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May 25, 2022

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 5: Postgame

Celtics 93, Heat 80

Q. Does it reach a point where it's obvious players are hurting that you have to change things because they are not their best selves? Kyle, Jimmy, others?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, look, we are not going to make any kind of deflection or any kind of excuse. Boston beat us tonight. And let's be clear about that.

There's guys that are far from 100 percent on both sides. That's why this is just intense competition. It's playoff basketball. Even as poorly as we played offensively, we still were able to compete defensively and hold them under 100. For the most part this season when we've been able to keep teams under 100, we've been extremely successful.

You know, sometimes that just happens. I would say for three quarters of the game, or at least two and close to three quarters of the game, I really liked a lot of the execution and the looks we were getting. We missed a lot of open threes and some other shots either like around the basket or in the circle, at the rim that we normally make. I thought we were staying the course throughout all the misses, and staying mentally tough through all those moments.

At the end of the third, those last probably three or four minutes of the third and into the fourth, I think the consecutive missed shots, open shots, started to affect us on the other end and we started to break down a little bit on other end. But we just have to stay the course. Even as disappointing and as frustrating as this game can be, we get on to Boston and just come together and figure that one out and come back here on the 29th.

Q. Against a good Celtics defense, so many good defenders, how hard to find the fine line between not settling for the outside shot but not trying to force anything inside?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Like I said, I thought we did a pretty good job. Our ability to generate the looks we are accustomed to getting was arguably maybe the best of the series through two and a half quarters of it, and then just the consecutive misses of open shots affected us a little bit. I'm going to have to just see.

I think those open threes are the shots that we've made all year long. Our guys are ignitable. You just see two or three of those go, all of a sudden, our guys feel like that's ten in a row and that can turn in a hurry. It didn't tonight. What I was hoping to see is even through all of the misses and some of the frustrating offensive possessions that you still stay the course and make this a legitimate throwback playoff game where it ends up being in the high 80s or low 90s and give yourself a chance at the end.

We just weren't able to overcome the inefficiency offensively. I do want to get to the film. I know everybody says that afterward, but I feel like we got shots in our wheelhouse for the large part of the night.

Q. Seemed like Gabe gave you good energy off the bench, but Kyle and Max have made I think one shot between them in two games. Do you think they are pressing?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, I don't. I think it's an easy thing to point to. If you have an open shot, you take it, you shoot it. Those are shots that are fully in the context of what we do. I don't think either one of them played outside of themselves. Those are the offensive possessions that we've had for a large part of the season.

Even a lot of our actions and how the offense was functioning I thought was way more in our wheelhouse. We were much more purposeful and intentional. If you remove the emotion of the misses (looks down at box score) -- I don't even know, okay. Yeah, that's not a great three-point percentage (laughter). We all felt it. We all saw it.

That's why I want to be like objective about it. They did block a couple of our threes. Look, they are a great defense. It's not like we are going to score 130. What I'm looking at is are we getting shots in our wheelhouse, shots that are in our strength zones. If we are missing some of those shots, you can't just panic and try to reinvent things. I know how ignitable our guys are. That can turn in a hurry, particularly on the road.

Q. You mentioned Gabe and a lot of those guys are applying a lot of ball pressure and you're trying to force turnovers. Seemed like you were getting those turnovers in the first half. In the second half, is it as simple as Boston cleaning it up and not giving you those live ball turnovers or is it something else?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Again, I don't know if it's realistic to hold them to 79. In the playoffs if you're holding them to 93, you think that, hold them under 100, you have a great chance to win at home.

Yes, there were some breakdowns defensively. I think the breakdowns happened in the fourth quarter just after a lot of frustrating misses and shots that we're normally used to seeing go down. I think that probably affected us a little bit. But those are in the margins. I think defensively we did enough, certainly, in a playoff game to put ourselves in a position to win.

We also had probably, what, four or five deflections, hands on it, we're there, we're used to seeing those turn into steals and somehow, you know, cloud of dust and they ended up with it and would hit a big one after that. There's just some really unfortunate bounces and things that led to baskets after a deflection.

Q. Even when Boston had their two bigs out there, you went small when Bam wasn't in the game. What did you see, and how do you think those lineups fared tonight?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I thought it was good. I thought, again, we were executing with purpose, with intention. It's not all perfect. We had some turnovers at key times when we had leads that possibly we could have pushed it a little bit further along.

But again, I do think that we did get some open looks and shots that are in our offense, which is tough to generate against a really good defense and tougher to generate the further you go along in the playoffs.

Open looks are things that we'll continue to build on.

Q. How is the locker room right now? This is the first time this group has been in this situation.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, you've got to enjoy this. You do. You know, if you want to break through and punch a ticket to the Finals, you're going to have to do some ridiculously tough stuff. Getting on to Boston and figuring that out collectively, those are the emotions and the breakthroughs that you have that you remember the rest of your life. Bring this thing back on the 29th. That's all we talked about in there.

Q. You mentioned several times in the last few days at this stage in the series, everybody is dealing with something. Specific to Jimmy, how much do you think his knee issue is impacting the way he's been able to play in the last couple games?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: We are not making excuses for anything. We are not deflecting anything. We are not making excuses for it. We lost the game today. We had a tough loss in Boston. We're still alive. We have an opportunity to play in front of a great crowd and an opportunity to make a memory that you'll remember for a long time. That's all we're thinking about right now. And we have the kind of warriors that are going to tape up, brace up, do whatever we've got to do to get ready for the next one and just embrace and enjoy that competition.

Q. Jimmy Butler lives at the free-throw line. Not talking about his knee specifically but only six free throws in the last three games. How do you get him back to the charity stripe?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: He had some really good, clean looks, and the way they were playing him, he might not be able to just barrel down there and create a bunch of contact. He missed like probably three or four that are right at the rim in the circle, then a couple other pull-ups. That's just the way the game goes. You make a few of those, now guys are leaning, and he knows what to do with the rest of it.

No, we're not making any excuses for any kind of health or anything like that. We're just going to figure it out and get on up there to Boston and enjoy that competition.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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