The Miami Heat weren’t considered NBA title contenders when the season resumed inside the Orlando bubble.
They were down the Eastern Conference pecking order behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics.
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But this team simply refused to die over and over and over again. They bulldozed their way into the NBA Finals, dropping on three games along the way.
Unfortunately injuries cruelled them in the opening game, but they again showed the unbelievable heart and resilience that quickly made them a fan favourite.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra drew even more praise for his in-game and game-to-game adjustments and locked up his place as one of the top coaches in the league, if not the number one coach in the game.
After losing the NBA Finals on Monday to the Los Angeles Lakers however, it all became too much for Spoelstra.
As he sat on the podium waiting for reporters to start asking questions, Spoelstra wiped away tears before again breaking down after the first question was asked.
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“First congratulations to the Lakers organisation, it was great to share this stage with them and congratulations on the championship,” Spoelstra said.
“The emotions … look I don’t know, I’m not even like that, I’m not even like that as a person. I just think all these experiences this whole year, being in this bubble, being away from your family, being away from your kids, being away from your wife and going through something like this that you didn’t even contemplate.
“We thought we were going to Game 7 for sure, so I don’t even know how to explain these emotions. I’m sure my wife is watching wondering who the heck this is right now.
“This has been such an unprecedented year. We didn’t get the Final result we wanted, but these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together. You’re in this business to be able to be around people like this.”
Spoelstra was full of praise for Heat guard Goran Dragic who returned to the court for Game 6 after suffering a torn plantar fascia in his left foot in Game 1.
The two-time NBA champion coach revealed a text message from the Slovenian star that was sent the morning after his injury.
“How about Goran even just going out there and playing tonight. That’s just crazy. There’s no way he should have been out there,” Spoelstra said.
“He texted me the night he got hurt, I got a text around 4:15 in the morning and he said ‘Coach, don’t give up on me in this series. Give me a chance, I’ll find my way back’.
“I talked to the trainers the next day and they said not a chance and sure enough he’s basically begging everyone of us the last three games to give him a chance.
“That just shows you his character and how much he wants to give and not for himself, he’s already proved himself he’s one of the most decorated players in this game. But he wanted to do it for his teammates and he’s another one of those special human beings that I’m just honoured to be able to coach him and develop that kind of relationship with him over the years.”