Heat putting behind disappointment of Game 7 loss, moving forward to summer

Boston Celtics forwards Jayson Tatum (0) and Grant Williams (12) defend Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the second half of Game 7 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series, Sunday, May 29, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The summer is underway for the Miami Heat.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra and several players addressed reporters on Tuesday.

Two days earlier, the Heat were eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to Boston 100-96 at FTX Arena.

Spoelstra said he still needs time to decompress from the loss before being objective about the season.

Spoelstra said, “We did not accomplish the goal that we set out for ourselves. However, with all that said, you also want to create memories and have an enjoyable experience through an arduous, challenging 7-8 month season.”

The head coach said, “It was a really gratifying and memorable season, I enjoyed connecting with those guys in the locker room.”

Spoelstra praised his team for handling adversity without excuses.

He also indicated that he would love an opportunity to run it back next year with the same group, but those decisions are up to Heat President Pat Riley.

Heat forward Udonis Haslem would not indicate if he wants to come back for another season.

Haslem said, “Hell, I want to be playing right now, I didn’t get what I want. I want to still be playing so I’m not getting what I want in the moment. Right now, it’s time to take a mental break and figure it out after that.”

Guard Tyler Herro talked about his challenging postseason, as he dealt with a groin injury.

Herro said, “The season was good, great as far as the experiences, the memories, everything that happened, obviously, not the ending that we wanted.”

Herro said, “the Playoffs were a weird ride... It was a learning curve for me. People forget I just turned 22 and it’s still only my third playoffs. I made a jump this year and continue to get better... there’s going to be small setbacks where I learn, it motivates me, it gets me better.”

Forward Caleb Martin is preparing to go into free agency.

He indicated that he does want to return to the Miami Heat.

Martin said, “I think it’s tip of the iceberg kind of thing with me... kind of whatever a team needs from me... I think I could step in and start, whatever the role a team needs from me.”

Martin said he was able to expand his game while with the Heat.

Guard Gabe Vincent said that he was going to work on his point guard skills.

Vincent said, “I’m looking forward to the offseason. I’m looking forward to the grind and getting back in the lab and trying to come back with something different.”

Max Strus was asked about a controversial play in Game 7, where he hit a three-pointer, but it was later overturned by video review.

Strus said, “I don’t know how that was called that after I’ve seen the video. They say that rule to take the human error out of the game. Then the human error makes an error on the video. I don’t know. Hopefully, I don’t get fined. I’m obviously not happy about it. It is what it is at this point.. It definitely changed the game and the momentum... I’m not happy about it but I guess I just have to move on.”

About the Author:

David Lang is executive producer of the Local 10 sports department.