By no means does Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra see it as a positive.
The Heat have struggled with with holding big leads in the fourth quarter all season. What Spoelstra has liked is the way his team has been able to overcome the issues and leave with victories.
They led the Los Angeles Lakers by double-digits for most of the game only to have to fight them off in the fourth quarter. Even with the problems, the Heat hold the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
“If you could always guarantee this, that we would be fully in control and then have to feel the stress and manage things in the fourth quarter, but we’d still come out with the win? I would take that, a lot, because I think those are important experiences to go through together ... Those are good learning moments and I think, for the majority of the game, we played really well.”
The Heat players feel the same. Here's what they had to say about the late-game issues:
Forward Duncan Robinson: “The best case scenario is that we learn in a win. There is some painful learning in losses, but we knew they (the Lakers) were going to make a run. We were talking about it and there was a stretch where we were playing really well and got up. To have those pivotal moments down the stretch, you can never have enough of those. They are invaluable and there is no way to simulate it. We can talk about late game situations in practice and walkthroughs, but the real way to learn is to go through them together.”
Forward Jimmy Butler: “Find a way to win. That’s a good lesson to take from any and every game. I think we got away from making the right plays. Nothing was wrong with that because guys were taking shots we knew we could make and I think we should have made a couple extra passes. We have to get back to getting stops. When we are making shots, we tend to not play as much defense. When we are not making shots, it’s even worse.”
Center Bam Adebayo: “Winning any game, by four, by two, by six, and you were up by 21 in the beginning of the third quarter, that’s just nothing but teaching us lessons on how to win. Then we get in those games where it is a three or four-point game throughout the whole game and we’ve been in those positions already.”
The Heat return to action Wednesday against the New York Knicks at FTX Arena.
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