With 23 games left in the season, the Miami Heat are looking to make some noise once again in time for the playoffs as they did last season where they made it to the NBA Finals. In an interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talked about what the top priority is for the postseason as it deals with the “mentality” of the team rather than health.

“No, it's not even about going into the playoffs healthy, but about getting all your competitors lined up together to take on this challenge,” Spoelstra said. “You can't control who's available. It's more of a mentality.”

If there is a team that has the mindset to get through the playoffs, it is Miami who boasts their “Heat Culture” and toughness that is seemingly frustrating for opposing teams. This was shown on full display last season where as the No. 8 seed, they made a miraculous run getting through the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games, the New York Knicks in six, and the Boston Celtics in seven

Spoelstra mentioning how he can't “control who's available” has been an understatement for the Heat as they have dealt with constant injury problems which has resulted in middling results like last year's seeding. He would go on to say that to make a run or win a championship, a lot of aspects “emotionally, physically, spiritually” go into it.

“It's the hardest thing that you try to do collectively as a group is to win a championship,” Spoelstra said. “There's so much that goes into it emotionally, physically, spiritually, and then there has to be a connectivity with all that to be able to accomplish it.”

Erik Spoelstra reflecting on NBA Finals loss

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra looks on in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In the present time, the Heat are back in the eighth seed after the loss to the Denver Nuggets Thursday where they were fifth beforehand, showing how tightly packed the Eastern Conference is. Setting up the team emotionally, they are motivated than ever as they lost in the NBA Finals last season, which Spoelstra called “tough,” but can also be seen as a learning lesson.

“It is tough. There's no question about it,” Spoelstra said. “There's no solace in making it that far and coming up short. But it happened, and you have to take ownership for that and also give credit to Denver. They were fantastic in that series, and they earned it all the way through it.

“Sometimes pain can drive the most growth collectively in this profession,” Spoelstra continued. “Sometimes winning can be the worst teacher, and losing sometimes unfortunately can be the greatest teacher. And that pain sometimes can motivate you and drive you to a necessary level. The one thing we all realized is we needed and we need to get to a higher level to be able to finish the job.”

The Heat are 33-26 on the season which puts them at the eighth seed as said before, but the team is still at a major turnaround as they have won nine of their last 12 games. They start a two-game home stand after being on the road for six straight games including the All-Star break as it starts Saturday against the Utah Jazz.