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May 23, 2023

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 4: Postgame

Boston Celtics 116, Miami Heat 99

Q. I know you'll check again tomorrow, but what's the level of concern with Gabe?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: We'll have to find out tomorrow. Whenever you ask these guys, they are like, "Yeah, I'm fine." So we'll see.

I didn't see the replay of it.

Q. I want to talk about his grit. When he went to the locker room and came back out what did that mean to you?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Gabe is as tough as they come. He just wanted to -- he said, "Let me retape it." We have a lot of guys in the locker room like that. You know, all year long they have been putting themselves out there. So yeah, that's why he has so much respect in the locker room.

Q. What changed as far as them starting to get hot from three and the ball sticking a little bit?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, that's probably right out of my thought process. Played a little bit slower. And yeah, there wasn't a lot of flow to the offense, and then they capitalize on that. Getting out in transition, which they have been trying to do. Speed this thing up a little bit and then they knock down some threes. And it just, you know, (snapping fingers) they got the two-point lead just like that.

Then from that point they mostly had control of that second half. You have to credit them for that. They, defensively, took advantage of our ball holding, a little bit late getting into our stuff. They have good individual defenders. We have to do this thing collectively. That's when we are at our best, and then obviously really dial in to the transition and the threes. When they get a couple down, they are just like us and then it can turn into more.

Q. I know it's a make-or-miss league, but was there something that they did that kept you down on your three attempts and conversions and something that you didn't do that let them have this sort of breakout game?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Well, last game, they had 42 threes. They had 45 tonight. So they are not going to shoot that poorly that many times in a row, particularly if they are getting some open ones. They got a lot of clean ones tonight, so I'll have to see what kind of efforts and/or breakdowns we had with that.

And then yeah, I think it's probably pretty easy to keep our three-point shooting down. We just weren't doing things with a lot of oomph to it offensively.

Q. Not to harp on the threes, but as you were watching it, did it feel like they were getting cleaner looks to you or did it feel like they were just catching fire a little bit?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: A little bit of both. I did feel like they got some clean looks, definitely cleaner looks than they got the first two games. But you have to give them credit. That's who they have been all season long. So it takes extraordinary efforts and focus and a commitment to be in the right spot and to get them off the line, but also make those second, third, fourth, fifth efforts. Whatever is necessary to get it done. For the most part on those three, I think they were one probably one- or two-effort plays.

It's not an indictment. Our guys really want this. It just sometimes happens that way. Offensively, we didn't get into a great rhythm. Offense probably hurt us as equal as some things with our floor balance defensively. So we have some work to do to shore that up.

Q. Tatum had a handful of early turnovers, and as the game went on, seemed like he stabilized. Was there anything the defense wasn't doing that you had done in the previous three games that let him get some traction?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: The great scorers, they are going to figure it out at some point. You have to try to make it as tough as possible. He had some good, clean looks, in transition, open threes, end-of-possession stuff. But there's no easy way, particularly when you get to this point. You're not expecting a great player like Tatum to have multiple off-nights. You have to do things that will exceed it.

And if guys bring their "A" game, we have proven that we can still win regardless. I just don't think that we made those necessary efforts, focus. It wasn't all like, oh, just lack of effort. It was all being on the same page defensively when we are at our best. Really disrupting the timing and rhythm, even against great offenses and great offensive players.

But you know, I think also the offensive, I guess the offensive -- I don't know how to say it -- is stagnant, there's another word for that, but we were a little bit stagnant offensively that kind of led to a lot of that lack of flow, both ends.

Q. And that's a good point, Spo. Just the second half overall, when you see the shots aren't falling and that recipe of the turnovers, too, what stands out to you from that? Does that affect the flow offensively for the Heat?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, both teams pride themselves on winning possession games. I have not glanced at this closely enough, but I think categorically, they won the possession game. They won the transition game. They won the three-point game. They probably won the free-throw game, and they definitely won the rebounding game. That's tough to overcome.

Now, even us, we can find ways to win even if we lose all those, but that's not a good recipe.

Q. Seems like their pace really went up in the second half and allowed them to open up some of those three-pointers.


Q. What did you see from your team to combat that?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Without a doubt. They are trying to speed it up. It's not like it's a shocker. And that's also the lineup they had for most of the year. A lot of spacing, so guys have gaps.

But we've proven that we can do that, defend at a high level even against high-powered offenses. But it takes a great commitment and stability offensively, as well, so you can get in that flow.

Q. You praised the focus of the group throughout the postseason. Are you concerned at all about the human element of a letdown of hey, we were at home, we were up 3-0 and we just couldn't close it right now?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, I didn't sense any of that. At some point, this is great competition. You know, sometimes it can get skewed, because, whatever, the 3-0.

But we have great respect for Boston, what they are capable of. They are a dynamic offensive team that takes extraordinary efforts and commitment to get the job done. Our guys really want this.

But Boston has something to say about it as well, just like we do. You know, sometimes things don't go exactly as planned. A lot of what we've done this year has been the hard way. We've been able to figure out ways to win, even if teams are playing well, if we are not in a perfect flow.

And they got us tonight. You have to give them credit for that. There's no doubt about it. There's no questioning it. We're not wondering about that. They deserve to win tonight. We have to regroup and get ready for a great opportunity in Boston.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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