Miami Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley wants to give his players and team staff a break after a nonstop year. When the last season resumed in the Orlando bubble, the Heat made the final but failed to win it all as they ended runners-up to the Los Angeles Lakers.
After a short break, the Heat kicked off their 2021 season and they weren't the same team -- and it all resulted in a 4-0 first round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. "We've been at this for a while, so where we're headed first is rest," Riley, the Heat president, said Thursday in his annual state-of-the-team address that traditionally comes shortly after the season ends.
"Our players, our staff, the people that have been here every day, every single day, they're mentally worn out more so than physically. And I think they just need to rest for a couple of weeks, a month."
Everyone in the Heat organization needs a break
"We're not total lunatics," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the series against Milwaukee ended.
"We'll give them a little bit of time off. That's the way this season has been. It's been so hard for everybody in this association. I didn't realize what month it was. I didn't realize it was Memorial Day weekend, and when I brought that up several players and staff members were right there with me.
It's been that kind of year." Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone admitted that mentally this has been the hardest season. "This season was unrelenting. ... I can't wait for the day when I can wake up and I don't have to worry about what time I've got to go down to the arena to get another damn test," Denver coach Michael Malone said Thursday, a day when the Nuggets had 8 a.m.
testing preceding a playoff game at night. "I think this year has been the hardest year in my 20 years in the NBA. It's the mental toll, the physical toll, the emotional toll." But luckily for Malone, his team beat the Portland Trail Blazers 4-2 in the first round.
"I love our team. I love every player in that locker room, one through seventeen," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We continue to find ways to win. Last year, this year, people don't realize what we're missing right now with injuries, so I couldn't be more proud of a group of players that I truly love coaching every single day."