WATCH: Miami Heat Coach Throws Shade at Veteran ESPN Reporter in Tense Exchange, Accuses Her of Having an ‘Untrained Eye’


Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has grown fed up with one particular narrative that’s gathered steam in this year’s NBA playoffs.

The Heat won 111-108 over the Denver Nuggets in Sunday’s Game 2, with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic finishing with 41 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. By Jokic’s standards, that assist total is uncharacteristically low.

Veteran ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne asked the coach if the team’s strategy was to take away Jokic’s ability to pass and “turn him into a scorer.”

Spoelstra was quick to shut down the idea.

“That’s ridiculous,” he said. “That’s the untrained eye that says something like that.”

Jokic, a two-time MVP, is averaging a triple-double in this year’s playoffs with 30.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. Some analysts have suggested that the key to beating the Nuggets is to prevent Jokic was from getting his teammates more involved, which inevitably lowers his assist total.

Even Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — who’s won four championships with the team — agrees with it.

To Spoelstra’s credit, however, Jokic assist average in the Nuggets’ four losses this postseason is 9.5 — hardly enough of a drop-off to give the theory merit.

“This guy’s an incredible player,” Spoelstra said of Jokic. “Twice in two seasons he’s been the best player on this planet. You can’t just say, ‘Oh, make him a scorer.’ That’s not how they play. They have so many different actions that just get you compromised. We have to focus on what we do. We try to do things the hard way, and he requires you to do many things the hard way. He has our full respect.”

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