NBA

Spoelstra says struggling Heat have 'sense of urgency' after Clippers make NBA history

By Sports Desk January 29, 2021

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra insisted his team still have the right spirit and a huge "sense of urgency" after suffering a fifth straight loss, going down 109-105 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

In an NBA first for the shot-clock era, the Clippers won a game despite being outscored by 14+ points in the first and fourth quarters, according to Stats Perform data. 

The Heat fell to 6-12 for the season having been beaten by a Clippers team playing without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. 

Spoelstra was also without key players; Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala were among seven who were unavailable. 

The Clippers trailed by 18 early, but then turned the tables and built a lead as high as 19 by the time the third quarter ended.

However, the Heat won the fourth quarter by 15 points and were within three before ultimately losing out in a frantic finale. 

The struggles this season are a stark contrast to last, when they impressively made the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. 

"When it went good, it was because their hearts are in the right place for sure," said Spoelstra. 

"We are just grinding and trying to figure out how to get over the hump and try and give ourselves our best chance of winning.  

"It is just a matter of consistency to be able to do that throughout the course of the game.  

"Our group has a great spirit and a big-time sense of urgency. It is not a matter of that, it is a matter of finding a way to be consistent throughout. 

"There are a lot of moving parts. That makes it unique. You can’t make an excuse for it. You have to continue to grind, to learn and compete for each other. We just need to be more consistent with it."

Tyler Herro had 19 points as he returned after missing seven games with neck spasms, with Spoelstra hoping more players will follow soon. 

He added:  "We will be getting guys back soon enough. You get Tyler back and there is just a boost to it and that is encouraging.  

"Everyone in the locker room really wants to play better and in a perfect world we want to be in a better place than we are right now and we are not.  

"We just have to continue to grind." 

Nicolas Batum scored 18 points for the Clippers, one of their six players to reach double figures. Tyronn Lue's team improved to 14-5 on the season and have won eight of their last nine games.

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