Coach Spo

Written by Dave Hyde

Six straight hours of waiting in the African bush. Six straight hours of sitting in an all-terrain Jeep. Six straight hours of watching a leopard sit in a tree, study impalas feeding on berries underneath, waiting for the right prey at the right moment for the right attack.

“He tensed to jump out of the tree several times,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Each time something must not have been quite right.”

This was last summer in Maun, Botswana, where the Heat coach and his wife, Nikki, went after participating in NBA clinics in Africa. They sat close to the leopard, maybe distance from midcourt to the basket. They watched him work.

“The level of concentration and focus was something to behold,’’ Spoelstra said.

The Heat won Game 2 because Dwyane Wade scored 28 points. They won because James Johnson made all seven of his shots. They won because of Justise Winslow’s defense, and despite Hassan Whiteside’s limited play, and even because Rodney McGruder came off the bench for five defensive minutes.

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