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May 25, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Very hard fought game. I thought our guys fought very hard defensively and on the boards we got better in both areas, held their shooting percentage down a little bit, out-rebounded them, both huge keys to the game, and I thought our 4th quarter execution was much better. Energy in the first half was great. We did not come out of the locker room with the same energy in the 3rd quarter. Obviously that was a big problem in the last game, as well. We'd like to change that, and we turned the ball over too many times. Dwyane was obviously fabulous tonight. You can't be great, great, great every night. You know, he heard all of you talking and writing the other night about how they had the answer to him and everything else. I'm always confident that he can adjust and that doesn't mean he's going to be a dominant guy every single night, nobody is at this level of the playoffs, but he's a great player and he made some adjustments tonight, played very well. I think you'll see them make some adjustments on them. Up in Detroit I think we have a decent idea of what those will be, and we'll have a couple of days to work on those, as well. You know, it's obvious all we did was get ourselves back in the series. They came here to Miami just wanting to take home the home court advantage. They got that. Obviously we've got our work cut out for us going up to Detroit against the defending champions and having to get something done on the road. It's going to be even more difficult than it was tonight. We fully understand that, and we look forward to getting back to work after a day off tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about how Wade after having such a tough game responded so strongly just mentally? How tough is it to respond the way he did after Game 1?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I think you guys all saw that tonight, how tough he is mentally. I said after the last game, you go back to my comments then, I said, look, the thing I have confidence in, yeah, they're a great defensive team. I don't think it will be easy for Dwyane or any of our guys the entire series, but Dwyane for two years has been a guy that when you find an answer to him, he'll go back and take a look and make some adjustments himself. This isn't a guy who just writes things off, he's not a guy who makes excuses. He will give people their due in his mind and their respect and look at what they're doing and try to make an adjustment. Now, they will another adjustment and hopefully we can be ahead of the curve a little bit, but no matter what happens, this guy will keep trying to work and adjust. It's one of the reasons that he's as good as he is and one of the reasons that in this organization we have the respect for him we do, not just because of his talent. This is a smart, humble guy who approaches his profession the right way.

Q. Can you just describe what the adjustments were? It looked like he was attacking the basket more. Was that what you guys saw on the film?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I mean, look, I don't want to get into adjustments we made because I certainly am not smart enough to figure out anything what gets him from where he was to 40 points. I think he looked at the way he was being played, he looked at the mistakes that he made, and took a different approach into the game. Now, again, I mean, they'll make adjustments and then they'll make it tough again the next time, but that's what constantly goes on. As great as he has been, and I said this to him yesterday, you tend to forget, this is still just a second-year guy. As much as we need him and as much as we expect out of him, he can't carry the weight of our whole team on his shoulders and he can't be expected to have to dominate every single night. This is a second-year guy who's still trying to learn a lot. The thing I like is he does learn and I think he proved that tonight. It doesn't mean he's getting 40 or 30 or even 25 every night in this series, but it means this guy's approach is he's going to come in and constantly try to get better.

Q. Can you just talk about the way Dwyane has been able to do this in the 4th quarters in the postseason, because he's had a couple of big 4th quarters for you in the playoffs. A lot of players play well over the course of the game but he does it at the most important time. What does that say about him?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: It's a trademark of the great players. We saw with Dwyane even in his rookie year, I think the key thing -- number one, you have to have great talent because the defense gets better, so let's start there. He has great talent. But I think the thing that I've always thought the great players have in key moments of the game is they have no fear of failure, because if you're going to have the ball in your hands in key situations in big games a lot, and I remember reading Michael Jordan saying this, you're going to fail at least as many times as you're going to succeed, maybe even more, and you've got to have that knowledge and go at it anyway. You can have no fear, and Dwyane has none. He's got great confidence, and if it doesn't work out, he'll come back at it the next time.

Q. Early in the game Dwyane was able to do what maybe he wasn't able to do on Monday, which was penetrate and finish. Like you said, he is just in his second year, so how important was it for him to get those easy buckets and see the ball go in early on?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: He not only penetrated and finished, he also penetrated and made plays to other people, but he was able to get down in the paint. They made it a little tougher for him to do that I thought in the 2nd quarter. Again, nothing is going to stay the same with this team. Larry will keep making adjustments, and they have a great defensive team. You know, Dwyane is a smart guy, though, and it's just going to be them adjusting and him adjusting to that and the whole thing. So we'll see.

Q. A two-parter: Talk about Zo and his importance to you guys given the defensive nature of this series; and second part is, talk about your bench and how they've come through for you.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, our bench has come through for us all year. We end up using ten guys tonight at various times because of some of the foul trouble. Zo was great. Obviously four blocked shots. I mean, great defensive presence, a guy you've got to think about when you're taking the ball to the basket. What was tough was on Rasheed Wallace at the three point line and I thought he had good focus. He got sucked down one time. That's a tough job for a center to be guarding a three-point shooter. I liked what he gave us. Around the basket he gives us more of a presence, and with he and Shaq in there, at least we can limit them in the paint a little bit. They didn't try to post Zo up. They were posting up our fours. As soon as Zo was at the four, they gave up on that, we took him out of that game, so it was important -- Keyon -- it was one of his few bad shooting nights, but I thought he gave us great energy, and that's going to be key throughout the series.

Q. What went into the thought process of going to that line-up? Such a tight game and they don't really have much experience playing together in games.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: First of all, Udonis had five fouls, so I didn't have to be a genius to know I needed to sub. It was out of necessity. I liked it a little bit the other night. My only disappointment with that line-up with the two big guys is that should be a great defensive rebounding line-up and it has not been for us. The reason we out-rebounded them tonight was our guys on the perimeter glass. Damon had six defensive rebounds, Eddie had seven, Shaq rebounded better, but Zo only had one defensive rebound. Now, part of that was he's on Rasheed Wallace, but if that line-up had been doing what they've been doing so far in the series and rebounding the ball, I think we'd have something. Now, the number of minutes is still only going to be 10 or 12 a game because we've got to have those guys playing center, but it could be effective for us at times.

Q. With the defensive and rebounding improvements from Game 1, do you feel that you guys got back to playing Heat basketball tonight?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I thought for three quarters we played extremely hard and fought and fought and fought. The third quarter -- we've had this problem at times during the year. The third quarter we just have an energy drain. We just do not come out of the locker room with the energy we come out to start the game. To have an 11-point lead and be down going into the fourth, that's really something we have to take a look at. But we hung in and fought and not only did we defend in the fourth, we executed better. We didn't score every time, but we were more organized and I thought did a better job down the stretch, so I was happy.

Q. Obviously Wade was the story in the fourth quarter but talk a little bit about Zo. He had three blocks in the fourth, took the charge, made the free throws. What kind of positive energy did he bring?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: The thing with Zo is he brings that energy and intensity all the time. He brings a great defensive presence. He brings a great deal of positive emotion to the game. You know, Udonis was having a tough night and in foul trouble and Zo gave us a huge lift. The guy we didn't bring up is Laettner came in and helped us, as well, made a couple of baskets, defended well in the low post. A guy I got upset at in Game 1 and put on the bench and for him to come back and give us 12 solid minutes tonight especially after not playing in the first half I thought was key, also. Those big guys got us through a very tough second half.

End of FastScripts...

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