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NBA FINALS: LAKERS VS. HEAT


October 9, 2020


Erik Spoelstra


Miami Heat

Game 5: Pregame


Q. Do you address, because it's, a lot of your guys have never been through an elimination game, a lot of them haven't been through an elimination game in a while. Do you address the fact that you typically don't want to change things for an elimination game, like, it's not worth changing everything, just go out and play. Do you have to say that tonight just to remind them of that?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, that's not our focus at all. We're trying to compete for a title. We never expected it to be easy. We have an extremely competitive group in our locker room. And we're looking forward to this challenge. The Lakers are challenging us in a different way than we've faced so far in all the playoffs. That's the way it's supposed to be. And you have to compete for it. You have to fight for it. You have to play for it between the four lines and that's what our guys are looking forward to tonight.

Q. Can we get an update on Goran Dragic's status for today, please?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I do not have an update on him.

Q. So is there a chance still at this point he could play tonight?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It's the same as the other night going into it. I'll let you know for sure in the next 90 minutes.

Q. And does he plan to warm up, then, like the other night?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I'll have an update for you in about 90 minutes.

Q. Is there a way to describe what it's like to game plan for LeBron versus AD and how you take on both challenges of them being your opponent as the coach?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: They're elite talents in this league and they do it on both ends and they present different challenges on either side of the floor. Their skill sets and just positionally fit very well and this is the challenge in front of us. This is a great team and they do it on both ends. Our team is gaining confidence, but it's ultimately about competition and taking on big challenges when you want to do something significant. And that's really the motivating factor. Our guys aren't running from the competition. They know how good they are. They know how good the Lakers are and just looking forward to getting after it tonight.

Q. You having been now into a Finals run in the bubble and also several outside of the bubble, like, what are the biggest differences in terms of just being in it this long in terms of what the mental and physical kind of challenges are of the two different environments?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: You can't compare it. It's two totally different existences. And that doesn't make it, you know, more difficult, less difficult. It's just monumentally different. And that's okay. I think everybody's responded to it the right way. This is an extraordinary opportunity and life experience as the world changed. It's, obviously, it goes out saying, much different than it was in 2019, or any of those other playoff runs that we had before.

Q. How important is the presence of Udonis Haslem in the locker room, especially now before the team goes into Game 5?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: He's always important. He's just an incredible rock of stability and leadership and mentorship. And that's at all levels. It's not just to our young players. It's to our veteran players. And he provides just great guidance and mentorship to this head coach as well. I love him and I'm glad he's in this locker room on this run and for tonight obviously.

Q. And also the 2016 Finals series is a kind of example for you.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: 2016?

Q. Cavaliers versus Warriors, the Cavaliers overcoming a 3-1 deficit.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I see where you're going. That's not our motivation. We're trying to compete for a title. Golden State doesn't have anything to do with us.

Q. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how guys kind of fell in love with the game and how playing in these big moments itís kind of like the culmination of all the work they have put in. When you think back to your earliest memories of knowing that basketball was something really special for you, not a passing fad, what do you think about?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I think about the relationship between a father and son. In many ways it was just a great line of communication and a relationship built around a round ball, four lines, and two baskets. My dad was my first coach and he coached me fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade. And that relationship continues from this beautiful game. Actually, there's much more to it than that, but that's one of the things that I definitely think about. He's the one that introduced me to the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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