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Miami Heat shows grit to salvage road trip
LOS ANGELES – When the Heat set out on its six-game road trip, coach Erik Spoelstra laid out an agenda of things he wanted his team to accomplish. It took six-games, but everything came together against the Lakers.
“We talked about it from the very first day of this 10-day road trip,” Spoelstra said.
“We wanted to accomplish a few things. We wanted to connect together as a group away from Miami; we wanted to build a road resolve and toughness to be able to find ways to win games when you’re not necessarily shooting the ball well.”
The Heat struggled mightily early in the road trip against Indiana and then again sputtered against Portland and Utah.
Against the Lakers, the Heat’s shooting was off – it shot 2 of 13 from three-point range – but counterbalanced that inefficiency with a relentless defense that forced 20 turnovers.
In its final two games of the road trip, the Heat forced 41 turnovers for 55 points. That hustle and determination was crystallized in one play against Los Angeles.
Spoelstra called James’ loose ball scramble with five minutes left in the game the most important play of the road trip.
Six cities, 10 days, a few icy locker rooms, records, milestones and it came down this: James diving headlong on the court for a loose ball.
BY JOSEPH GOODMAN