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May 30, 2011

Erik Spoelstra

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Coach, what do you remember about Wade when he first came here? What are your memories of him when he first arrived? And also, what do you think of his legacy with the franchise and his decision to stay?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: I remember his draft workout. It wasn't a great workout. He was going against coaches, and it was really tough to simulate the things that he does well. And so the majority of our evaluation came from his spectacular second halves. And a lot of his games, in particular, in the Tournament, he just jumped off the screen. And then when we brought him in, you could see it right away, that he had a maturity. We said his rookie year it seemed he behaved and conducted himself as if he was a four- or five-year veteran already.
So he came in with a great maturity and humility about him. I think he's carried that over to today, even with all the success. It's great to see a player stay at one franchise. It doesn't happen all the time. It's not guaranteed that it will happen with him. But he's had a tremendous impact and legacy already on this franchise. And we're looking forward to the future as well.

Q. How much nervousness was there before he decided to come back?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: I think it was a little bit harrowing for everybody involved in the free agent process this summer simply because we hadn't experienced anything to that magnitude since I've been in the league. And all the teams were going through that. While you feel confident, and we feel that we have a first-class organization that's a championship-proven organization, and our leadership from the top with Mickey Arison and Pat Riley sets us apart. We have great stability with our franchise. We felt we had a lot to sell. But still at the end of the day, there was an element of the unknown.

Q. Erik, you spoke to the guys at the start of the year about the goal, and then you brought out the trophy again at the start of the playoffs. Is any inspiration needed now when you're this close and you see The Finals, the signage and logos and all that everywhere?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, it's there for both teams. You'll see it enough. Both teams know what we're playing for. Right now I think it's more important to stay in the moment, stay in the process, and work at things one day at a time. When we get to the game, one possession at a time and not get overwhelmed with the end game, end result.

Q. Coach, how much do your methods and how you operate change from regular season to postseason? I imagine you go more from a focus on internal and what you guys are doing to more of a focus on the other team.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: Well, a little bit of both. I think everything is heightened during the postseason. But we felt that we've built up a lot of solid habits during the course of the year, in terms of our preparation, how we want to play, trying to play consistent to our identity. All these things are paramount once you get to the postseason and play against the best competition.
We try to do the same thing, but it's heightened a little bit more to the details and tendencies of the opponent, but also trying to fine tune our game.

Q. How about your own sort of life as far as time spent in the office --
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: Everybody is working at this time of year. You don't want to miss this moment. I don't think anybody is out-working anybody right now at this point.

Q. Erik, so much of the success around the league seems predicated having really smart, young, fast point guards. What does it say about the other team that they have a guy who at 38 is doing just fine?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: He's a Hall-of-Famer. Really, he's been able to impact this league for so long. Really a large part of it is because of his mind. He has a brilliant mind. He's a natural-born quarterback. A brilliant passer. He reads the game. Makes other guys better. And he's kept himself in terrific shape. While he's 38 in age, his body is closer to 30. And the way he moves and reacts on the court. I think his IQ is able to make up for any lost step that he may have had.

Q. Erik, what's the best piece of advice Pat Riley has given you?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: He's given me quite a bit. Some of the conversations that we have had recently I'm going to keep that between Pat and myself. I think the biggest thing he told me when I first got the job is not to worry about what anybody said, expectations, anything. Just concentrate on doing my job, to coach the team, demand from the team, challenge the team, push the team, prod the team. And that's what I tried to do. Little did I know it would have so much relevance coming into a season like this two years later.

Q. A lot of people think out there Pat must be helping him with X's and O's. Do you want to dispel that notion for us?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: I don't care what people think out there. I use Pat as a resource as much as I possibly can. I think all the other elements are the ones that I'm more fascinated with. He's a walking motivational leadership speaker, and he can pontificate about so many other elements outside of X's and O's. Those are usually our discussions, about how to motivate, how to manage personalties, how to lead, these type of things that usually cost people $50,000 to get that type of advice. I just have to go down the hall and knock on the door. I think his rate is more expensive than that.

Q. Is Barea giving you any nightmares in trying to sleep?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: He's a heck of a player. He really is. And I don't think teams have fallen asleep on him. You have to give this guy some credit. He's a very good basketball player. He's quick, he's crafty, and he gets into the paint. He's got a terrific handle. And he's as competitive as you can be. Impacts games. He's been a tremendous boost for them off the bench.
He will be a major part of our scouting report. He has to be. He has to be dealt with that type of attention. And we have to try to impact him with our defensive energy, disposition, our effort, our physicality, all of that stuff. He's a very, good, clever player.

Q. How does he do it?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: One is the speed, quickness and handle, and his ability to read pick-and-rolls. He's great on pick-and-rolls of getting into the paint, putting a lot of pressure on your defense. He's aggressive, and probably more than anything probably the best way to describe him is he's fearless. He'll take on any challenge, take on one on three, one on two, even aggressive defenses. He'll find a way to get in those gaps.
He'll be an important factor in this series. We realize that.

Q. Erik, I don't know if you covered the practice part today, but did you get all the contact in you hope to get in? You mentioned that yesterday.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yes, everybody practiced full contact, full pad, mouthpieces, et cetera. Everybody is ready to go. I actually had to cut it short again, actually, after about however long -- guys were hitting a little too hard and a little bit too amped up.

Q. Coach, I don't expect you to give away your double-team schemes on Dirk, but is he making you think you have to change the rules in a lot of ways?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, I think what's important when you get to this level, and it's true I'm sure for both teams, you try to stay as consistent to who you are at this time of year. And you try to do it more consistently than the other team. I know it's sounds like a simplification, but that's what happens in the playoffs. The teams that are able to stay to their identity more often than the other team usually has the best chance to win. Conversely, if you're able to take the other team out of what they normally do, then you increase your chances.
We are an aggressive, attacking, physical defensive team by nature. We've built up six months of those habits. If we tried to invent something right now, it would be very tough to do in two or three days, and then you probably would lose a lot of the instincts that you have.
So we're going to try to impact the Dallas Mavericks with our defense. We feel it's one of the best defenses in the league. Nowitzki will put a lot of challenges on our defensive concepts and schemes. We try to make up for a lot of that with our effort, our athleticism, and at times, yes, he's going to require different people guarding, he's going to require having two on the ball, and they have terrific shooting. They do a great job of spacing.
These things are all things that are within the context of what we already do. But we have to do it at the top of what we're capable of.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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