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Spoelstra named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

The Sports Xchange

--For the third time in his four seasons with the Heat, Erik Spoelstra has been named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.

Spoelstra previously was named in March 2010 and December 2010. He now has won it as many times as Stan Van Gundy did with the Heat. Pat Riley was so cited five times as Heat coach. Riley is the only Heat coach to be named NBA Coach of the Year, which he took in 1996-97.

Spoelstra led the Heat to a league-best 11-2 (.846) record in February. The 11 wins and .846 winning percentage each rank second all-time for the Heat in the month of February. With three consecutive victories from Feb. 12-14 against the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers, the Heat became the first team to win road games on three consecutive nights since the Phoenix Suns in 1979.

"Obviously it's an honor," Spoelstra said. "But my focus, like everybody else's, is just on this season, and trying to give ourselves the very best chance when it counts. And for us to do that right now, we have to really be focused on improving as a basketball team."

--As the Heat moved on from Thursday's game in Portland, it took Spoelstra away from his hometown.

The Heat's annual trip to Portland allowed for a homecoming for Spoelstra, although he said he hadn't been gone quite as long as usual.

"It always is great to be able to see the family, a lot of friends," he said. "You never want to take those moments for granted.

"It was about the only benefit of the lockout this year, for me personally, I was able to spend two or three weeks here during the fall, which I haven't done that for years."

"For me, I just try to make the right plays and do what it takes to win games. I know that at the end of the day, games are not lost on one shot at the end, me not taking one shot at the end. But I wanted that game as bad as anyone else on that floor. I just didn't make enough plays." -- LeBron James, after passing on the game's final play, with teammate Udonis Haslem missing a potential winning jumper at the buzzer in Utah.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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