A funny thing happened in the locker room prior to tip-off in the All-Star Game on Sunday night in Cleveland. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was giving a pre-game pep talk to Team Durant when the cameras caught Joel Embiid seemingly not paying attention.
The Philadelphia 76ers star was literally counting money during the speech. Twitter immediately caught wind of the awkward exchange and ran with it. Was Embiid bored? Was the MVP candidate tracking his earnings from the previous night’s three-point competition? Perhaps he was paying Big Fendi for that hilarious photo opportunity at center court. Or did Embiid win big in an All-Star game of poker? Whatever it was, people were talking about it.
Team LeBron beat Team Durant 163-160 on Sunday night despite 36 points from Embiid. Jimmy Butler was the lone representative from Miami and he scored just two points in nine minutes for Team LeBron. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was named the winner of the Kobe Bryant Trophy for MVP after scoring 50 points while connecting on a ridiculous 16 three-pointers.
Butler took a playful jab at Spoelstra earlier in the week, joking that he finally had a chance to play for a “real coach.” He was referring to Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams who patrolled the baseline for Team LeBron.
“I’m going to talk some trash and I can’t get in trouble for it,” Butler said. “He is the enemy at least for this weekend and I’ll definitely take advantage of that.”
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Spoelstra Enjoys Family Time at All-Star Game
Spoelstra was coaching in his second All-Star Game, with his first appearance coming back in 2013. You could tell this one meant way more to the 51-year-old coach. The Miami Heat social media team posted a precious picture of Spoelstra running around the court with his children the day before the game. He was all smiles playing the role of superstar dad.
“I don’t want to let these moments pass,” Spoelstra said, via Inside The Heat. “This is a big part of my family’s life is our business. The life of a coach for a family is not the easiest career. The travel, pressure, criticism, all of the above. Our kids are young, so as much as we possibly can, we want them to be a part of this world.”
Next Up, New York Knicks
The Heat will enjoy a few more days off before lacing them back up on Friday, February 25. They travel to the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks before returning home to FTX Arena on Saturday, February 26. While the team holds the best record in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break, Spoelstra preached patience. The hard work is just beginning.
“You know how we are. We’ll buckle down and get serious for the stretch run,” Spoelstra said. “We know how competitive it is. We have a bunch of hard-nosed competitive guys in our locker room. They thrive and want these kinds of situations and compelling matchups, but we’ll get there by the end of the week.”