Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged he needed a few moments to collect himself before talking to the team after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals Sunday (US time).
“I don’t think any one of us was prepared,” Spoelstra said in the post-game interview, referring to the defeat that clinched the title for the Lakers.
“None of us had anticipated this.”
Spoelstra said injuries to players derailed the Heat’s game plan, acknowledging “I’m really bummed that we couldn’t find a way to get over the hump, and end the season with a win.”
Prior to speaking at the media conference, Spoelstra wiped away tears.
The US-based Filipino head coach, who has been applauded for the job he has done taking an unheralded Heat squad all the way to the title series, said he would cherish the team’s run at the bubble.
“This has been such an unprecedented year,” Spoelstra said.
“We didn’t get the final result we wanted, but these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together.
“Regardless of what happens in the future, we are going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives.
“You’re in this business to be able to be around people like this.”
The Heat took the Lakers’ best shots in the NBA Finals, winning twice and upending predictions that Los Angeles would cakewalk to the championship.
But Miami couldn’t find an answer to the Lakers’ fast start in Game 6, and the Heat trailed by more than 30 points they couldn’t summon the energy to rally.
Jimmy Butler, who had 2 brilliant games for the Heat, applauded the Heat’s effort and looked forward to the future.