Fascinating first two games. DO NOT COUNT THIS HEAT TEAM OUT!!! I think we have all learned that by now. Even in the Game 1 open thread, people were saying the Nuggets were going to walk all over them. That is not happening. This is one of the greatest coaching and player development performances in NBA history. Erik Spoelstra is a Hall of Fame coach, and not only because he spells his first name correctly. He’s simply a genius coach.
This is also a good moment to note how stupid the NBA coaching decisions are these days. The “what have you done for me lately” mentality among ownership is just out of control. Why was Monty Williams fired from Phoenix again? I mean, maybe Frank Vogel walks in and they win a title, but it sure seems to me the issue is that Chris Paul is basically finished and they have no depth at all after the Durant trade much more than anything Monty did? I grant that the Bucks had underperformed in the playoffs under Budenholzer since the title, but the title was only a couple of years ago! And that loss to the Heat in the first round looks a lot less bad now than it did a month ago. Same with Doc Rivers in Philadelphia. Nick Nurse might turn them around. I don’t know. But when the same 5 or 6 coaches are just rotating between all the good teams, you might think that owners and GMs would start understanding the structural issues of their teams rather than blame the coach. But that’s the nature of the game I guess.
The point though is that Spoelstra would have been long gone in almost any other city. The Heat are usually competitive but they’ve had bad years too. Turns out that having a vision that goes through the organization and doesn’t overreact to single years can lead to success. Who knew!
Anyway, this should be an interesting game. It’s not a must win for either team. This seems very likely to be a knock down drag out series going at least 6 games. Road teams have won so many games in these playoffs. No idea what is going to happen tonight. I suspect that the Nuggets will figure out a way to get at least one other player involved. Murray definitely needs to step up, or someone does anyway to take the pressure off Jokic. The Heat crowd is also going to be crazy. So I guess I’m slightly inclined to take the Heat tonight, but who knows. Should be fun.