History Points to Miami Heat Having Huge 2nd Half Surge Because of Erik Spoelstra

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The Miami Heat have reached the halfway point of the 2018-19 NBA season with a record of 21-20, currently the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

While that mark has been partly due to the team’s injuries, a look at head coach Erik Spoelstra’s coaching history offers hope that the Heat could rise in the standings by the end of the regular season.

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Spoelstra was named to replace Pat Riley as head coach of the Heat in April 2008 and has compiled an overall regular-season coaching record of 505-340, a winning percentage of .598.

His most successful stretch came from 2010 to 2014, when the Heat reached the Finals in four consecutive seasons and captured NBA titles in both 2012 and 2013. During those campaigns, the Heat were 224-88, a winning percentage of .718.

The Heat’s .627 second-half winning percentage (252-150) during the Spoelstra era has seen some peaks and valleys along the way.

Prior to that amazing surge in 2013, the Heat had a 28-13 record, which was the best record in the East, though only by a slim margin. By the time the season had ended, no Eastern team was within 12 games of Miami.

More realistically, Spoelstra is hoping for a repeat of the 2016-17 second-half surge. During the first half of that campaign, the Heat’s injury problems saddled them with an 11-30 mark, seemingly putting them out of playoff contention. However, Miami completely reversed course and put together a dramatic run that came up agonizingly short of the postseason.

The Heat have welcomed back guard Dion Waiters in recent weeks and have the inspiration of wanting to close out Dwyane Wade’s legendary career with a strong run. How the rest of the season plays out remains uncertain, but the next five weeks will offer the team a stiff challenge as it plays 12 of the next 16 contests on the road. That trek begins on Tuesday night with a game in Milwaukee.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.