Heat coach Erik Spoelstra returns to Miami to be with wife in labor

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Miami coach Erik Spoelstra missed the first game of his career Sunday, leaving the Heat with his wife on the cusp of delivering their first child.

Heat assistant coach Dan Craig took Spoelstra’s spot for Miami’s game at Indiana.

Spoelstra returned to Miami on Saturday, leaving Indianapolis almost immediately after getting word that his wife Nikki was entering labor. The couple, who were married in 2016, announced late last year that they were expecting a son.

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

Spoelstra had not missed any of the previous 908 Heat games — 795 regular season, 113 more in the playoffs — since becoming head coach in 2008. He’s missed a mere 5.6 seconds of play in that decade; 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.

Sunday’s result 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.

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