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The Heat's downright awful offensive play during crucial stretches of the Eastern Conference Finals will lead many Heat fans to call for his head should the Boston Celtics close out the series on Thursday or Saturday.
How can a team with two of the five best players in the NBA lose any playoff series, much less one against an aging team no one expected to see in the Eastern Conference Finals? Spoelstra's coaching moves are not the only reason Miami has struggled. Chris Bosh's abdominal injury and the Heat's struggles from the 3-point line have nothing to do with Spoelstra, for instance.
But seeing as he is the most expendable member of the Heat, he is also the most likely to be made a scapegoat if team president Pat Riley is feeling vengeful should the Heat fall short of a title in Year 2 of the Big Three Era. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will not be traded no matter the outcome, nor would Chris Bosh.
And if the Heat lose, there certainly will not be any shortage of Heat fans wishing for the ax to fall on Spoelstra. This being the 21st century, there is of course a FireSpo.com website already in existence. The site's petition to dismiss Spoelstra has upwards of 35,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. That number could grow exponentially very soon.
Even so, it seems highly unlikely for a variety of reasons that Riley would come out of retirement to replace Spoelstra, the way he did when Stan Van Gundy mysteriously "resigned" early in the 2005-2006 season. Van Gundy's disappearance aside, the Heat are an insular organization that does not cast off personnel lightly (as evidenced by the fact that Ron Rothstein, the team's first coach, is still on staff as an assistant).
This is all to say that as satisfying as the dismissal of Spoelstra may seem, Heat fans may not want to get their hopes up.
Whenever Miami has struggled over the past two seasons, the heat on Spoelstra has only intensified. But can a new coach really do much better than Spoelstra? The biggest problem facing the Heat is the fact that the team can't avoid stretches when it stops attacking the rim and settles for contested jump shots.
No matter how many times Spoelstra tells the Heat to not take their foot off the pedal during hot stretches, his team keeps falling into the same trap over and over again. Should a coach take the blame if his advice keeps going unheeded? Or is the fact that Miami's star players seem to tune out Spoelstra at times make him even more irrelevant than even his critics regularly assert?
Perhaps Spoelstra should not have left Chris Bosh on the bench during the last quarter of Game 5, when his range could have freed up space in the lane for Wade and James. But considering the fact that Boston outscored Miami by 12 points during his 14 minutes on the floor, Spoelstra's choice might have actually prevented the game from getting more out of hand.
The Heat certainly are not blaming their coach. "At this point, it's not about schemes," Wade said after Tuesday's Game 5 loss. "It's not about play-calling."
But will that be enough if the Big Three finish Year 2 without a championship parade in downtown Miami?