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May 29, 2006

Flip Saunders


Q. Obviously you guys are the least penalized team this year in foul trouble. How much did the foul trouble play into this game, especially after third quarter after you made that run and then you lost Ben and Rasheed for a while?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, I thought we finally got to a point where we were extremely active defensively, and those are two of our better front court defenders. When those guys are out in that situation, there's no question it hurt us. You can't play on the road and have one team shoot with a minute to go in the game, they shot 47 free throws and you've shot 18. You're just not going to have a chance.
Q. Obviously you guys are down 3-1 in the series. How do you convince the guys it's not over, that they can rally back from this deficit?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, one, they've been there. I think the number one thing is we've got to -- right now it's similar to where we were -- one game more than we were in Cleveland. Every game now becomes almost like an NCAA tournament game. We just have to understand that we're going home and our crowd is hopefully going to give us that adrenaline push. As I said, strange things happen. One play can change a game, one game can change a series. Basically what we've got to do is come up with that play at home and try to change the series.
Q. You guys kept it close throughout most of the game, even took the lead for a little while there. But towards the end of the game did you sense an air of resignation with the team because of some things that were out of their control, maybe out of their hands?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think more than anything, we didn't play very good the first half, and when you struggle a lot and you're grinding and grinding and things aren't coming easy, it wears on you. We got into a situation where we just couldn't get up over the hump. We had the four-point lead, Tay had an open 3, could have pushed it to seven, could have changed the whole momentum of the game, but we never got in a situation where we could totally grab control.
Wade was phenomenal. He didn't have a lot of open looks. When he's got contested shots and he's going up, you say that's a pretty good contest and he was nailing shots. I think with a minute to go and you're down 11 it's going to be pretty tough to come back.
I thought our guys fought hard. The way the first half was going, it would have been very easy to bail out. They didn't, they fought hard, and I think we did some good things we can use for next game.
Q. You mentioned Dwyane Wade making tough shots. How was he able to take over the game in the fourth quarter?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, the shot he made out of the corner with the shot clock coming down, and the shot -- getting fouled at the end of the third quarter to get the two free throws, that put them up two, those are shots that are demoralizing from the standpoint that you play good defense for 22 seconds and then he makes an unbelievable play.
I said going into the game, we talked about -- I told him how many points he had last time, he had seven, eight plays and shots that he made that he just made because of his athleticism. I thought our guys overall, we did a pretty good job at times of not giving him open looks. He right now is on an unbelievable roll. What he's shooting from the field -- he had a couple layups that they were out of our offense. So he's making unbelievable plays right now.
Q. Continuing on the Dwyane Wade theme, now what on the defensive front?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, we did a better job -- like I said, we did a good job. We had opportunities. There's no question that in the third when our big guys started picking up fouls -- I think we did some changes on their defense, changing defenses that helped us out a little bit, got us back into the game, but we just didn't have enough juice to finish it off. Like I said, you just have to keep on going and hope that at some point you're going to put enough pressure on Dwyane that those shots aren't going to go in. Last time he played in our place he had nine turnovers. I think we're going to have to rely on that as far as getting into a better rhythm at home and being more aggressive.
Q. How big a boost was it for you guys as well as Miami played in the first half, you guys only go in at halftime six. You guys really came out big in the second half.
FLIP SAUNDERS: There was no question. I didn't think we played very well. They were very energized, they had something to do with that, but we missed a lot of shots. We hung in there and Billups and Wallace had one bucket between them. We felt pretty good at that point. We made a good run. We did some good things, and there's no question that being plagued by fouls as far as Chauncey, Sheed, Ben, McDyess, those four guys definitely because they're four important guys, three of our top players up front, Chauncey runs the show. Like I said, we've got to take some things we did well and work on them and do them better and do what we've got to do, take care of business at home and keep on stretching the series. We knew after we lost our first game we were going to have to try to get a game in Miami. We had two opportunities and didn't get it done.
Q. Confident you're coming back here?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I feel we're coming back here. There's no reason we shouldn't go back and play well at home. Like I said, I was proud how hard our guys came out and did some things in the third quarter, fourth quarter. You have to exert so much energy sometimes and you just don't have enough to finish up. That's what's hurt us sometimes. We've fallen behind in games, fought back, taken leads, but all of a sudden there's no energy there to finish it off.

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