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Heat coach Erik Spoelstra rips officiating after heartbreaking loss to Warriors

Erik Spoelstra, Heat

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had a tough loss to swallow after losing 120-118 against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. The Heat led by as many as 19 points with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter, a lead the Warriors quickly evaporated, cutting it down to 10 by the end of the first, five by halftime, and turned into an eight-point deficit by the end of the third.

The Heat put up a 36-point fourth quarter to make matters close, but it didn’t prove enough to overcome the defending champs’ talent down the stretch, as they survived with a two-point win after a pair of DeMarcus Cousins free throws.

Free throws didn’t ruin the Heat’s chances to win, according to Spoelstra, but they did make a significant difference, as he noted in the postgame presser:

“Look, NBA do not fine me. I’m allowed to say this. It ends up being 26 to eight,” Spoelstra said of the Warriors’ free-throw total compared to the Heat’s, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I know nobody wants to hear that, and that’s not why we lost.

“The officials, so let’s be clear about it, so I do not get fined, that’s not why we lost. But you hate to see 26 to eight when our guys are going aggressively.”

The Heat only made 4-of-8 from the foul line, compared to 19-of-26 for the Warriors, but they benefited from the hot hand of Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow, who accounted for Miami’s entire long-range prowess.

Richardson put up a career-high 37 points, shooting 8-of-11 from deep, while Waiters and Winslow combined to shoot 10-of-22 from long-range. Those three outscored the Warriors’ entire team from deep, giving them the 15 points they lost at the foul line.

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