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May 25, 2023

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 5: Postgame

Boston Celtics 110, Miami Heat 97

Q. You spoke last game about how they were able to speed you guys up. Did it feel similar to that tonight in the way they were able to force turnovers and generate some threes in transition?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, their activity level has gone up the last two games, and that's what you have to expect in a competitive playoff series. And then we're playing in a crowd quite a bit. Which there can be some good things from that, if we read the game, read the coverages and make the appropriate plays.

But you have to give them credit for the activity. They jammed us up several times in the paint with quick hands, strip-downs, things of that nature. We have to shore that up. That's two games in a row of that. We do have to be aggressive and then make the appropriate plays with appropriate spacing.

Q. With two chances still to close out the series but with two losses by 30 total points, mentally, are you concerned about where this team is? Can you tell us in the locker room, where is this team?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Who cares about mood? We have a gnarly group. I think so much of that is overrated. It's a competitive series. You always expect things to be challenging in the Conference Finals. One game doesn't lead to the next game. Based on all the experience that we've had, it doesn't matter in the playoffs. It doesn't matter if you lose by whatever.

We beat them by whatever in Game 3. It just doesn't matter. It's about collectively preparing and putting together a great game. We'll play much better on Saturday. That's all we just have to focus on right now.

Q. We are so used to seeing Jimmy play at such a high level in the postseason. From what you saw tonight, why do you think he struggled to find his rhythm?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Our offense was disjointed a little bit. We weren't able to initiate our offense, get the ball where we needed it to go in spots where you could operate. If we can get Jimmy in his comfort zones and strength zones more consistently, he'll be just fine.

We'll work on that the next 48 hours. But collectively, we do have to play with more intention and force and poise offensively, which we're fully capable of doing.

Q. With the way they are jamming you up, you said offensively, does that require quicker decisions a little bit?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I think in the second half, we had some more decisiveness on the catch, on the dribble, things like that. When teams step up their pressure, that's what you have to be. You have to make quicker decisions and be decisive with your actions.

Now that this is the expectation of how they are playing, with that type of activity, it's our turn now to respond to that, and a lot of times that decisiveness and spacing and making the right play can lead to open shots.

Q. I know Vincent is key to your three-point volume, but are you happy with the number of threes you've got up today?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I didn't even see. I assume it's a low number. You know --

Q. 23.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, and they shot whatever they shot. Look, as long as we are getting intentional with our offense and we are playing how we want to play, we've proven that we can win with whatever number of three-point attempts.

I don't think we got to our strength zones enough tonight. Sometimes that will lead to paint attacks, rim attacks, free throws. Sometimes it will lead to threes. But it's more the intention of how we are executing our offense.

Q. You obviously went to Highsmith in the second half, mixed up a couple things. With the way the Celtics have played the last two, do you have to consider a more permanent lineup change for the series?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: We'll see. We'll see who is available. See if Gabe is available. I can't answer that right now.

But it's always good when a guy comes in and plays some productive minutes and sees some good things happen. But we'll see.

Q. How is the way they cover Bam, defend Bam evolved over the series and how has it changed the way he has to get his shots?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It's borne out of respect. He was aggressive and able to get to the rim and able to get to his spots, so they have now made him operate in a crowd. That's a good thing. That's what great players usually command, is a second defender.

I thought his decisiveness on a couple plays in the second half were key. He just needs to get into the rhythm of how they are defending him. We'll see if we can get him in places where he can feel more comfortable to be able to get to his spots. We all have to make sure that our two main guys are playing in their strength zones, and that's on all of us. That's on me and that's on everybody executing with intention.

Q. With Gabe out, I know Jimmy missed the second game against New York, but you guys had such a rhythm and a toughness that he gives you. I know you're the last one to make excuses but --

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, there's no excuses. Not at all. The Celtics outplayed us tonight. That would be a disservice to how they took control of this game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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