Brought to you by: Crank Up The HEAT
The NBA announced Monday that Heat players LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Co-Players of the Month for December, and Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December.
That’s right, Erik Spoelstra is Coach of the Month, and I guess that website "firespo.com" should be shut down.
Coach Spo was given the honor after guiding the Heat to a league best 15-1 record in the month of December, with key wins versus the Cavaliers in LeBron’s return to Cleveland on Dec. 2, the New York Knicks in two blowouts, and the Los Angeles Lakers in a Christmas day beatdown of the two-time defending world champions.
With all the talk as to whether the “stars would ever align” in South Beach this season, LeBron has done his part in helping D3 with his mission to bring the rings back to Miami. In the month of December, LeBron averaged 25.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists, and shot 51 percent from the field.
With LeBron by his side, Wade went on and averaged 27.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.67 steals while shooting 54.3 percent from the field for the month. Dwyane Wade became only the fourth HEAT player since the 2000-2001 season to average at least 27 points, six rebounds, four assists and shoot 54 percent from the field in a month.
Talks of “Fire Spo” have died down since Miami went on their “revenge tour” in December. Spoelstra's hot month earned him his second Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award. Spoelstra was also given the honor back in March of 2010, and it’s the 10th time a Heat coach has won the award.
Spoelstra set a Heat franchise record for both wins in a month (15) and road wins in a month (going a perfect 10-0). Miami became the first team in NBA history to win 10 straight road games. Spoelstra led Miami to an 8-0 record vs. the Eastern Conference and a 7-1 record vs. the Western Conference.
Spoelstra’s defensive game plan set the tone during the month, as the Heat held opponents to under 100 points in 15 of the 16 games and under 40 percent from the field in six games.
Only one opponent shot above 45 percent for the month, as the Heat limited opponents to only 89.0 points per game, 40.2 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from three-point range. Miami capped off the month with a 125-119 road win at Houston, snapping the Rockets’ eight-game home winning streak.
With the victory in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Christmas Day, Coach Spoelstra earned his 113th career win, moving him past former Heat Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and into third place on the team’s all-time win list.
As of right now, Miami sits second in the Eastern Conference, only a half game behind the crippled Boston Celtics. Miami is 27-9 and looking to take over the No. 1 spot in the East that it held for all of a day or two.
With all the cylinders clicking for Miami, this finally looks like the team that many envisioned in the beginning of the season. Is this the best the Heat will ever be?
No, as Spoelstra said on Saturday, “There are a few ‘levels’ of offensive improvement that remain unlocked with this team.”
Over the next month, it will be interesting to see just how much this team can improve.