By defeating the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals Monday night, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra added to his already-impressive résumé. Despite allowing Boston to get back into the series, the Heat were not fazed by a winner-take-all game on the road for a chance to play in the NBA Finals.
The win marked the first time Spoelstra has won a Game 7 on the road. After the game, Spoelstra’s postgame speech took into consideration all the highs and lows the team went through, and he wanted his team to remember what it took to get to this point.
“These are lessons that we’re going to pass on to our children about perseverance,” Spoelstra said. “Things don’t go your way, we just keep on forging ahead and suffer and suffer and suffer until you get what you want.”
Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured NBA head coach, behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, and his two NBA titles rank third behind Popovich and Steve Kerr among active coaches. Although he hasn’t won a title since LeBron James left Miami, Spoelstra’s legacy has been boosted by two NBA Finals appearances in the past four seasons.