victories in the NBA with 20.
“Our road record was horrible,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Earlier in the year we were a sub-.500 team. You don’t win a title that way. If you’re talking about winning a title and you’re not doing the things necessary to put yourself in that position, then you’re wasting your time.”
It’s fair to say the time-wasting is over. Spoelstra has denied his team experienced any sort of “championship hangover” as it cruised a bit earlier in the season. But whatever the team’s collective mindset was then, it has changed.
With no team in the East looking like a serious challenger at the moment, possibly paving the way for a third straight trip to the Finals, and with this winning streak changing the history books almost nightly, the Heat seem to have started looking at the bigger picture and where they could put themselves.
“We’re very fortunate and humbled by us even being in position to be on a team that has put together a streak like this,” said LeBron James, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season to already tie a career high in that category.
“We don’t take it for granted, because in professional sports wins aren't easy to come by, and the fact that we've won a fourth of our season [in-a-row] means a lot to all of us. It’s not the ultimate for us, but it is an accomplishment we know about and we’re living in it. ... We’re just trying to make a mark in NBA history any way we can. We want to leave a mark so when we’re all done, we can say our team was special. We still have some work to do.” LeBron James
That work might end up including the Bucks. Even with Friday’s win, the Bucks are 3-3 against the Heat over the past two seasons, including an overtime loss earlier this season in Miami, and feel like they match up reasonably well with the Heat. Last week, point guard Brandon Jennings went so far as to say he’d prefer to play the Heat in the first round of the playoffs in April.
The Heat seem like a lock to get the No. 1 seed in the East. Currently the Bucks are seven games in front of ninth-place Toronto and three games back of Boston and Chicago for the No. 7 seed. The trend might eventually give Jennings, who had 21 points but shot just 6-of-15, what he wants.
It's unlikely Spoelstra will ever feel at ease in his situation. It's championship or bust every season in Miami, the cost of collecting stars like baseball cards. Spoelstra works in Riley's shadow, surrounded by Riley's staff, held to the impossible standard Riley has set. The players still call Riley "coach," still speak his name with reverence. Indeed, Spoelstra may never escape that shadow in Miami, but he has already proved his worth. From Sports Illustrated
Miami Heat’s Filipino-American head coach Erik Spoelstra encouraged young athletes to prepare for the future while not forgetting the present.
“This is an incredible day and I’m proud to be a Filipino,” said Spoelstra. “Stay in the moment but always look ahead.”
Erik Spoelstra (born November 1, 1970) is an American professional basketball coach and the current head coach of the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat. He is the first Filipino-American head coach in the NBA, as well as the first Filipino-American head coach of any North American professional sports team. From 2001 to 2008, he served as assistant coach/director of scouting for the team. He has coached the Heat to 194 wins and four playoff appearances, including trips to the 2011 NBA Finals and 2012 NBA Finals, in his first four seasons. From Wikipedia