Afterward, the Heat seemed cognizant of their new reality — that nearly everyone would be counting them out. Spoelstra called it “the narrative” that he said he was certain would circulate over the weekend. Butler, indicated that he did not care.
“We don’t have no quit,” he said. “We are going to continually fight, starting tomorrow, to get better, and then we are going into Monday to do what we said we were going to do this entire time and win. We have to. We have no other choice. Otherwise, we did all this for no reason.”
He added: “We’ve done some hard things all year long, and now it’s like the hardest of the hard.”
The challenge before them is great, though not insurmountable. The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 N.B.A. finals, shocking the Golden State Warriors, who had set a record by winning 73 games during the regular season. Still, Cleveland is the only team to recover from that deep a hole in the finals; 35 other teams have tried and failed.
Spoelstra said he told his players in the locker room “to feel whatever you want to feel” after the loss. He did not expect them to get much sleep, and that was probably a good thing. He wanted them to stew on what had happened, and then refocus on the hardest-of-the-hard task ahead.
“Our guys love this kind of deal,” Spoelstra said.
The Heat wanted adversity? They definitely have some now.