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Erik Spoelstra: LeBron ‘at peace’ with decision to leave Heat

LeBron-James-Erik-Spoelstra-MVPOne of the reasons LeBron James said he wanted to announce his decision to return to Cleveland with a Sports Illustrated essay was to avoid the media speculating that he and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not get along. LeBron said that is “absolutely not true,” and Spoelstra echoed those sentiments on Tuesday.

While speaking to reporters after a Heat summer league game, Spoelstra had nothing but positive things to say about LeBron and his choice.

“He seemed at peace with the decision,” he said, via ESPN.com. “We don’t have any regrets. He shouldn’t have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run.”

As for the future of the Heat, Spoelstra said that part of his job is to expect change and be able to adapt.

“This league does teach you that it’s inevitable that there’s constant change, and you always have to continue to embrace change, adapt with change,” Spoelstra added. “This is a big, monumental change that we didn’t necessarily anticipate, but you have to respect it because when you’re a free agent in this league, you have the right to make a decision that’s best for you and your family. When he made that decision that was best for his family, where his heart is, all you can do from our side is respond with respect and love.”

There was talk about LeBron not wanting to play for Spoelstra from day one, and the two went on to win two championships and appear in four straight NBA Finals together. Overall, I’d say their four-year relationship was a success.

Erik Spoelstra defends Chris Bosh against criticism

Chris BoshThe Miami Heat players made a conscious effort to get Chris Bosh involved early on in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference finals game with the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, and it paid off.

Bosh was 7-of-12, made 3-of-5 3-pointers and went 8-for-10 on free throws while scoring 25 points, which was second on the team. He scored the first eight points of the game for the Heat, which nearly matched his total of scoring exactly 9 points in each of the first three games of the series.

Though it looked from the outside like Bosh wasn’t doing much in the first three games, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Game 4 that that wasn’t the case.

“I hate the storylines of the last few days because Chris has to do a lot of those things that people don’t understand for our game to work and he gets criticized for that,” Spoelstra said in defense of his forward. “But he impacts the game in so many winning ways that the average guy doesn’t necessarily see.”

Though Spo says Bosh impacted those other games in various ways, he still recognized that it was good for the team to get Bosh going early on because that helped instill confidence in the squad.

Spoelstra also singled out the game Rashard Lewis had. Though Lewis didn’t score any points and missed all five 3-pointers he attempted, he was still a +14 on the stat sheet. To Spoelstra, that was a sign that Lewis impacted the game in many other ways to help the team get a win.

Spoelstra may say that Bosh did a lot to help the team in the first three games, but there’s no doubt that Bosh did much more to help the team win in Game 4 than he did in the other games. If they get this from him again, they’ll close out the Pacers in Game 5 with ease.

No one asked Erik Spoelstra a question during his pregame press conference (Video)

erik-spoelstra-pregame-presserThe Miami Heat hosted the Brooklyn Nets in game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series on Wednesday with a chance to end the Nets’ season. As is customary, Erik Spoelstra made himself available to the media for questions prior to the game.

This time around, there weren’t many questions for Miami’s head coach. In fact, there weren’t any questions for Miami’s head coach, not one.

So, we’re left with Erik Spoelstra’s eyes surveying the room and the sound of crickets before he gives a double thumbs up and exits stage right.

Erik Spoelstra reportedly dating former Heat dancer Nikki Sapp

Erik-Spoelstra-Nikki-SappErik Spoelstra has a new girlfriend, and Miami Heat fans will be happy to hear that he is sticking with the Heat family even in his personal life. Spoelstra likes his team so much that he decided to date one of its former dancers, 24-year-old Nikki Sapp.

According to Gossip Extra, the 42-year-old Spoelstra attended a fundraiser sponsored by Heat broadcasters Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino and was accompanied by Sapp.

Sapp began dancing for the Heat in 2006, just after she turned 18. She is now a director at Guy Hepner art gallery in West Hollywood and splits her time between Miami and Los Angeles.

Spoelstra and Sapp have reportedly been dating for more than two years, so the two have done a pretty good job of keeping their relationship quiet. Considering Spoelstra is nearly twice the young lady’s age, it’s possible that played into his decision to not make any public appearances with her. Or, it’s also possible that he is just a private person.

In any event, life seems to be going well for Coach Spo at the moment. The Heat have dominated the NBA with 18 straight victories and his lady friend is quite easy on the eyes.

H/T Miami Herald via Black Sports Online

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Erik Spoelstra: LeBron James is ‘making greatness look easy’

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. At the moment, there is really no debating that. Maybe it’s his age. LeBron turned 28 in December, and the mid- to late-20s are great basketball prime years. Perhaps having finally won a championship has made him a better player. Whatever the case, LeBron is on an incredible hot streak.

During a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, James scored 32 points on 12 of 18 shooting. It was his fifth-straight game with at least 30 points, but there are some other players in the league who are capable of that. Shooting better than 60% from the field in each of those games, however, is amazing.

“He was playing with so much energy on both ends of the court,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then in the last five minutes he had to take the challenge defensively against Kobe. So he was doing it at both ends of the court.

“I say this to Miami fans: don’t take it for granted,” Spoelstra said. “He’s making greatness look easy.”

It would be tough to argue against that. LeBron may not be averaging the most points per game in the league — Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant have all scored at a slightly higher level than King James — but he’s easily the most complete player in the league at the moment. Shooting better than 60% and scoring over 30 points in five straight games not only shows that his shot has been on, but also that his selection has be phenomenal.

James is averaging 6.9 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game to go along with his 27.0 points. A lot of players can drop nearly 30 points per game if they take enough shots, but LeBron is doing it all. He has emerged as the clear-cut floor leader in Miami, and the team is better off for it.

“I think he’s figured out his game and how to use his size,” Kobe told reporters after the game. “I think he’s a little more focused than when he was younger. When you’re a young player, particularly him, you expect things to happen. Your career seems like it’s endless.

“I think he’s at the stage of his career in which he’ll value each year and take the significance to his training and take the significance to focus each game.”

He’s also at a stage in his career where multiple championships are a legitimate possibility. And Spoelstra is right — he’s making it look easy.

Photo credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Erik Spoelstra gets Gatorade bath after Heat win (Video)

If you thought that Gatorade baths were strictly a football celebration thing, you were wrong. The Heat players were so excited about winning an NBA title, they doused coach Erik Spoelstra with the beverage after winning the NBA title on Thursday night.

Spoelstra’s suit was ruined but there’s little doubt it was worth it for him. Maybe this is what they need to do with Chris Bosh in the future considering he gets a little too awkward when he does it on his own.

Dwyane Wade ticked at Erik Spoelstra during timeout (Video)

Dwyane Wade augmented his crap game against the Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday by confronting coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout. Wade had just missed a three and was late getting back on defense when the timeout was called. Spoelstra must have called him out about something, because Wade reacted in a negative manner and got in his coach’s face.

Spoelstra brushed aside the incident in his postgame comments.

“That happens. Anybody who has been a part of a team who has been a coach or been a player you have no idea how often things like that happen,” Spoelstra said. “That was during an emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked.

“Dwyane and I have been together for a long time… That was nothing… That’s the least of our concerns… Our concerns are getting ready for Sunday.”

Yeah, that sort of thing isn’t infrequent, but the point is it shouldn’t be happening during key playoff games. That was just another sign that the Heat were a mess. Wade went 2-for-13 and had as many turnovers as points — five. The guy played like crap and is a big reason they lost the game by 19 points. He shouldn’t have any blame for Spoelstra for his performance — that’s all on him.