NBA Finals

Kerr applauds Heat bench players' championship mentality

The Heat beat the Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

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Heat culture is more than a catchphrase in Miami.

It’s one of the reasons why Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the Heat are in the 2023 NBA Finals -- their sixth appearance in the last 13 seasons. 

Kerr credited Miami’s depth for its uprise in success throughout the playoffs and applauded Heat players for knowing and understanding their roles. 

“I think you have to establish that all season long with your team," Kerr said on "The Draymond Green Show," which was published Monday. "The message has to be whoever has it going is going to play. And the guys have to be connected enough to not only understand that but to embrace it. Caleb Martin was the star of the Boston series. He’s hardly been a factor in this series offensively, didn’t play much. But he hit a huge 3 in the fourth quarter [on Sunday]. 

“None of those guys on Miami are sitting there saying, ‘Well I didn’t play’ or ‘Man, they put in so and so.’ They’re just all about winning. And you know this from our groups that we’ve had. When you have that championship mentality, every guy is bought in. Every guy is just trying to win. Nobody cares about any of that stuff. You don’t go into the locker room saying, ‘Oh well I should’ve played more,’ you just want to win. And that’s the beauty of finding that magic when you have a championship team is that everybody’s bought in and it makes the decisions for the coach really simple. You just go with your gut and go with whoever is playing well." 

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra typically goes 10-deep into his roster, and there have been contributions up and down the lineup starting at the top with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo but with equally important impact coming from role players like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Caleb Martin. 

Entering the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, no one expected the Heat to make it this far -- except for themselves. Their confidence in one another has led to trust and, ultimately, success. It's Heat culture.

It’s a principle that has been instilled within the organization for decades courtesy of Pat Riley. The Warriors have had a similar philosophy in the past: Strength in numbers. 

It didn't work out for them this season, but the Warriors only can hope that their catchy slogan that somehow got lost over the years can once again be found next season and for years to come. 

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