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May 27, 2022

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 6: Postgame

Heat 111, Celtics 103

Q. Can you talk about your team's resolve against these circumstances and then about Jimmy Butler's resolve in these circumstances?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: That's similar to what I said after the last game. There are so many wild swinging emotions in a playoff run. And you really just have to try to stay stable, find out what's real, what's not real, what's objective, not get caught up in these wild swings.

We have a very passionate group. We have guys that love competition and understand how difficult it is to try to do what we're trying to do.

We're facing a very good team. So our guys just embrace that kind of challenge and the competition that we're faced with. Then their defense, it's so strong that sometimes you just need your great player to make plays.

It wasn't a matter of schematics or things like that. Jimmy just brought his competitive will tonight. It was a will that would not let us lose.

Q. You talked about it a lot in the last 24 hours. Why were you so confident that this group could rise to this kind of level in this moment?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: You never know. It's not like I guaranteed anything. I just know how our guys are wired. Our guys love competition. They love the challenge. We have deep respect for our opponent. This is a very good team that we're playing against.

What you hope is that brings out the best in you and a different level. Over the course of a long series like this, you're going to get pushed, uncomfortably so. Sometimes you're going to lose some battles along the way.

We've had some very tough times during this series. But we have guys that will just pick themselves up and get onto the next fight.

Look, we're here. This is the way it should be with these two teams. It should have gone seven games. The margin for error on both sides is so small. There's no two better words in pro sports than "Game 7." I'm really thrilled our group gets an opportunity to compete in a Game 7 in front of our home crowd.

Q. You've said that this game was an opportunity to make a memory. Obviously not during the game, but now thinking back, did you see any shades or comparisons to LeBron's Game 6 against the Celtics and what Jimmy did tonight?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I don't like to compare teams. I get it. People can easily draw the comparisons between the two. It's a different era. It's a different team.

I want our guys just to embrace this moment. Jimmy Butler is a great competitor; he really is. You can mis-define him in a lot of different ways, but his competitive will, is as high as anybody that has played this game. He put his fingerprints on this game.

You know, again, the wild swings. Going to try to go back to our cave and focus on Game 7. Really, we're grateful. We're really grateful to be in a really challenging series like this against an opponent we respect. Then we get to experience a Game 7 together.

You have to go through tough things on a playoff run when you're trying to accomplish something special. And I think this group deserved a Game 7.

Q. Given the circumstances, given what Jimmy obviously is going through physically, what was special to you watching what he did tonight? What really stood out to you?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It's those winning, willful plays. Their defense did start to step up in that second half. We had a double-digit lead. You're facing a defense like that, you're not comfortable at all. You really have to execute with precision and do things with detail and purpose.

But then sometimes you just need your best players and your guy to make plays. He was able to do that in those moments of truth. When we really needed it, as their defense stepped up, as the game got to four, six, he found a way to get us a really important bucket.

Then on the other end, he's the definition of a two-way player in this Association. Takes on the toughest covers. I didn't even see how many minutes he played. Probably close to the Chicago Bulls kind of minutes that he was accustomed to playing (smiling).

Q. We've seen this kind of epic performance from Jimmy with the season on the line before. We saw it in the bubble and saw the series be pushed, but then he ran out of gas in the next game. What do the next day and a half look like for him in the balance of protecting him from himself and also knowing he's going to want to go out there and lay it all out there?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It's a little bit different. That was the last leg at the very, very end. He's going to be able to muster up to whatever he needs to muster up to get ready for this great opportunity on Sunday.

Q. When did you know that Jimmy had it? Last few games you could tell right off the bat he didn't have the explosion. Tonight it looked like right in the first quarter he had it. Did you see that?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, I think the most important thing is if you're a competitor, you just keep on picking yourself up. The Playoffs are tough. They really are. It's so hard to win. Then you get to this level, 27 teams are watching. You get to this elite level, you have to be able to manage everything because you can't control everything. You're facing great competition, and you're going to lose some battles. Then you got to try to win more battles than you lose.

Jimmy does not stop. I thought his last game, yeah, missed a lot of shots, but our competitive will was there. We just got outplayed. Sometimes that happens. But if you're a real competitor, you just keep on going.

All of us are just thrilled we have an opportunity for Game 7.

Q. Jimmy took center stage, but what did you see from Kyle Lowry tonight, given the series he's had? What did that mean to your group?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I can't say enough about Kyle and his veteran leadership and poise. It means so much to us. You can't put an analytic to it, what it means to your team, of the feeling of calm and confidence that he can give everybody. That's orchestrating our offense. It's just those timely moments during key times of the game where the ball needs to go where it needs to go.

Sometimes he'll just make a big-time play at the end of the clock, something he's never maybe practiced or attempted before. He just has a flair for the moment. He's one of the all-time clutch players in this league. He just knows how to manage a game.

You're playing in an environment like this with the stakes, it's great to just have a Hall of Fame quarterback that just kind of keeps everybody calm.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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