Heat players bonded during a Super Bowl party in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday night, and Erik Spoelstra said New England’s historic rally brought to mind one of the most significant moments in Heat history.
“It certainly reminded us, that have been around, of the yellow ropes,” Spoelstra said of the 2013 NBA Finals, when the NBA started placing ropes around the AmericanAirlines Arena court in anticipation of a post-Game 6 San Antonio Spurs championship ceremony, before Ray Allen’s late three in that game rallied the Heat in a series that Miami eventually won in seven games.
“It crossed my mind,” Udonis Haslem said of that Game 6. “I saw the owner down there [Atlanta’s Arthur Blank] on the sideline getting ready to celebrate.”
Heat players and coaches watched the game at CityWorks, a popular sports bar across the street from Target Center. Attendance for players was mandatory.
Haslem, the only active Heat player who was on that 2012-13 Heat team, said he believes he also was the only Heat player who stayed at CityWorks until the end of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
“I was hoping Atlanta would pull it out,” he said. “It's always fun for us to get together even though you want to be with your family. For us to always get together and create that relationship, that’s part of building a winning foundation.”
Guard Goran Dragic said he left the gathering at halftime.
“They were up [21-3 at halftime],” Dragic said of Atlanta. “I said, ‘This is boring man.’ I came to my room. I was talking to my family. I still had the game on. It was an unbelievable win. I was for the Atlanta Falcons because they were the underdogs. It's a huge achievement. … for the New England Patriots.”
Spoelstra said these type of team events “makes this life more memorable and more enjoyable. You can get whatever you want out of it. It's not necessarily to try to cultivate more wins. We're going to be on the road. We're going to be out there together. You want to make the season memorable. Not just go through it like a robot and just live to the schedule.
“It's fun being around a group of guys that like being around each other, like getting in the gym and working together. Not all teams are wired that way. This group is very good in that regard.”
Was there a lesson in New England’s winning comeback from a 25-point deficit?
“Potentially,” Spoelstra said. “We talked about it…. It was a great sporting event. We're sports fans. We all got our money's worth on that one. It was spectacular.”
Spoelstra asked if he sees a link with franchises who have sustained success, such as the Patriots, Spurs and Heat.
“I would love to know what's going in those buildings,” he said. “Maybe that's what's similar is you don't know. You know a little bit but don't know everything. You respect organizations and pros that have been able to do it for a long period of time.”
Hassan Whiteside said there was at least one lesson to emerge from the game.
“I hadn't even watched them play this year, but I hadn't learned anything, it's don't bet against Brady,” Whiteside said. “It was an amazing Super Bowl.”
▪ Monday was the 14th game that Josh Richardson was expected to miss with a sprained left foot. But he’s with the team on this four-game road trip and doing everything except contact work.
Asked if contact work might come this week, Spoelstra said: “We'll see. That's why he's with us, to find out.”
▪ If you missed our break this morning on the story, here are all the details on the Heat’s roster moves today.