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October 9, 2020

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 5: Postgame

Miami Heat - 111, Los Angeles Lakers - 108

Q. So many things to talk about, obviously. You had to burn through timeouts just to keep Jimmy breathing it seemed like in the last minute.


Q. The Lakers' last real possession was right in front of you. What did you see and how angst laden were you when Danny got that look?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, at the end of the day I like those decisions. I mean we had everybody in the paint, LeBron just had a bunch of those possessions in the fourth quarter where he was just getting to the basket, offensive rebounding, everything at the rim, to the free throw line. So we needed to bring not only a second defender there, a third defender. Then they cut and of course Danny Green is there.

But there was a karma to it. I thought our competitive spirit throughout the course of the game was great. Sometimes it's make or miss and sometimes you need to be a little bit fortunate; we were. But we also made a lot of plays, particularly on the other end.

Jimmy, again, his will to win is remarkable. To do that in 47-plus minutes and take the challenge on the other end, this is -- every young player coming into this league should study footage on Jimmy Butler, the definition of a two-way player competing on both end, five steals, and then making those big plays down the stretch for us offensively.

Q. And I know guys have been telling Duncan ever since he got here just shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it. Did you have any sense that tonight was going to be the night that it finally came together?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, none of us really know. We just know his makeup, his character, he's going to continue to work his routes. I thought he was just so persistent and their level of physicality on him as well is nothing like the regular season or nothing like the first three rounds. He just dusts himself off, continues to run his routes with great force, he broke free a few times and he didn't break free a few times and still was able to put some pressure on them.

But, look, not only him but K-Nunn and Tyler, they're like sticks of dynamite, they can go off at any time and we needed that tonight.

Q. What was the conversation with Jimmy where you were like, we need you to take a break and he said no or was that the understanding going in, one? And then two, can you just describe or contextualize what you saw from Andre Iguodala on the defensive end down the stretch?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: If you're not really watching Andre, if you're just kind of looking at it like with a broad spectrum, it appears that he's in three places at once, and that's part of his genius. They're a great offensive team, so you need some guys that just have incredible instincts and have had a bunch of pressure-packed reps. Andre has had those, Jimmy has had those, Jae has had though. Bam just turned 23 but it feels like he's had a bunch of those, the context of our last couple years and we were pushed to have to make a lot of different kind of reads and plays defensively. What was your first question?

Q. The conversation with Jimmy.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, no, this one was an understanding. I was looking for opportunities maybe to steal him a minute or two, like we did last game. When we got up double digits and they came right back, that was the opportunity and missed it, and at that point we had already burned the boats.

Q. There's a saying within the Miami Heat of "burn the boats." Could you just talk a little more about what that means to you guys and how it plays a role in Heat culture?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: That's a longer story, and I'm sure everybody's heard it. More importantly we are here competing for a title, and that's the most important story line, and it's going to take everything we have, but this is everything that our guys in our locker room wanted. It's this kind of competition between four lines, two baskets. You can't write or print out the winner on this one. This one has to be earned between those four lines and that's where our guys thrive.

Q. After Game 3 it was Jimmy "effing" Butler. I'm sure he's earned the full curse word at this point.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I mean, we're all, we all just want to go back to our cave right now and gather up. We are here for a purpose, he was remarkable, exceptional tonight, just from a competitive standpoint. I really mean that. The draft is coming up in, whenever, a month, they should study Jimmy Butler as a two-way player.

But we can't celebrate this too long, we got to move on and rest up and get ready for another one. This just inches us closer to our goal, that's it.

Q. When you say it's going to take everything, the image that comes to mind is him slumped over at the free throw line.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: That's what it's all about. That's an image of a champion before you're a champion.

Q. To follow up on Jimmy, you praised him a lot over the last three months, but specifically in these last few Finals games how would you put into context his ability to raise the level of his game in the biggest of moments for your team?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Well he's the ultimate competitor and when you're facing the ultimate competition, that's what happens. You hope that it brings out a higher level than you can go just by playing normal competition. You have to be a real competitor for that to happen, and hopefully that's happening with our entire team right now because we're being pushed and challenged by a very good team. Our guys are embracing that.

Q. You've been on the front end of some of those LeBron three-point explosions when he was on your team. How did you tell your players not to overreact when he started hitting the first three or first four and you didn't change up your defense? Did you just feel like you had to ride the wave of that and that it would sort of balance itself out, or how do you stay cool during that?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Look, great players are going to make big-time plays and that's what this level of the Finals is all about, can you continue to stay with it and find a way to get the win at the end. We're not expecting it to be easy. We're not expecting those guys to have "C" games. You got to beat them, you have to expect to beat teams when they're at their best. We're not running from that and we know this has to be well earned.

Q. I know it's secondary at this point but the seven-man rotation, was that the plan going into it or was it just the way Kendrick was rolling and the way Jimmy, you couldn't really take him off the court?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, it was more just the read. I had every intention to go with a rotation that we have been and possibly could go with that in Game 6.

Q. I know you tell your guys play until the buzzer and give it your all, but to see it in this moment, can you appreciate that? Are you kind of too locked into this game to see your guys, a lot of guys in their first time doing this, play and give completely everything they have?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Well, we have a goal: We're fighting for a title. That's what it's going to require and our guys have an understanding. Through the first two games of this series we realized, all right, this is a different level. We're going to have to get to a higher level. Our guys are extremely competitive, so this level of play that the Lakers have brought is bringing out something different.

But again we can't sit up here and pat our back too long. We got to gear up and get ready for the next one. Just inches us closer to the goal, that's it.

Q. Ray hits a shot in 2013 off a scramble to give you life, tonight the ball swings out to a guy who almost set a Finals record for threes, who is wide open. I know this is your profession, but how do you live with make or miss to kind of be a defining moment for everything that you do?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I don't know, that's the profession. This is the world we are fortunate enough to be a part of, the profession the coach's chose, the profession that our warriors, competitors in there have earned the right to be. You try to create the karma of the game as much as possible and you're right, I mean at the end of the day sometimes it is make or miss.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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