Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on 3-1 deficit: ‘All we’re thinking about is to get this thing back to Miami’

We independently review everything we recommend based on our strict editorial guidelines. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on 3-1 deficit against Denver Nuggets in NBA Finals All were thinking about is to get this thing back to Miami

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra understands his team is now facing a 3-1 series deficit after losing 108-95 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the 2023 NBA Finals. It’s a situation that Spoelstra is all too familiar with. Miami has now fallen into 3-1 holes in each of its last three finals appearances — this one joining 2014 and 2020.

“I told the guys, feel whatever you want to feel tonight,” Spoelstra said after Game 4. “It’s fine. You probably shouldn’t sleep tonight any amount of time. I don’t think anybody will. We have an incredibly competitive group. We’ve done everything the hard way, and that’s the way it’s going to have to be done right now, again.”

According to multiple NBA betting sites, the Nuggets are the favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals. Sportsbooks show Jimmy Butler with second-shortest odds to win Finals MVP.

“All we are going to focus on is getting this thing back to the 305,” Erik Spoelstra added. “Get this thing back to Miami. And things can shift very quickly. … It’s going to be a gnarly game in Denver that is built for the competitors that we have in our locker room.

“By the time we are getting on that plane, all we’re thinking about is [to] get this thing back to Miami. We get an opportunity to play a super competitive game in a great environment. That’s going to be an awesome environment. Our guys are built for that. …. We understand what the narrative will be, but that’s the way it is with our team.”

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is determined to force Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals

Jimmy Butler led the Miami Heat in scoring with 25 points. Miami led 21-20 after the opening quarter. The 41 combined points were the fewest in the first quarter of the last 24 NBA Finals games. The first quarter of Game 4 of the Raptors-Warriors series in 2019 had 40 points.

Furthermore, Miami shot 35-of-78 (44.9%) from the floor and 8-of-25 (32%) outside the arc. “You take it one game at a time,” said Heat center Bam Adebayo, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds in 44 minutes of action. “We’ve seen a team come back from 3-0 firsthand. So we just have to believe, and one game at a time.”

Teams that take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals have won 35 of the past 36 scenarios. The 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers were the last team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the finals to win the championship. LeBron and the Cavs made history against a 73-win Warriors team.

Defensively, the Heat have had no answer for Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray. Of course, Murray is now the first player to record 10 or more assists in his first four career NBA Finals games.

In Game 4, the Nuggets guard became the third player in finals history to record 12 or more assists in a single game without a turnover, joining Robert Reid (17 in 1986) and Magic Johnson (13 in 1987).

Denver hosts Game 5 this Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Based on ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Nuggets have an 81.8% chance of closing out the series and winning their first NBA championship in franchise history. Sportsbooks show the Heat as 9-point road underdogs.

NBA Betting Content You May Like