Erik Spoelstra Says Miami Had it Easy Before Series vs Pacers

Tonight’s Game 7 is obviously huge, with all kinds of terrifying implications for the Miami Heat should they somehow blow it. Pat Riley, as he is wont to do, offered up some perspective in an effort to calm his team’s nerves—his 1988 Los Angeles Lakers squad traveled a much tougher road to the NBA Championship. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra tells the story, via the Sun-Sentinel: “After the morning shootaround, Erik Spoelstra relayed to the media a recent conversation with Riley referring to the 1988 NBA Playoffs when he was the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Like the Heat, the Lakers stormed through the regular season and opened the postseason with a sweep. The Lakers then endured three straight seven-game series before claiming their second consecutive title. So the Heat getting resistance from the Indiana Pacers is nothing compared to what Riley experienced. ‘They swept in the first round, thought it would be easy,’ Spoelstra said of the Lakers. ‘They won (62) games and everybody was crowning them already after that sweep. And then bang, the next round ends up being a seven-game, grueling series in the Western semis. And then they advance to the Western finals and it becomes another seven-game series.’ The Lakers eventually defeated the Detroit Pistons in the Finals in yet another seven-game series. Even though the Heat became just the 13th team to win 66 games, including a 27-game winning streak, they never expected an easy path. It just appeared that way after losing once in the opening two rounds against the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. The Heat were never threatened in either series before receiving their first test of the postseason against the Pacers. ‘We had it easy,’ Spoelstra said. ‘Norris Cole doesn’t even know how blessed he’s been. This is his second seven-game series before he’s even 25. These are things he will remember for the rest of his life.'”