Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra
Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat talks with his team during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Five of the Eastern Conference second round. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / AFP)

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Lakers superstar LeBron James are set to have an unlikely reunion in the NBA Finals starting Wednesday (Thursday, Manila Time).

Spoelstra will be calling the shots for the Heat sans James, who led Miami to back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 together with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Filipino-American mentor shared a lot of history with James in the Heat franchise. Things will be different when they meet on opposing sides in the finals.

After Miami’s 125-113 win over Boston which closed out the series in six games, Spoelstra was asked about his impression of facing his former ace.

“I mean that’s a great storyline, right? Can you let us enjoy this for a little bit right now?” Spoelstra responded with a big laugh.

“This is hard to do. It’s hard to get to this point and I want our guys to recognize that, acknowledge it, enjoy it… at least for a night. And then we get onto that.”

It will be the first trip to the finals of the Heat since James opted for free agency in 2014. The team had major reshuffles, and it all ended when they signed Jimmy Butler—the final piece that unlocked their quest toward the finals.

The 49-year-old Spoelstra is nothing but grateful for his wards and described the current franchise as a “special group.”

“This group is more than anything, they just love to compete. We’re so grateful for this opportunity in this bubble.

“This group would have done it in an empty gym without anybody watching. Just toss that ball up. And I love that this group is so pure and enjoy each others’ success.”

From 2011 to 2014, Spoelstra steered the Heat to four consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

In 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, Miami faced the Paul George-led Indiana Pacers, who was then coached by Frank Vogel, current tactician of James and the Lakers.

The Heat bagged the back-to-back NBA titles in 2012 and 2013 against the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1) and the San Antonio Spurs (4-3).

Source: Manila Bulletin (