Heat

Spoelstra Overcomes It All To Become A Champ Again

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Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat gestures late in the fourth quarter during Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs  at the American Airlines Arena June 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  The Miami Heat, led by NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James (2nd-L), won the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in game seven of the championship series.   BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat gestures late in the fourth quarter during Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena June 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The Miami Heat, led by NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James (2nd-L), won the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in game seven of the championship series. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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Miami Heat

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – He’s never won NBA Coach of the Year, but Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has had the last laugh as the leader of the back-to-back champions.

Spoelstra may have been blessed with the Big Three, including the greatest player in the game, LeBron James. However, the stress of dealing with the noise and everything else going with the Heat in the last three years has been overcome by Spoelstra’s leadership.

Still, Erik knows just how valuable arguably the greatest player in NBA history is to the organization.

“He is the best conditioned athlete in this game. He takes pride and puts in so much time into it,” Spoelstra said of LeBron.”

Spoelstra deployed LeBron in a multitude of ways trying to shut down a solid San Antonio Spurs offense that had run through the Western Conference.

“He was guarding Parker, Ginobili, whoever was the most dangerous threat and then had to create so much offensively as well. He probably lost 12-15 pounds in this playoff run expending so much energy.”

For Spoelstra, one of the biggest decisions he had to make was to alter the lineup when Udonis Haslem struggled and the Heat needed a spark.

Spoelstra turned to Mike Miller in the NBA Finals, passing over forward Shane Battier who had struggled throughout the playoffs.

But in Game 7, Spoelstra made the decision to go to Battier and in the biggest game of the season, the NBA veteran came through with 18 points on 6-8 shooting from behind the three-point line.

“He is so important to what we do,” Spoelstra said of Battier. “The guy has one at every single level, high school, college, pro. It’s not a coincidence. He has something running through those veins that separates him, that makes him a little bit different as a champion.”

While Coach Spoelstra may not be considered as one of the league’s best coaches in some circles, he’s leaving a mark on the Miami Heat franchise and NBA history that will be tough to top.

With two championships under his belt and three NBA Finals appearances, the sky is the limit with the duo of LeBron James on the floor and Erik Spoelstra pulling the strings as head coach.

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