Erik Spoelstra, Heat Locked on Getting Finals Back to Miami After Game 4 Letdown

Kyle Lowry Erik Spoelstra

Getty Kyle Lowry, Erik Spoelstra and Caleb Martin look on during Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets.

For the South Beach faithful, much of the enthusiasm that has been fostered by the Miami Heat‘s unlikely run to the 2023 NBA Finals dissipated on Friday night. Despite the fact that Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray were limited in the damage they dealt, the Denver Nuggets still prevailed over Jimmy Butler and Co. by a 108-95 mark in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead.

It’s not just fans that are grappling with the enormity of the job Miami now faces in overcoming the deficit. Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson said the Heat were a “disappointed” group in the wake of the loss. And head coach Erik Spoelstra was OK with his players being all up in their feels.

For the night, anyway.

“I told the guys, ‘Feel whatever you want to feel tonight. It’s fine. You probably shouldn’t sleep tonight any amount of time. I don’t think anybody will,'” Spoelstra relayed to reporters after the contest.

“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.”

Heat’s Only Objective Now Is to Get the Series Back to Kaseya Center

Clearly, history is not in the Heat’s favor as a team that needs to win out in order to take the series. As ever, though, Spoelstra’s club won’t be concerning itself with the bigger picture. Right now, it’s all about the task that lies directly ahead; living to fight another day.

“All we are going to focus on is getting this thing back to the 305. Get this thing back to Miami,” Spoelstra said. “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 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.”

Just getting Game 5 against a Nuggest team that’s 9-1 at home with a point differential of 10.4 this postseason will be tough. Alas, the Heat have battled adversity throughout the 2022-23 campaign and, to this point, it has largely brought out the best in them.

Said center Bam Adebayo: “Our whole season hasn’t been easy. We just seem like we just — we  won’t quit. And I feel like that’s what he means. We just will not quit.”

Jimmy Butler Isn’t Throwing in the Towel

For his part, Heat cornerstone Jimmy Butler has faith that his team can still hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. He knows full well, though, that some things will have to change in order for that to occur.

“Same thing it’s always been, it’s one game at a time. Now we are in a must-win situation every single game, which we’re capable of,” Butler told reporters. “Some correctable things we’ve got to do, but it’s not impossible. We’ve got to go out there and do it. We’ve got three to get.”

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