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May 21, 2022

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 3: Postgame

Miami Heat 109, Boston Celtics 103

Q. Can you explain this wild night in like a thousand words or less?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, I can't. It's playoff basketball. You have two really competitive teams going at it and laying it out on the line, and there's just adversity going on both sides just constantly. The competition is that intense that it's creating that adversity.

I do not have any updates on anybody. We're just going to go back to our cave and just recoup and maybe I'll have some information for you tomorrow.

Q. To that point, is Jimmy going to need another MRI?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No. But I don't have any other update on him.

Q. And specific to Tyler, we saw he had a wrap around --

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I don't have information on that right now. Look, we've just got guys grinding, gutting through. This is what the playoffs is all about.

Q. Did you hold Tyler out because of injury or did you go with Vic as a coaching decision?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: A little bit of both. He felt something. I didn't even really get the extent of it; it was so loud in there. I just went with Vic and it was Tyler's time to come out for a quick rest anyway, and we just went with it.

Q. Career high for Bam in a postseason game or otherwise. You've often said games like this aren't always what you needed, but is tonight what you needed and did you see it coming?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, he did his version of what Jimmy does in terms of do what's necessary for the game. He was extremely assertive. It happened in a lot of moments that were fully in the context of how we want to play. He was just way more assertive on the catch and those moments in between.

And it wasn't just the scoring. That's what everybody is going to recognize, but he did so many things in terms of getting us organized, facilitating, playing point guard for us at times, running offense in the post through him, and then defending like he always does one through five against a team that presents a lot of challenges.

Q. Given the circumstances, have you ever seen Bam play better?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I've seen him play great basketball in the playoffs. I really have. He's a winning player. And you know, he really is the heart and soul of our group. You can count on him all the time. He doesn't get caught up in all the noise and everything. He's just out there competing. Playing winning basketball. Doing it on both ends and doing what is necessary. Tonight we needed the scoring and we needed kind of that offensive punch early on.

And again, it was like just on the catch, he was a lot more assertive. Then when Jimmy was out in the second half, he just stabilized us. It got a little gnarly out there and when it did, we were able to get the ball to Bam and just get something coherent.

Q. You've talked about the swings in these series from game-to-game and maybe even quarter to quarter. What has your experience over the years taught you about handling those wild emotions and trying to find just a good space between games?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, you have to stay present as much as possible. You know, in both buildings, the noise gets extremely loud. We have guys that wear all their emotions on their sleeves. We have great competitors, so that's going to bring out everything, especially when you're playing against a great basketball team. It's going to bring out the best in you hopefully. It's going to bring out the anger in you sometimes. It's going to bring out frustration. It's going to bring out disappointment and it's going to bring out everything in between.

But you have to stay present and try to win the next possession, and that's going to be the case throughout this series.

Q. In hindsight, what most explained the start that you guys had? And they haven't been happy with their starts a lot in the postseason. Has that been a point of emphasis?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: You have two really good defensive teams, okay. The first game, they gave up the most points they have given up in the playoffs this year. Second game, we gave up -- most we gave up all year long, including the playoffs. So they were extremely angry and disappointed after giving up 118, and our guys aren't used to giving up 127.

We knew we had to establish a defensive mindset. We were able to do that from the beginning, but then also we were able to be efficient offensively, which helps. That just kind of fuels your defensive efforts.

But you have two really competitive teams. And the margin for error on either side is so small that you've just got to stay the course through all the emotions and the ups and downs.

Q. We talked a lot about Max the last couple weeks and how much confidence the group has in him. What does it say about him to be able to late in the moment late in the game hit that kind of a shot?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It was a big shot. And we wanted him to be assertive. He offers a different kind of menu to our offense. We were going to Bam in the post, going to him in the elbows, running our normal pick-and-roll basketball. But we wanted to access different parts of our menu, and Max and Duncan, Tyler, they provide a different part of our menu and that was really important. Even the triggers he was creating throughout the course of the game. But he's fearless. So even in a moment like that, he thinks the whole play is being run for him. You appreciate that kind of confidence.

Q. Regarding Vic, he didn't play in the first half but just in the second half, how important was his on-ball defense to help fill in some of the void?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Everything about it, it speaks to his competitive character. That was not easy. We went with a slightly different rotation because Kyle came back. That is going to force some changes throughout the rotation. So he didn't play in the first half.

We've had so many guys that have had to take on different roles and sacrifice. We say it's always easy to sacrifice when you're not the one doing it, and he's had to sacrifice many times. That wasn't easy. That wasn't necessarily the way we were going to go the first half. Just things were going really well. We just kept going with that. Then all of a sudden, boom, Jimmy is not going to go in the second half. Then him to be stable enough and not be frustrated and not be rolling his eyes and like, oh, okay, now I get an opportunity.

He's just steady. Stays the course. He's made himself available. Made himself vulnerable through this whole process. He's prepared behind the scenes. His minutes in the second half were so important defensively against their two studs, and then offensively, he just gave us a facsimile of a lot of the stuff we do with Jimmy. And I mean that as the ultimate compliment.

Q. Did you think that Jimmy wasn't moving well in the first half?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, he didn't have his, like, normal explosive burst. He's been able to manage this. I think the next two days will be really important obviously.

But he's a great competitor. Even when he's out there, he was able to be efficient and he was able to defend. His competitiveness will overtake everything and he's going to put it all out there. At halftime, really, the trainers made the call. Just feel like we've been in this situation a lot with a few of our guys. We almost have to restrain them. We get it and we love it about them, how they are wired. But we also don't want to be irresponsible.

Q. Following up on exactly that, you guys have had plenty of experience with it, but if Jimmy has to miss a game --

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I don't even want to go there yet.

Q. What would change the most?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I don't know. Let me get back to our cave and assess. I really haven't even had a chance to talk to our trainers, and then I'm getting cursed out if I talk to our trainers in front of our players. That's why we love the guys in the locker room.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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