At some point on Friday, coach Eric Spoelstra pulled his players together during practice at the FTX Arena, “We’re number four!”
And yet, the Miami Heat stood out at the time, fourth among Eastern Conference playoff teams in Caesar’s sportsbook’s NBA championship odds, even with their No. 1 seed, and sixth in the overall postseason field.
By numbers, the line for the 2022 Championship winner was: Phoenix Suns +260, Milwaukee Bucks +475, Golden State Warriors +800, Boston Celtics +850, Brooklyn Nets +900 and then Heat +1000 (bet $10 to win ) $100). So, in the East, alone, behind the Bucks, Celtics and Nets.
“Where there is inspiration because people are counting on us or not giving us due respect, each person can translate that on their own,” Spoelstra said. 1 p.m. at FTX Arena. “I think the more powerful motivation is what we’re trying to play for and compete for. That’s the hardest thing you can try to do in a team sport, to be able to accomplish that for a title.” is. “
Scrutiny has crossed bookmakers, with the Heat not necessarily seeing the sexiest contenders, as evidenced by the opening times of the post-season opener.
“Whatever floats their boat,” said Heat captain Udonis Haslem. “Whatever they want to talk about, whatever the headlines, I’m fine with it. We come here every day, we put on our hard hats, we get our lunch pails, and we go to work. And we see the result.
“It might not be the sexiest. We didn’t give anyone here a chance to score 85 points in a game. We don’t have any of that. But we play basketball collectively as a unit and a team.” are winning.”
So the heat, Haslem said, will bring them satisfaction from within.
“I’m sorry to everyone in the basketball world if this isn’t sexy enough for you guys,” he said. “But we are grateful for the people we have and the opportunity we have to be the number one seed.”
work in progress
The Heat practiced for a third day in a row on Friday amid the uncertainty of not knowing their first-round opponent, before the Atlanta Hawks face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 8 East Seed in the final game of the conference play-in. left the gym. round.
Spoelstra said the extended preparation was similar to the previous Heat era, when Heat president Pat Riley was coaching the team.
“We would go to West Palm for training camp before the first round of the playoffs, and that was the difference,” Spoelstra said. “They had gotten away with that. And now with play-ins, the difference is coming back.
“I think it helps for us from a health standpoint, but we also got this three days of practice. We haven’t really had that kind of opportunity since training camp.”
Spoelstra smiled when asked about being able to adopt such a “reckless” approach.
“I don’t know if we think completely reckless here, you know,” he said. “That’s what the scenario is. So we’ve been able to get some good, quality work.”
The NBA will require the Heat to file an injury report by 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Until then, Spoelstra isn’t giving any indication.
When asked about PJ Tucker working back from a calf strain and Adebayo, the center bomb in NBA health and safety protocols from Sunday, Spoelstra said, “No new updates on either one.”
Tucker worked aggressively into one-on-one practice after Friday’s practice, stopping by to help give instructions to the team’s younger players as well.
Adebayo is expected to return on Saturday, with Spoelstra only offering, “We’ll see.”