Culture, leadership have defined Heat’s success this NBA season: Bowen

Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving goes to the basket past Memphis Grizzlies’ JaMychal Green during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

New York, Sep 25 (IANS) From being the surprise of the ongoing NBA season, Miami Heat have continued their march towards becoming serious contenders in some style. They are now one win away from making to the NBA Finals after beating Boston Celtics 112-109 in Game 4. Former Miami Heat player Bruce Bowen credits the team’s culture and leadership for the success.

“Culture in a team has more to do with the leadership and what’s their vision. Pat Riley from day one understood in order to have success at this level, you must work hard. And so that’s the constant about the Heat organisation,” explained Bowen while recently speaking exclusively with the Indian media.

Entering the Playoffs as the 5th seed, the Miami side are 10-2 in the Playoffs, sweeping 4th seeded Indiana Pacers 4-0 in Round 1, humbling top seeds Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in semifinals and 3-1 up against Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Since the current 16-team playoff format was implemented for the 1983-84 season, no team seeded fifth has reached the NBA Finals, and Miami Heat look set to break the record.

The highlight of their Playoffs run has been their hard-nosed defense and gritty style of play with team first mentality. The Erik Spoelstra-managed team found their match in Jimmy Butler who in turn has led a young bunch consisting of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo with able support from seasoned Goran Dragic. Bam’s game-winning block in Game 1 is already being touted as one of the best in playoff history, clutch plays from Herro and Duncan Robinson at crucial moments adding to Butler’s prowess has turned heads consistently.

“You see it in the selection of Jimmy Butler. He is not a LeBron James superstar, but he is a guy that when you put the right pieces around him, he stands out even more,” Bowen said. “Again, that’s no disrespect to Jimmy, it’s just he’s a different type of star for that ball club. He can finish games, he defends, he fits with what the Heat are trying to do as far as the culture goes.”

The three-time champion player credits the same culture to have pushed him to become a better player. Bowen made his NBA debut for the side in 1997 with a ten-day contract. “All the things that I soaked up in Miami with Pat Riley, just allowed me to shine even more so in San Antonio. I understood how important games were or how important attention to detail is,” said Bowen.

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