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June 4, 2005

Larry Brown


Q. How freeing was it for Rip to be able to spend all of his energy on the offense without having to worry?

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, we don't have one guy guard Dwyane. You know, that's an unbelievably tough matchup. You know, obviously not having him, that impacted this game so much. You know, Dwyane, just like Shaq, makes everybody better, Dwyane has the same effect on the game on both ends. Obviously it helped. But I think if you look at this game, the 24 assists and the six turnovers, we gave up two points on turnovers. I don't think our starting backcourt had a turnover, and that was huge because we could get our defense set and certainly they are not the same team without a special player like him. So when you have to score in the halfcourt, it really makes it a lot more difficult against a set defense.

Q. Talk about Game 7s. You went to play New Jersey last year in Game 7 and you won that game and this time you're going on the road, a little bit different, but your mindset for Game 7 on Monday night?

COACH LARRY BROWN: I'm thrilled we're in that position right now after the way this series has gone. I'm disappointed they weren't at full strength. You know, you play all year and you hope your best players are available. But that being in mind, having that in mind, I'm proud of my team. This is great for basketball. You know, you've got, I think, two terrific teams that try to play the right way. I have a lot of admiration for Miami and the way they played in this series and how competitive they are. I haven't seen any cheap stuff. It just seems like two teams really trying to do the right thing, so it's great. It's the kind of situation I hate to see anybody lose. But the reward is so great and from my perspective, you know, I've been doing this a long time, you don't get into many Finals situations like this or Game 7's. It's going to be a long wait. I'm nervous about it. But I hope my players enjoy this. The thing that I dread about Game 7 is for players to worry about losing and making mistakes. I just want them to enjoy it and do the best they can and hopefully the best team will win.

Q. Do you go into Game 7 preparation-wise expecting Dwyane Wade to play or do you set up two different game plans? What's your thought process?

COACH LARRY BROWN: To be honest with you, I didn't know he got hurt at the game. I said that the other day, I thought they played so well that they had kept him out. Then, you know, we didn't change anything in preparation. I heard he warmed up and I fully expected him to play. I would be really disappointed if he doesn't play on Monday. After what their team has been through and what they have accomplished. But our preparation will not be any different at all. We talk about match-ups, naturally, when he's in the game, but you do that no matter what. We're not practicing tomorrow. I don't think I'd win that one if I asked them to come to practice. We're going to meet at the plane and hopefully have our legs as fresh as possible and expect a great team to show up with a real enthusiastic crowd.

Q. Can you talk about the experience that your team gained winning the Championship last year, how it factored into you getting to this point in the season.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Wow, I hope it factored in a lot. I think, you know, as a college coach, I always thought we would play tough games during the regular season so that the NCAA would be a situation where you're aware of it and comfortable with it. Obviously any time you play in big series, important games, your team grows. So we've been through a lot. But I look at their team, you know, I think stats are very deceiving in some ways. Shaq could get 10 points in a game and impact the whole game just because you have to pay so much attention to him, and he's a big-game player. I think when you have a guy like him on your team, it makes it easy for everybody else, and he's probably played in more big games than anybody with either team. But our team, also, I think responds to challenges and I don't think there's any greater challenge than we've faced since I've been around.

Q. You've been around a long time and doing things the right way, the last couple of weeks things haven't always been the right way with officiating and the things that's going on in your life, if you could change anything during that time, would you?

COACH LARRY BROWN: Change the game?

Q. Not change the game, some of the things that happened on the court with some of the players.

COACH LARRY BROWN: You know, I wish we would focus on the two teams playing instead of some of this other junk. That would make me a happy person. I keep hearing remarks that we're not throwing credit out and passing blame. I've always felt that's unfair to Miami if that's the way that's perceived, so I would be disappointed if people didn't feel like we recognize how they have played, so that's something. I acted like a jerk yesterday; I'd like to change that even though it didn't affect the game. You know, the one thing I feel good about is we have two great teams playing. This is great for the league. I haven't seen any junk going on on the court and I really believe that's important, even though some people might not like our style of play, I think the players recognize how hard they are trying, so that's good.

Q. What did you think about Rip's performance, particularly in the first half, 78 percent shooting from the field and how important was that for him to get off to have such a big game?

COACH LARRY BROWN: Oh, it was huge. I think it's pretty difficult to score against them. You know, we had some good looks. Rasheed had some real good looks early and Tayshaun was 1 for 6 off the bat. I think Rasheed missed five out of his first six. Rip, 7 for 9, that really helped us all, and that was huge. Then everybody seemed to calm down after that. You know, he's our No. 1 option offensively. He's relentless and he bounces back. He was disappointed after the last game, but he bounces back. That's why we're playing Game 7.

End of FastScripts...

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