- Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.
BOSTON — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is confident his team has gotten over the emotional ending of Game 6’s heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics and will respond well in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night.
Spoelstra said the team regrouped after Derrick White’s buzzer beater on Saturday night “by the next day,” and he believes it will do what it needs to do to earn its second trip to the NBA Finals in four seasons.
“Everybody’s fine,” Spoelstra said after Monday’s shootaround. “We have great mental stability with our group, and we understand that we have a big audacious goal. It’s not just this game, it’s not just this series. So it’s going to be a lot of things that happen along the way. Like I said after the game [Saturday], we’ve had a lot of experience, unfortunately, with those kind of losses, but we’ve come back and also have experience bouncing back from those in a very powerful way.”
Heat players repeated the same theme Monday, believing that they are ready for the challenge after dropping three straight games to the Celtics and trying to avoid becoming the first team in NBA history to lose a playoff series after holding a 3-0 lead.
“The way I see it is we’re making history either which way,” Heat guard Gabe Vincent said. “What side of history do we want to be on? So we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
The mood around the Heat was loose Monday as they took shots after shootaround with Rick Ross blaring from a speaker on the TD Garden floor.
“We’re blessed with the opportunity to play in Game 7,” Heat guard Max Strus said. “Right back in the position we were last year. We’re all excited. We’re ready for it. We’re ready for the competition. Just can’t wait for the ball to go up in the air and get this thing going.”
Spoelstra has repeatedly drawn strength from the fact that the Heat have been through a variety of close games throughout the season and found a way to bounce back. He remains steadfast that his team, which could become just the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to reach the Finals, is ready for the challenge.
“Our guys love to compete, and our guys are the men in the arena — so we know what it feels like,” he said. “And when you’re trying to accomplish something very challenging there’s going to be bumps, there’s going to be tough times. But I’m just really happy for our guys, they get to experience a Game 7. …
“This is what you dream about. You spend all your time training in the summer for moments like these. They’re not for everybody, but neither are we.”
Source: Read Full Article