Erik Spoelstra knows the questions are coming, he just wants to deal with them later.
The Heat defeated the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, meaning they’re advancing to the NBA Finals to face the Lakers. The obvious takeaway is that Spoelstra will be facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals six years after the duo made an appearance in the Finals together in Miami.
This makes for a great narrative heading into the series, and it’s why ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Spoelstra about it after the game. But the Heat coach responded by saying he’d rather just enjoy the win for now.
“That’s a great storyline, right? Can you let us enjoy this for a little bit, now? This is hard to do. It’s hard to get to this point,” Spoelstra said. “And I want our guys to recognize that, acknowledge it, enjoy it for at least a night. And then we’ll get on to that tomorrow.”
It’s a fair response from Spoelstra. He had to fight off comments for years from sports pundits who said he only made the NBA Finals because of James. Now he’s able to prove he can get there without James, and that he’s a deserving coach worthy of praise.
But it was also a fair question to ask by Nichols, despite some of the criticism she’s faced for asking it. It is an interesting storyline, and it’s something that’s going to be talked about heading into the series. Spoelstra was within his rights to not want to talk about it right away, and Nichols respected that by not asking him about it any further.
Spoelstra indicated during the interview that he will discuss that storyline in the future, so he recognizes that answering those types of questions comes with the job of being a head coach in the NBA.