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Despite win over Celtics, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra not pleased at midway point of season

David Furones, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI -- So how did Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra feel at Friday's practice after a convincing Thursday night home victory over the surging Boston Celtics in front of a national TV audience on TNT?

Well, not quite what one would imagine.

Spoelstra was asked about the state of the team -- the next game for the Heat (20-20) will mark the midway point of the 82-game regular season -- and he was visibly displeased.

"I'm not happy about where we are," Spoelstra said. "We're not happy about where we are. Yesterday was yesterday. It was a great competitive game on a Thursday night. (Saturday) night is the game I want to see a difference in our approach.

"When we set out on the very first day of training camp, this is not where we wanted to be. (Saturday) is an opportunity to start to change that for the second half of the season. We have a lot of season left and a lot of opportunity ahead of us."

Star guard Dwyane Wade, who has had Spoelstra at his side for about 14 of his now 15 and a half seasons in the NBA -- either as an assistant or head coach -- understood where his coach was coming from as the Heat prepare to host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday evening.

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"No one wants to sit at .500. No one wants to be under .500, so we want to continue to keep playing better as a team," Wade said. "I think we're a better team than 20-20, but we're 20-20.

"If we were 25-15, we would want to be 30-10. The want for us to be better is never going to go away. We had a team that (went to the Finals) four years in a row, you didn't see Spo smiling all the time, even then."

Being .500 is too familiar of a feeling after the 2016-17 run of 11-30 to 30-11 resulted in 41-41 and finishing a tiebreaker outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Heat were then 44-38 last season -- good for sixth in the East and a first-round exit in five games to the Philadelphia 76ers.

"It's about where we've been in this whole three seasons we've kind of been together, so it's probably a little bit frustrating for everybody," guard Tyler Johnson said.

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