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May 23, 2011

Erik Spoelstra

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

ERIK SPOELSTRA: So we're back to work today. There is absolutely no time to exhale, again, in this type of series. All we've done to this point is exactly what they did at home. We won the first game at home, and we have to find a way in a possession game to come out ahead again tomorrow night.
There's not going to be one easy possession in this series, and it will likely always come down to some kind of possession game there in the fourth quarter.
We were able to close it out last night. We have to come out with the same type of mentality and aggressiveness, but also a focus and discipline to what we're doing.

Q. Erik what have you done differently (Indiscernible)?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: We want to take care of our home court. That's the most important thing. That's what is ahead of us tomorrow night, to take advantage of this opportunity. We hope to get one in their place. If we don't get two here, that win is wasted.
It will be a challenge. They're a very good road team. They'll bounce back, as we expect they will. But we have to prepare and endure and stay consistent through our game, which we were able to do last night.

Q. What's been needed to contain Rose --
ERIK SPOELSTRA: I don't know. It's a whole lot easier said than done. He can change at any point. We try to stay true to our defensive principles. He's a great player. He's an MVP player. He will have opportunities to impact on every single possession, which makes it challenging. We have to try to keep bodies in front of him and be athletic. Also it's make or miss. Sometimes a guy has to miss some shots he normally makes.

Q. What type of growth have you seen in this team since the playoffs started? You talk about phases of growth during the season. But since the Philly series to now, what's different that you see in this team?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: The further you get along in these type of pressure situations, you build some confidence and trust, particularly in fourth quarters, late-game situations, because you go through so many of them in the playoffs.
Virtually every playoff game seems to be a possession game in the fourth quarter. When you have new players like this with the group, the more times you're in those situations, the more confident you feel.
We have to continue to move forward without taking that for granted. It is such a thin line between winning and losing in this league and winning and losing in the playoffs. It really ends up becoming about possessions.
We were able to come through last night, but we have to be able to do it tomorrow night at home.

Q. How much of a luxury is it that you can turn to an LeBron James at the end of a game and just sort of ride him, and also that you don't have to ride him through the first three-quarters maybe like he's been ridden earlier in his career, because of that, that you sort of can keep that secret special weapon to the end?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: Which side of the floor are you talking about? We're riding him defensively. He's doing it while playing 44 to 46 minutes a night. He's in incredible condition for a professional athlete. He has a lot of different responsibilities for us defensively. Again, in this series, he's guarding virtually every single player. And then to be able to guard the most dangerous matchup usually in the fourth quarter.
Offensively it's taken a while for us to get to this point. But it's not about who closes. I don't like using that term. It's about reading the game. I think the guys are getting more comfortable in what our game is, what's successful for us, and reading it; and not necessarily pre-determining who is going to be aggressive, but rather everybody playing their game, and the defense of the game will dictate who it goes to.

Q. Is there a different end game though, where maybe you go a little more iso, a little more pick and roll than you want to go throughout the full 48 minutes. Maybe you realize the defense is going to sort of shut off the plays and it is individuals?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: You know what, I think that's probably consistent with every team, particularly in the playoffs. Over the course of the game, you want to make sure everyone is involved. You're executing your movement sets, your actions, getting the ball side to side. Usually in possession basketball in the last three minutes, it's about getting the ball to your best players, space the floor, a little bit less chance for error with multiple passes, and you allow them to make plays for your team.
Our guys have been able to do that down the stretch and make some big plays.

Q. Have you seen LeBron get fatigued this year?
ERIK SPOELSTRA: I'm sure he does. If he does show it to me or tell me, I ignore him. (Laughter) He's in incredible condition. He does a lot to take care of his body and put himself in a position to be able to absorb that many minutes in the type of basketball that he plays, which is a physical, explosive, aggressive game on both ends of the court.
He was playing the full 94 feet last night, saving possessions defensively, in transition coming back, making plays on the ball, and then obviously shouldering a big offensive responsibility.
They were committed to taking the ball out of LeBron and Dwyane's hands last night in particular, and I thought they both read the game well. Chris ended up being a big-time recipient of that. It took a maturity to understand that and IQ to read the game.
But tomorrow night's game could be different. I think it's important that we come in with a fresh mind, not pre-determined, but rather to be aggressive, read the game and see what develops.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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