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Spoelstra on LeBron, Heat: “You can’t win unless you win”

Jun 21, 2012, 12:47 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Seven Getty Images

No matter what decision LeBron James made after “the decision” he could not win. Every move, every choice following his entrance to Miami was going to be scrutinized and criticized.

That’s not going to stop if the Miami Heat win the NBA title with a Game 5 win Thursday night.

But it might slow down. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra channeled his mentor Pat Riley when talking about LeBron and his reputation Thursday.

“You can’t win unless you win,” he said, adding that he didn’t think it fair that “somebody who has the qualities that he has would be critiqued as negatively as he is.”

LeBron will play in Game 5, Spoelstra said, adding he was moving better today. LeBron missed the end of Game 4 with cramps in his legs. A couple days of hydration and treatment should have him back to being himself, and the team will have IVs and fluids at the ready. Also, don’t be shocked if Spoelstra tries to get him a little more rest.

Spoelstra joked he was going to get Riley to crank up the air conditioning in AmericanAirlines Arena to help LeBron out.

Miami will have three chances to close out this series, and no team has ever come back from a 3-1, but the Heat have said they do not want to return to Oklahoma City for a Game 6.

The Thunder are frustrated because they’ve been close — all three losses were by single digits — but unable to close out the wins. James Harden will play despite a bruised hand suffered in Game 4. How well he plays will go a long way to determining if there is a Game 6 on Sunday.

  1. jeffw - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    I agree that even winning a championship won’t completely stop the irrational hatred some have for Lebron. but at least it would slow them down. But if the Heat were to somehow lose this series, there would be no stopping these lunatics.
    Please Lebron. Win so we can stop the idiocy!

  2. acdc363 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I think last year’s finals really made people look at the Heat and of course Lebron as the bad guys but man what a turnaround they’ve made last year. Obviously after they knocked my Celtics out I wanted nothing more for them to crumble again but the more this series goes on I just find myself rooting for them more and more. They’re a classy organization.

  3. emaimo80 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Damned if we win, damned if we don’t. If we win it’s because of the refs (bs), and if we don’t its because lebron chokes. Go heat, screw what everyone else thinks! Lebron is the man! Wade and spo are questionable regardless!

  4. canehouse - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I really think Lebron has gotten to a point in his maturity where he isn’t bothered “as much” with what venom is spewed at him. He seems to be in a good place mentally, emotionally, and spirtually.

    LET’S GO HEAT!!!!

  5. zuiyo - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I think after Game 4’s signature moment the LeBron haters have cooled down a bit. If he repeats a feat in a Game 5 win slash ring clincher, I believe there could be a new dawn of LoveBron. Haters like basketball too.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    You are right, winning a title. A TITLE, because they won’t win another (ref-aided, no matter how willfully blind Heat homers claim otherwise) won’t stop it. Ask his buddy Alex Rodriguez. Most of us Yankee fans STILL can’t stand him, and non-Yankee fans hate him even the more since he came to New York. He’s won a title and the hatred doesn’t stop. And yes, he’s still a choker for the most part.

    The common denominator they both have is that they can’t take back a DECADE of putting their respective feet in their own mouths. That’s why Alex supports him so much.

    When you jump on a guy’s bandwagon as a sucker for the NBA hype machine, you gotta accept what comes with it, “hate” and all. Stop insulting peoples’ intelligence with the “refs (bs)” nonsense.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jun 21, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      “The common denominator they both have is that they can’t take back a DECADE of putting their respective feet in their own mouths. That’s why Alex supports him so much.”

      Remind me again how Lebron put his foot in his own mouth during his time in cleveland? Oh that’s right, he didn’t. Stop being a sore loser and accept that he’s good enough to win a title, has been a great citizen of the NBA for years and took his lumps in Cleveland when so many other stars would have been demanding a trade elsewhere. The Decision was a PR disaster (a mistake that raised $4 million for Cleveland Boys and Girls Clubs, btw), but outside of that he spent a decade waiting for them to assemble a team that could contend after proving he could carry a team to the finals by himself against the Spurs. Cut it with your BS, Mr. Wrong

      As for your “refs” nonsense, when you go to the hole you’re going to get more foul calls. And when play down low happens, it’s hard for refs to see, so body motion is going to be critical for them to make their calls. I won’t say the heat haven’t gotten some beneficial calls, but I don’t think it’s nearly as egregious as you make it out to be. In any event, the game 2 call was the one that actually mattered, both other games were lost because of turnovers by westbrook at the end of the game. Just accept that Lebron is going to win a title, fair and square, and stop whining like a petulant child.

    • ceschatz - Jun 21, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      “When you jump on a guy’s bandwagon as a sucker for the NBA hype machine, you gotta accept what comes with it, “hate” and all.”

      I’m glad you brought up the bandwagon point since youre the worst offender jumping on the “Heat hate” bandwagon. Give it a rest reject

      • heat256 - Jun 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        The minute you identified yourself as a Yankees fan it all came into place: You are a mentally defective blowhard. Not that anyone really paid attention to your moronic spewings before, but at least we can now attribute it to your condition.

  7. gotampabay52 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Go Heat finish this series tonite

  8. gpatrick15 - Jun 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I’m a Thunder fan that hopes beyond hope that they can pull off the impossible and win this series. But as a fan of the game in general, I can’t help but appreciate what LeBron has been doing this post season. I just hate that it’s my team that he’ll likely win his first championship against. He’s given the true fans quite a display of pure basketball in these playoffs. Throw aside the hate for him (which he brought on himself) and marvel at the show he’s putting on. Still, I hope OKC rages back and takes it in 7.

  9. connaniii - Jun 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM


  10. fanz928 - Jun 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    It’s about damn time

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