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Erik Spoelstra: Heat attempted to ease fatigue on Ray Allen, veterans in 2013-14

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

SALT LAKE CITY -- A day after a report about Ray Allen criticizing the approach by the coaching staff and team management regarding the Miami Heat's failed bid for a third consecutive championship in 2013-14, coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday he very much attempted to tailor his approach to that veteran roster.

"After the New Year," Spoelstra said in advance of Friday night's game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena, "we made a conscious decision: less practices, less shootarounds."

Allen had addressed in a Sports Illustrated interview that fatigue was an issue for the Heat coming up short in 2014, pointing to excessive practices and shootarounds, as well as an overload of team-related player appearances.

Yet a review of the Heat's scheduling over that second half of that season shows reduced mandated practice time, with the Heat also working with Allen and other players to alleviate team appearances. That included allowing players to count sponsorship appearances toward their mandated team quota, as well as combine team-mandated appearances into single sessions.

"I don't know if anybody has a perfect formula," Spoelstra said. "So we constantly tried to improve it and work on the schedule. Who knows looking back on it whether it was the right call or not?

"We didn't end up winning a championship, but it was a terrific team. What an incredible run. Nothing should be taken away from that."

Allen's comments came out a week after former Heat guard Dwyane Wade compared that 2013-14 season to a "bad marriage."

"It's so long ago," Spoelstra said. "I look at that team with so much respect and joy. It's a chapter out of all of our lives that will always be there. Nobody can ever take it away from us."

The Heat went to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning championships with the Big Three core of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2012 and '13.

"It is not easy to do what that team did, and I think eventually everybody will be able to look back on that in such high regard and celebrate really what we were able to accomplish together," Spoelstra said.

"When I go down Championship Alley (at AmericanAirlines Arena) and I look at the photos, it brings me back to a place that I have so many fond memories. I don't stay there, though. I don't stay in that place. I'm fully invested in this group. It is a different Heat chapter right now."

But there also was candor from Spoelstra when asked if there are any regrets with how 2013-14 played out, with James leaving the team in free agency weeks after those NBA Finals.

"Come on, you know me," he said. "Whatever anybody can say, I've gone through. My entire process is I normally beat myself up -- and would've, could've, should've done a million things differently. I hope that's what helps me as a coach. I've changed and evolved quite a bit since that championship run with that group.

"A lot of those years helped me evolve, but a lot of what I've experienced as a coach in the last three years has really helped me evolve."

(c)2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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