A notable incident has made a splash on social media, attracting over six million views on Twitter. Miami's head coach, Erik Spoelstra, fiercely defended his team's defensive strategy in a conversation with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, following a recent game against Denver.
"An Untrained Eye": Coach Spoelstra Fires Back
Shelburne's questioning began with a common observation: teams typically attempt to pressure Nikola Jokic, Denver’s star center, into a binary mode of "score or pass," thereby managing to "control the game." Spoelstra, however, found this comment neither accurate nor acceptable.
"That's a ridiculous -- that's the untrained eye that says something like that," the seasoned Miami coach retorted, expressing his deep respect for Jokic's prowess on the court. "This guy is an incredible player. Twice in two seasons he's been the best player on this planet.
You can't just say, 'Oh, make him a scorer.' That's not how they play. They have so many different actions that just get you compromised." Spoelstra went on to elaborate his team's strategy, emphasizing their focus on a demanding but effective approach.
"We have to focus on what we do. We try to do things the hard way, and he requires you to do many things the hard way. He has our full respect."
Erik Spoelstra shut down Ramona Shelburne's question about turning Jokic into a scorer or a passer quickly pic.twitter.com/PxcWQNN5w4 — CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) June 5, 2023
Jokic's Stellar Performance Overshadowed by Miami's Victory
Despite his tactical disagreement with Shelburne, there's no question about Jokic's exceptional performance during the recent playoff game.
The Serbian center ended the night with an impressive stat line: 41 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. However, his stellar performance wasn't enough to secure a win for Denver. Instead, Miami succeeded in tying up the final playoff series at 1-1, marking a significant away victory with a final score of 111:108.
Miami’s forward, Jimmy Butler, added his voice to the conversation, acknowledging Jokic's formidable abilities. "I mean, he's a hell of a player," Butler said. "He passes the ball so incredibly well. Obviously, he can score the ball like he did tonight.
But when you get the opportunity to turn the ball over and get out into the open floor, I feel as though we have to do that, and we did a decent job of that today." The final series now heads to Miami, where the next two games will unfold on June 7 and 9.
The stakes are high, and the basketball world waits with bated breath to see how these two teams will battle it out on the court.
Is Nikola Jokic, currently the best player, ending his career soon?
Nikola Jokic's FIBA World Cup Withdrawal Shakes Serbian Basketball Fans
Pau Gasol reveals what makes Nikola Jokic so special
Nikola Jokic's World Cup Status Sends Shockwaves Through Serbia
Emotional Triumph: Nikola Jokic Named Finals MVP
Nikola Jokic's Innovations Fall Short in Dramatic NBA Finals Clash