Erik Spoelstra begins his 11th season as head coach of the HEAT and his 24th as a member
of the organization. Since being elevated to his current position on April 28, 2008,
Spoelstra has rewarded the faith that HEAT President Pat Riley showed in him by garnering
a 484-320 regular season record, a 71-47 postseason mark, eight postseason appearances,
six division titles, four conference championships and guiding the franchise to a pair of
NBA championships. Since his ascension to head coach, Miami has the fourth-highest
regular season winning percentage in the NBA (tops in the Eastern Conference) and has
recorded the fourth-best postseason winning percentage.
In just ten seasons at the helm, Spoelstra has already established his place in the HEAT
record book as the winningest coach in franchise history. He holds the franchise postseason
records for victories (71), winning percentage (.602), series won (15) and games coached (118).
In regular season play he ranks fi rst in victories (484), owns the highest winning percentage
(.602) and sits second in games coached (804) for the HEAT. Spoelstra, who passed Riley
on Miami’s all-time victory list with win number 455 on Dec. 16, 2017 against the Clippers,
has also been honored as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month a franchiserecord
Since replacing Riley on the HEAT bench ten years ago, Spoelstra has seen the expectations
for his team change dramatically from the time he was appointed head coach until
now. When he inherited the head coaching reins in 2008 he was given the task of improving
a young team that had been ravaged by injuries the previous season and had won just
15 games. Two years later, after the summer of 2010 in which Miami re-signed
Dwyane Wade and acquired All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, he found himself
coaching a highly-talented, veteran group that was the most scrutinized team in the NBA.
Throughout his tenure he has remained a steadying infl uence for his team and its paid huge
dividends in return. Spoelstra has proven up to the challenge as he has guided them to a
pair of NBA Championships, four-straight Eastern Conference Championships and four
consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. When the HEAT defeated Indiana in the 2014 Eastern
Conference Finals they became the just the third franchise in NBA history to make four
consecutive NBA Finals appearances, joining the Celtics and Lakers. It also made them
at the time just one of 10 franchises in the four major North American sports leagues to
make four consecutive trips to the league championship. Individually, Spoelstra became just
the fourth head coach in NBA history to lead his team to four consecutive Finals appearances
joining Red Auerbach, K.C. Jones and Pat Riley.
Spoelstra, who is currently in 10th place on the NBA’s all-time postseason winning
percentage list (minimum 50 games coached) and fourth among active head coaches,
joined a very elite fraternity when he led the HEAT to a seven-game series win over the
San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals. Upon capturing the 2013 NBA Championship he
became just the 13th head coach in NBA history to have won multiple championships and
only the eighth to win a championship in consecutive seasons. Spoelstra enters the 2018-19
season ranked 14th on the NBA’s all-time postseason victories list, third among active coaches.
In regular season play, he ranks 32nd on the NBA’s all-time victories list (sixth among
active coaches) and 12th all-time (third among active coaches) in regular season
win percentage (minimum 400 games coached).
Since he took over the HEAT, no coach in the NBA has won more playoff games or playoff
series than Spoelstra. Under Spoelstra, the HEAT have advanced to the playoffs in eight
of his ten seasons and have won 15 of 21 postseason series (.714 winning percentage),
including a franchise-record 11 consecutive series from 2012-14. Spoelstra’s teams have a
15-6 (.714) record when having an opponent on the brink of elimination, including a perfect
11-0 mark at home, and a 9-6 (.600) mark when they are on the brink of elimination.
One of the keys to that success has been Miami’s dominance at the AmericanAirlines
Arena under Spoelstra. In his ten seasons, Spoelstra’s regular season record at the
AmericanAirlines Arena is a sterling 276-126 (.687) and his postseason record at home is
an even better 46-15 (.754). The HEAT have also proven to be able to win away from home,
evidenced by fi ve straight seasons from 2009-14 that Miami posted a winning record on
the road, a fi rst in franchise history. Additionally, Miami has won at least one postseason
road game in each of its past 19 series to establish an NBA record.
In a career highlighted by multiple championships, the 2016-17 campaign might have been
Spoelstra’s greatest coaching job to date. Despite leading the league in games missed
due to injury, Spoelstra guided the HEAT to the greatest in-season turnaround in NBA
history and as a result shared the National Basketball Coaches Association inaugural
Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year Award with Mike D’Antoni. After compiling an 11-30
(.268) record at the halfway point of the season, the HEAT completely reversed course going
30-11 (.732) over the fi nal 41 games to fi nish the season at .500. Previously, no team in
NBA history that was at least 19 games under .500, at any point during the season,
22 I MIAMI HEAT 2018-19
had ever managed to end the season at .500. Miami fi nished with the most wins (41) in
league history of any team that had been at least 19 games under .500 at any point in a
season. The HEAT’s second half turnaround was highlighted by a 13-game winning streak
from Jan. 17-Feb. 10, the franchise’s third-longest winning streak and the longest in NBA
history by any team that was at least 19 games under .500.
