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Chris Broussard on M&M: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra ‘in over his head’

06.06.12 at 12:59 pm ET

Appearing on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s Chris Broussard discussed the Eastern Conference finals series following Boston’s Game 5 win Tuesday night. Broussard said the Celtics will win Game 6 and the series, citing Boston’s championship mentality as a reason for eventual triumph over the Heat. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Celtics. … Even when they lose, you walk away saying those guys are winners,” Broussard said. “They’re champions, they play with so much heart and mental toughness. They play through injuries, through adversity, they’re well-coached, they execute, they can play in the clutch. They’re great.

“And I feel that lack of respect for the Heat, because they don’t play up to their potential. They don’t execute, I don’t think they’re well-coached. … This team needs somebody with the credibility to kick them in the butt and make them perform and make them play with intensity — a Pat Riley, a Phil Jackson, a Gregg Popovich, somebody of that ilk. Maybe it’s not to blame [Erik] Spoelstra; he’s just in over his head. He never should have been put in charge of this situation.”

Broussard said Spoelstra has been unable to come up with effective strategies late in the game, noting that the Heat usually fall back on an isolation play that hasn’t produced good results.

“How about running a play like the Celtics do?” Broussard said. “Doc Rivers goes out of every time out and they run a great play and usually score. At the end of the game, whether it’s something for [Paul] Pierce, something for Ray Allen — and even if it’s for one of those guys, there are other options. If Ray doesn’t have it, you have [Kevin Garnett] as an option somewhere. If Pierce doesn’t have it, Ray or KG is an option somewhere.”

Broussard said Boston’s late-game options are bolstered by the Celtics’ mindset to win.

“I don’t see the mental toughness to make me believe [the Heat are] going to win this game, and I see plenty of mental toughness for the Celtics,” Broussard said.

Added Broussard: “There’s no reason for me to believe that [the Heat] can reach down and come up with the mental toughness and perseverance that it takes to win the game they need to win tomorrow. I haven’t seen it yet from them, not one time.”

Broussard also called Spoelstra’s explanation of keeping Miami’s Chris Bosh out late in the game “ridiculous.”

“Fair?” Broussard said. “Was it fair for Doc Rivers to play Rajon Rondo 53 minutes? Was it fair to play Ray Allen on bone spurs? It is fair to play Paul Pierce on a sprained MCL? This isn’t about being fair. Bosh wanted to play. These are grown men. This isn’t the YMCA league.”

Read More: Chris Bosh, Chris Broussard, Erik Spoelstra, Paul Pierce
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