"Heat Success in Playoffs Testimony to Regular Season Toughness Built Through Play-In Tournament"

The Miami Heat have come a long way since being one of the first teams to qualify through the play-in tournament, and as they continue their hot streak in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Coach Erik Spoelstra is adamant in saying how important that experience was in helping his team form a team-wide mental toughness. "It was a blessing to be able to go through all of that," said Spoelstra. "To not let it collapse our spirit, but really to harden us, and steel us and bring us closer together and develop that kind of grit and perseverance that's needed in the postseason."

Veteran guard Kyle Lowry echoed Spoelstra's comments while noting the importance of the regular season in forming habits and building "foundation." He said, "We've built our habits to know what we're gonna do and that's play hard every single night. Be ready to go no matter what the situation is, who we're playing against, what we have out there lineups wise, I think that's the one thing we did build through this year. The habits-- that we know that we can go and play anywhere with anyone at any time."

With the help of their leader, Jimmy Butler, the Heat are now just three wins away from yet another NBA Finals appearance and Spoelstra says he would welcome another competitive regular season like this one in the future. "If you can be privileged enough to have a regular season like that all the time that would be unbelievable," he said.