Stubborn Spo Getting Taken to School

Rick Carlisle has outcoached Erik Spoelstra in the fourth quarter

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Head coach Erik Spoelstra can't seem to get it righ tin the fourth quarter.

    While the media, haters and even die hard Miami Heat fans pile on the LeBron James criticism express, the man who might deserve some of the blame is being treated like a wide-eyed school boy.

    In two fourth quarters against Dallas in these NBA Finals, head coach Erik Spoelstra has been taken to school by Rick Carlisle on how to make adjustments.

    For all of LeBron's struggles in Game 4, the Heat were up by nine points with about nine minutes to play. Then Carlisle went into his bag of gimmicks and pulled out the 2-3 zone defense.

    At the time James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers were on the floor. None of those talented players are shooters, but Spoelstra decided to stick with the unit, which, to be fair, had built the lead.

    Two turnovers later, the Mavs are only down five. Instead of calling timeout and inserting Mike Miller as the zone buster, Spoelstra defiantly continued with the now struggling unit that was obviously befuddled by the college-style defense.

    Several more empty possessions later, the Heat are down a point and Spoelstra finally decides to call time out and insert Miller.

    So what does Carlisle do? He switches back to traditional man-to-man defense, once again negating Miller coming in the game and staying a step ahead of Spoelstra, who can't seem to find the answers in the fourth quarter.

    For the first time this playoffs, Spoelstra is looking like the in-over-his-head coach the haters had expected when the Big Three were assembled.

    He has made several game-costing mistakes against Dallas, starting in Game 2 when he opted for Chris Bosh to defend Dirk Nowitzki in the final seconds of a tie game over Udonis Haslem, who even Dirk admits is a much tougher matchup.

    Spoelstra gets praised for being a lot like Hall of Fame coach and his mentor Pat Riley because he sticks to his strategy and rotations and has faith it will work.

    Maybe that explains why Mike Bibby has been getting significant and ineffective minutes throughout these playoffs.

    The young coach deserves much of the credit for getting the Heat to the brink of a championship.

    Spoelstra ends nearly every press conference after a Heat loss with "We will be better."

    He needs to get better quick or Miami will see the title slip away.