Nick FriedelESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
miami – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remained confident in his team’s chances and defiant that his group would respond after losing 108-95 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night. Despite the fact that his team is now down 3-1 and facing a must-win Game 5 Monday night in Denver, Spoelstra has remained steadfast in the belief that his team was “built for this” and will respond the same way he did. Many times throughout the postseason following adverse circumstances.
“I told the guys, feel what you want them to feel tonight,” Spoelstra said. “It’s fine. You probably shouldn’t sleep tonight for any length of time. I don’t think anyone would. We have an incredibly competitive group. We did everything the hard way, and that’s the way it should be done now, again.” Others. All we’re going to focus on is getting this thing back to the 305. Bringing this thing back to Miami. And things can change very quickly.”
The Heat became the second seed in NBA history to qualify for the Finals after defeating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but now they face a similar fate to that of the New York Knicks, who were the No. 8 seed to reach the Finals but eventually lost to the San Antonio Spurs. in five games in 1999. Spoelstra remains steadfast in his conviction as he watched his hard-core group find ways to win no matter what adversity they faced.
“It’s going to be an offbeat game in Denver that was designed for the challengers in our locker room,” Spoelstra said. “By the time we get on that plane, all we can think about is bringing this thing back to Miami.
“We get a chance to play a super competitive game in a great environment. That’s going to be a great environment. Our guys are built for it. They love it… We understand what the story is going to be, but that’s just the way it is with our team.”
Heat star Jimmy Butler echoed that confidence while repeating his belief that the group will find a way to extend the series. When asked what message he wanted to get across to his teammates in the next few days before Game 5, Butler made it simple.
“No doubt,” said Butler. “We don’t have any of that. We don’t have any withdrawal. We will fight on from the start.” [Saturday] To get better then we move to Monday and do what we said we were going to do this all the time and win. we have to. We have no other choice. Other than that, we did all this for no reason, so the guys know, we know, we have something to do.”
One reason the Heat remains so optimistic is their recent history in the Conference Finals versus the Celtics, where they narrowly avoided becoming the first team in NBA history to lose a 3-0 lead by rebounding to take control of Game 7 in Boston and advance to the Finals.
“You can take it one game at a time,” said Heat quarterback Bam Adebayo. “We’ve seen a team come back from 3-0 straight away. So we just have to believe it, one game at a time.”
In order to do that, The Heat would have to find a way to generate more offense against the Nuggets who have stifled the group throughout the series. Butler has made it clear that he will continue to pass to the pitchers, even though guards Gabe Vincent and Max Stross are 4-for-27 over the past two games of this series. Like his coach, Butler held out hope that the Heat would find a way to turn things around quickly.
“I think we really believe in each other and in ourselves as individuals,” Butler said. “We’ve done some tough things all year in this qualifying round as well, and now it’s more like the toughest. But as we always say, you know, the things you want on the other side of the hard are I don’t know what.
“This is where we are. This is our reality, so we have to go out and win three in a row.”
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