Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has apologized for his terse response to a question posed by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne following the Heat’s 111-108 victory over the Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.
The Heat trailed the Nuggets by as many as 15 points in the contest. But strong performances from Gabe Vincent, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo helped offset Nikola Jokić’s 41 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
However, when Shelburne asked Spoelstra for his thoughts on making Jokić merely a “scorer,” Spoelstra delivered an unpleasant response.
“That’s a ridiculous … that’s the untrained eye that says something like that,” Spoelstra said. “This guy [Nikola Jokić] is an incredible player. Twice in two seasons he’s been the best player on this planet. You can’t just say, ‘Oh, make him a scorer.’ That’s not how they play.”
On Monday, Shelburne revealed on ESPN’s NBA Today that she and Spoelstra “are fine” and that he apologized for the comment.
“We talked after the game. He watched the clip back and texted me… saying I’m sorry I don’t know why I said that,” Shelburne said. “In the heat of the moment after a game like that when things are intense, people say things, and nothing is personal.”
The Heat seek to take a 2-1 lead against Denver on Wednesday night in Game 3 as the best-of-seven series shifts to Miami.