Miami Heat: Erik Spoelstra Is Becoming A Master At Massaging Egos

By Richard Nurse
Erik Spoelstra
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have a lot to be thankful for. Two NBA championships, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and a coach very skilled at juggling egos and multiple lineups. That showed again Wednesday night when Erik Spoelstra continued his run of playing musical chairs.

Instead of sticking Udonis Haslem back in with the first five, coach Spoelstra decided to replace an ailing Shane Battier with Rashard Lewis. It was his seventh different starting lineup in 15 games.

In the words of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman: “Haslem has turned to an only-if-needed luxury, even with Battier out.”

But you will never hear him — or the other four guys that didn’t play — complain. That’s the type of faith that Spoelstra has earned from his players — especially when he’s doing things like picking up technical fouls for his stars.

He’s a long way away from the 2010 James bump that everyone thought signaled the end of his run as the Heat’s head man. However, his mentor, Pat Riley stuck with him and now he’s only the 13th coach to have multiple rings.

His leadership has been pretty flawless — particularly his ability to get players to run through the wall for each other. That started with the way the team pulled together during James’ first hostile trip to Cleveland.

And on this visit, coach Spoelstra helped take the pressure off of James by rewarding Michael Beasley’s patience with playing time. And in return Beasley provided 17 points and nine rebounds.

It just goes to show that when it comes to massaging personalities, Riley’s successor was the right one. Be thankful.

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Richard Nurse is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.

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