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NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CELTICS v HEAT


June 9, 2012


Erik Spoelstra


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Seven

Boston Celtics - 88
Miami Heat - 101


COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ I guess that's what a seven‑game Eastern Conference series is supposed to be like.テつ Boston now for two years has probably been the single team that has pushed us and bended us where we've had to improve.テつ And we've had defining moments both years, usually during the regular season, after very tough losses where they have forced us to redefine ourselves and recommit.テつ And it was good to see us come together in a very competitive series.
That's a great group in that locker room.テつ We have great respect for the championship DNA that they have.テつ Doc does a tremendous job.テつ He's pushed our coaching staff.テつ He's pushed me to be a better coach.テつ And so we do not take this for granted.テつ We're happy that we got through this.テつ Built some character.テつ And obviously we have a bigger goal in the next round.

Q.テつ Erik, you played only six guys in the second half until the very end, and it seemed like all six of them gave you something.テつ Was that kind of your plan coming into halftime?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Not necessarily.テつ It wasn't.テつ That's what happened.テつ Rio needed a breather.テつ A couple of guys needed a breather.テつ When I went with that bigger lineup, they were defending well.テつ They were scoring well enough, so I kept them in there.テつ No one wanted to go out in the second half, particularly once we got into the fourth quarter.テつ That's what it's about in the playoffs.テつ Sometimes by any means necessary.

Q.テつ Can you sort of put a value on Chris Bosh after what he did basically the last two games, and how much does that make you appreciate how much you missed him in the whatever nine games before that?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ We knew.テつ We all had a pit‑‑ even though we didn't admit it, we all had a big pit in our stomach when we saw him walking off the court in Game 1 of the Indiana series.テつ We all shuttered at the thought.テつ We played tough, but we knew that for two years he had been our most important player, because he makes it all work.
He showed up big.テつ It's a testament not only to his talent, but his character to be able to keep on working, grinding, allow us to work him back and integrate him slowly coming off the bench.テつ No issues at all ever.テつ Not even the closest thing to an issue about that.テつ He was able to play himself into rhythm.テつ And then the time and sweat that nobody else saw, even a day like yesterday, day off for everybody, he came in for an hour and a half and was fighting to continue to build his rhythm, full‑court workout with the coaching staff, to try to simulate as much as he could, what he had been missing in games.

Q.テつ Erik, do you feel with accomplishing quite a bit of the adversity, conquering that the last two series, do you feel like you're a more dangerous, confident team moving forward?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ I don't know.テつ At this point both teams are dangerous, and both teams know it.テつ We've been through a lot in two years.テつ We think and we talk about it all the time, that the trials and the adversity, the tribulations we've been through have strengthened us and strengthened our core, built our character, steeled us.テつ And we'll need it.テつ There's no question we'll need it in the next round.

Q.テつ I asked this fully expecting you will not tell us, but players seem to be handed envelopes or piece of paper or something as they walked off the court.テつ Will you tell us what those were?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ No.テつ They can tell you, if they choose to.

Q.テつ Erik, could you articulate what LeBron meant for you guys in this series.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ He was absolutely brilliant this series, and we all know it.テつ He's playing at an historic level during the playoffs, driving us with his will.テつ We do not take his talent or his will or his competitiveness for granted.テつ And we need every single bit of it.テつ He is pushing himself beyond his limits, and he's pushing the rest of the team as well.

Q.テつ And after Game 5, you took real confident tone, even more so than usual.テつ Did you do that with purpose?テつ And did you feel like the team followed you in that regard?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ I did?テつ Oh.テつ It's about staying the course and managing your emotions during a very emotional time during the playoffs.テつ And there are so many ups and downs.
Look, we're all human.テつ I think one of the days‑‑ after Game 5, that loss, the next day I said hey, that's human.テつ You can feel depressed.テつ You can feel down.テつ But now once we're together, we all got to get over it.テつ You have to get on to the next game.テつ You can't get caught up in the whiplash of everything and all the noise from outside.テつ Our guys have built more resolve to stay focused on really what matters.テつ And I think everything that we go through helps us, even though at times it might be uncomfortable for some.テつ But I think we're getting accustomed to that world.

Q.テつ Erik, there were a lot of questions about whether this team could win a tight game late in the fourth quarter.テつ This was obviously‑‑
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ That's somebody else's truth.テつ We have a very confident group.テつ We've said this all year long.テつ And that's why we didn't panic, in either one of these last two series when we got behind.テつ We thought we did enough things to put ourselves in position to win these games.テつ Even the two games we dropped, we were angry about those games, but we felt we should have won those games.
Coming down in the stretch of fourth quarters, you could possibly have said that about our basketball team last year.テつ Not this year.テつ No.テつ We're gaining confidence at the end of games.テつ I think everybody feels comfortable where they are and what their role is down the stretch, and that's defensively.テつ But we've made great strides offensively in close games.

Q.テつ Erik, can you talk about obviously LeBron James set the tone and the tempo for the series, but Dwyane Wade figuring things out as the game went on in the second half, he had the bigger second halves after struggling in the first halves.テつ That's been pretty consistent throughout the way.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ Talk about that part, figuring it out for him.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ It's a great example of his fortitude.テつ It really is.テつ And you have to find different ways to help your team win. テつAnd while everybody else is only looking at that last line in the boxscore, Dwyane, he's a winner.テつ He's a versatile player.テつ And he has an incredible will to win.テつ So he's going to do something.テつ If the ball isn't going in, he's going to make defensive plays.テつ He's going to make other players better.
But it also shows his mental toughness, that when things aren't necessarily going his way in the first half of games, he's going to impose his will somehow in the second half and make sure that he doesn't get distracted, and stay aggressive and help us win.テつ That's the bottom line.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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