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May 18, 2011

Udonis Haslem


Miami Heat 85
Chicago Bulls 75

Q. Udonis, did Spo give you any indication coming into the game you would get more minutes? And secondly how did it feel to be out there with your teammates after what you've been through this season?
UDONIS HASLEM: He just told me to stay ready and that's what I had to do. I want to thank the Man upstairs. It's been a long road. My teammates have been patient with me, my coaching staff, my family. There's a lot of people that had to do with the success of tonight. If we don't win this game, my contributions mean nothing. I'm just happy we were able to get the victory tonight.

Q. Coach described after the game that the fourth quarter was like a street fight. Is that a good term to throw at it? Did it feel like it was just one of those games where it was grind-it-out and tough and physical?
UDONIS HASLEM: Yeah, yeah. We understand it's going to be a physical game. On the boards, every time a shot goes up, those guys are crashing. Defensively, they are challenging every shot that we have at the basket. And we use the term ground and pound. We have to continue to fight, fight, fight. Those guys aren't going to give up, and we were fortunate to come out with the victory tonight.

Q. Your first game back at Boston wasn't anything like you wanted. The shots you got this time, the dunks and those couple of jumpshots, when did you start to recognize you had your rhythm back and that you could play your normal game again?
UDONIS HASLEM: The last thing I wanted to do was hesitate and start thinking. So I just relaxed myself, and after a while, I got comfortable. My teammates had confidence in me. They kept giving me the ball in good position. I just shot the ball with confidence.

Q. Udonis, your teammates, LeBron, Wade and Bosh, did you ever picture in your rehab you would be sitting here after the first win in the Eastern Conference Finals?
UDONIS HASLEM: Not at all. Actually the first time I've been here in eight years. I'm thankful. It's been a long road. Like I said, I just thank the Man above I was able to come back and, like I said, contribute to a win.

Q. Udonis, you said this afternoon that you and Spo had been talking regularly. Was there something you said to him that convinced him to play you as many minutes as you did tonight?
UDONIS HASLEM: I continued to reiterate to him that I'm ready. Whenever he calls my number, I'm ready. It's kind of hard to be patient when you work so hard to get back. I understand we have a formula that's been working for us. My teammates have done a tremendous job getting us to this point. I had to be patient.

Q. Udonis, it seemed like all throughout your rehab and stuff that your comeback date was a moving target, that it's going to be late March, it's going to be April. Now it's May 17th. How hard was it to have that always changing and not really been sure when you were actually going to be able to do this?
UDONIS HASLEM: It's been difficult not knowing when my number is going to be called. But I just stayed focused. I continued to work every day with Coach Keith Askins. The coaching staff has been patient with me. My teammates have been patient with me. We saw some results tonight.

Q. Udonis, when you were watching Game 1 from the bench for most of the time, what were you seeing out there when you were imagining yourself if you were in the game what kind of impact you would have? What were you seeing out there in Game 1? And how much do you think those last few minutes of Game 1 on the court helped get you ready for this game?
UDONIS HASLEM: I was seeing guys running to the basket without bodies being put on them. That's the first thing is we have to hit guys when shots go up. My main focus tonight was not scoring, it was defending and rebounding. When a shot went up, I was just trying to put a body on guys. If I couldn't get it, make sure those guys couldn't get it.
Last couple of minutes of the last game when Coach Spo put me in, it was kind of like getting my feet wet a little bit. I was hoping I would get an opportunity to play tonight a little more significant minutes. Guys got in foul trouble early and I went in earlier than I expected. I was ready.

Q. Udonis, Coach said tonight that he saw a look in your eye two or three days ago when you guys talked. Do you remember that conversation and what came out of it, and what that look meant to you?
UDONIS HASLEM: Yeah, I was ready. I just was ready. I wanted to contribute no matter what. No matter how, whatever I had to do. Like I said, coming into this game tonight I wasn't focused on scoring, shooting. My main focus was getting on the boards. I did that early. Kind of ran out of gas towards the end there, but like I said, my contributions mean nothing if we don't win this game tonight. I'm just happy I was able to contribute and we won.

Q. Udonis, how quickly did you revert back to being the vocal guy? Because there was a couple of times in the huddle you were definitely talking. What did you say to the guys? And you kind of touched on it but how spent were you by the end when he took you out?
UDONIS HASLEM: No rebounds, no rings. We can't win this series without controlling the boards. Even though we outrebounded tonight, I think they had 17 second-chance points. We have to continue to fight those guys and we gotta try to get that down a little bit. I was beat at the end. I was tired. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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