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May 23, 2005

Larry Brown


Q. Could you talk about what your defense did down the stretch after they tied it up? It looked like you guys just smothered them.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, I thought defensively we guarded about as well as we could the whole game. You know, when they made the run, we kind of got a little bit quick and maybe went a little bit one-on-one and got them some easy baskets. We knew they were going to come back, and when they did, we just limited them to one shot, got some turnovers, got some blocks, got a charge. We did all the things I think you would hope to do down the stretch. I think both teams are a lot alike on the defensive end. They're hard to score against, and I'm hopeful that we are. We really executed down the stretch, used the clock good, never gave them much opportunities to run other than that one brief moment. So good win for us.

Q. Looked like you doubled Shaq more in the second half. Were you planning to kind of spring that on him later or was that just adjusting to the game?

COACH LARRY BROWN: My players were yelling at me. I tried to make a case. I said, "Look, he got some early," but we were guarding other people pretty well. But they said, "Coach, let's go at him a little bit." In the last couple of minutes, Ben got him to shoot it a little further out. I watched him. He's having a hard time jumping off of one leg. It's amazing that he could be as effective as he was without playing. I watched, he didn't have the lift -- especially turning to the middle, and then defensively, I saw him trying -- it was really hard for him to get out. But our players, we talked about changing it up when we went into the series, and I think we did a good job. But really, Ben was phenomenal the second half defensively.

Q. At the beginning of the game, this 1 and 2 match-up almost appeared to be the likeness of a heavyweight fight because of the way things were going back and forth. Did you kind of get that feeling, as well, knowing that these two teams are fairly close?

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, I mean, when I saw the trade and I got the opportunity to spend time with Dwyane and you saw the coaching job Van Gundy did last year and the pieces Pat (Riley) put together, I didn't think it was a fluke them having the best record in the East. They probably could have had the best record in the league had Shaq not been hurt. Joe (Dumars) felt all along that if we were lucky enough, this would be the team we'd have to meet. They're as good as any team in the league, and I think our players understood that, and I think most people anticipated this match-up as being a pretty good one, and I hope that's the case.

Q. You guys had success defending Dwyane Wade the last time you played in the regular season and again today. What is it that you do that makes this team so successful defending Dwyane Wade?

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, last game he fouled out and never got into the game, so the game before that he got a triple-double. You know, tonight he didn't make his outside jumper, which he's been making in the playoffs, and I think we didn't allow him to get out on the break and get easy baskets where there's no way of stopping him in the open floor. But I thought Rip and Dwyane had a lot of good looks. I went in and I kept telling Rip that, you get shots like that, it doesn't matter, you've got to take them. I think you could probably say the same thing for Dwyane. We try to guard, but with players like him, you just hope that he's not making an outside shot. We have length, you know, if he beats us, which I don't know if every team has that. And that's all you can hope for.

Q. Rasheed shot the ball really well. Was that the plan going in or did it kind of gel as the game went on, to be that aggressive looking for that type of a shot?

COACH LARRY BROWN: You know, Rasheed is as good a player as I've ever coached, and I think sometimes he has the tendency to defer, and sometimes you watch him play and you don't appreciate all the little things he does. You know, everybody on our team knows what kind of player he is on both ends. I thought it was a crime that he doesn't even get mentioned All Defense because nobody at his position is any better than him. And with us, he takes what's there. I think when Joe made the trade to bring Rasheed in, he just tried to fit in. You know, he didn't come in with any agenda, he just tried to fit in, and we've been real fortunate for that.

End of FastScripts...

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