Erik Spoelstra misses first Miami Heat game, with wife in labor

NBA.com Staff

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and his wife Nikki became parents Sunday of their first child, a son.

Spoelstra was back in Miami and not with the Heat for their game at Indiana, the first contest he missed in his 10-year tenure as head coach. Heat assistant coach Dan Craig took his spot for Miami’s 113-107 overtime loss to the Pacers.

“Spo is right where he needs to be,” Craig said.

The Heat announced during Sunday’s game that the baby arrived – 6 pounds, 8 ounces and checking in at 19 inches long.

“Obviously, it’s a really exciting time for them,” Craig said. “The team’s excited. The staff’s excited.”

It’s expected that Spoelstra will coach the next Heat game, when Miami plays host to Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Nikki Spoelstra entered labor on Saturday, prompting her husband to leave Indianapolis almost immediately after getting word that the birth was looming.

The 47-year-old Spoelstra had not missed any of his previous 908 Heat games – 795 regular season, 113 more in the playoffs – since becoming coach in 2008. Before Sunday, he had missed a mere 5.6 seconds of play in his tenure; that was the time remaining when he got his first and still only ejection, in a game at the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 11, 2012.

Even though Craig was calling the shots, Sunday’s loss goes on Spoelstra’s career record.

Craig is in his 15th season with the Heat, and has served stints as Miami’s summer league coach and most recently as the coach of the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the 2015-16 season. Craig led the Skyforce to a G League-record 40 wins and a championship that season, on his way to winning coach of the year honors.