Keyed by a strong defensive effort, the 2015-16 season was highlighted by the fi fth division
title in the Spoelstra era and a trip to the Eastern Conference Semifi nals where the HEAT
came within a game of advancing back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami led the
NBA in blocked shots during the campaign and ranked fi fth in scoring defense and ninth in
fi eld goal percentage defense.
The 2013-14 season saw the HEAT capture their fourth straight Eastern Conference
Championship, fourth straight Southeast Division title and their sixth straight
postseason appearance, tying the franchise record for consecutive postseason berths.
Spoelstra added to his individual accolades capturing Coach of the Month honors for the
month of February after guiding Miami to a 9-1 record. On Feb. 23, he notched his 300th
career victory against Chicago in just his 448th game, reaching that milestone in fewer
games than any coach in franchise history.
After guiding Miami to its second NBA crown in 2012, Spoelstra and his team knew they
would get everyone’s best shot on a daily basis during the 2012-13 season and what the
HEAT accomplished under Spoelstra was one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. It was
a season fi lled with highlights from participating in a preseason tour in China to ending with
a championship celebration on the fl oor of the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 20, 2013.
Spoelstra guided the HEAT to a franchise-record 66-win regular season which included a
27-game winning streak from Feb. 3-Mar. 25, the second longest single-season streak in
NBA history. In large part due to the winning streak, the HEAT fi nished the second half
of the 2012-13 season with a 38-3 record and lost just one game each in the months
of February, March and April. The 17-1 record in March set a franchise record for victories in
any month. As a result of the streak, Spoelstra was named the NBA Eastern Conference
Coach of the Month in both February and March becoming the fi rst HEAT coach to receive
the honors in consecutive months. The record-setting season also helped Spoelstra earn
the honor of coaching the Eastern Conference at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, a fi rst in his
career. The fi nal victory in the 27-game win streak, at Orlando on Mar. 25, marked the 250th
regular season victory in Spoelstra’s career.
The 2012 championship culminated a compressed 2011-12 season in which Miami went
46-20 and captured its second consecutive Southeast Division title. The regular season was
highlighted by a nine-game win streak (Feb. 10-Mar. 1) with each victory a double-digit win.
During that streak the HEAT became the fi rst team to win road games on three consecutive
nights (Feb. 12-14) since December of 1979 and the fi rst to win each of those contests by
double-digits since the 1970-71 season.
Miami’s success during the 2011-12 campaign was driven by its defense. The HEAT once
again ranked among the top defensive teams in the NBA, fi nishing third in steals per
game, fourth in scoring defense, fourth in scoring margin and fi fth in fi eld goal percentage
defense, the third straight year Miami ranked in the top fi ve in fi eld goal percentage defense.
The HEAT also proved dominant at home, posting a 28-5 record, which included a 17-game
home winning streak, the second longest in franchise history. The 28 home victories tied
for the most in the league and the .848 home winning percentage is the third best
single-season mark in franchise history.
Spoelstra led Miami to a 58-24 regular season record, a Southeast Division title and an
Eastern Conference championship in 2010-11. The 58 wins mark the fourth best total in
franchise history and Miami’s 28 road wins tied for the most in the NBA in 2010-11 and rank
third in HEAT history. Spoelstra earned NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors
in December after guiding the HEAT to a 15-1 record, including a perfect 10-0 mark on the
road. The 10 road victories in December set a franchise record for any month and the HEAT
established an NBA record for most consecutive road wins in a calendar month. Defense was
once again the stalwart of the HEAT’s success as Miami led the NBA in point differential,
fi nished second in defensive fi eld goal percentage and sixth in scoring defense.
After an impressive rookie campaign, Spoelstra guided Miami to a 47-35 record in 2009-
10. Under his leadership the HEAT closed the season by winning 18 of its fi nal 22 games,
including a 12-3 record in March which earned him NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the
Month honors. The 2009-10 season was one of its best defensive seasons for Miami as the
HEAT allowed the fewest fi eld goals in the NBA and fi nished second in both points allowed
and defensive fi eld goal percentage.