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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 16, 2012


Erik Spoelstra


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. テつYou guys talked about sort of creating a home‑court atmosphere and a home‑court advantage.テつ How much do you think that plays into your mindset in the Playoffs, and just how essential over your two years being here has been establishing your home court as a special place for your team?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, our guys like playing here.テつ They understand the importance of playing well at home.テつ We also have the perspective and maturity that that doesn't guarantee you anything, and what we're trying to create in the next 24 hours yesterday was a day off, a day of rest, a day to get away.テつ Today starts the bunker mentality, and we have to get our mindset right, very similar to what we had with the road warrior mentality in Game 2, even in Game 1 where we didn't necessarily play well.テつ But our mentality on the road where we only had each other, we have to make sure that we create that here because nothing is guaranteed.テつ We know how this works in the Playoffs.テつ They've had two days probably to get beat up, and people to come up with whatever story line and motivation for them.テつ We have to handle our mentality and make sure it's aggressive and attacking tomorrow.

Q.テつ The Thunder in explaining their slow starts, just kind of poor shot selection, shots aren't falling, what is it your team is doing well?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Well, sometimes in this league it's make or miss.テつ In Game 1 we were able to make some shots; they missed some.テつ I think in Game 2 we were able to impose our identity a little bit better and more consistently, but we don't take that for granted, either.テつ We know each game is its own battle, and we have to make sure we come out aggressive.テつ And that's the important thing coming out of Game 2.テつ Even regardless of the result, it was more consistent to our identity than Game 1 was.

Q.テつ There have been times when teams‑‑ it's not just your team, teams get out to a big lead and then it's difficult to stay on the gas.テつ The fact that you guys were able to sustain and take punches, was that almost as good as the win in Game 2, the fact that you were able to sort of roll with the ebbs and flows?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Well, we've had to do that in this playoff run.テつ I think if anything this group has shown some resiliency and resourcefulness.テつ We have been knocked down to the canvas a few times this playoff run, and it's built that toughness.
You know, that happens.テつ When you get up or you get down, the other team is going to make a run, and how you're able to stay the course, stay consistent to what you do and find a way, and each game might be different.テつ So in Game 1 we weren't able to hold onto the lead, and they came storming back.テつ In Game 2 we were able to hold onto it long enough.テつ We need to continue to try to play to our identity.テつ I know that for sure.

Q.テつ What do you think of the 2‑3‑2 Finals format?テつ And are there cons, as well?テつ Obviously there's pros, but are there cons to being home for three games?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ If I were to step back I could probably analyze it a little bit more.テつ This is the bed we've made, so this is what we have to deal with.テつ I don't really care right now about the pros and cons.テつ If you ask me a month from now, I could probably pontificate on it.テつ But we have to handle Game 3, okay, and I know there's a lot of talk that we don't have to go back there, that we control our own destiny and all that.テつ That's kind of dangerous if you get too far ahead of yourself.
What we have to understand is what they dealt with yesterday, okay, what they're probably dealing with today, all the motivation that they'll have to come in tomorrow very aggressive, and we have to make sure that we're playing as a desperate team here at home, not taking that for granted.テつ That does not guarantee anything.

Q.テつ The way you played Norris and with the way Udonis coming off, you'll be able to spot Mike, I guess, depending on his health, do you feel better now your rotation is what we saw in Game 2?テつ Is that what you're comfortable with, the way you did it then?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, but each game changes.テつ We've already seen that during the course of the Playoffs.テつ Right now at least we have everybody healthy.テつ We have a full contingent of our roster.テつ Before that everything was on the table, and that forced us to change, sometimes game to game, with a big component out.テつ I'm not even saying that that won't necessarily changed based on what we see tomorrow.テつ Yes, those guys gave us good minutes, Norris has always kept himself ready when we've thrown him in there, his speed, his quickness, especially in a series like this is important.テつ UD has handled both roles well off the bench or starting.テつ We need guys to step up, but also we're not afraid if we need to make changes during the course of the game, we will.

Q.テつ You're talking about, Oklahoma City being motivated same as us.テつ After Game 1 you guys were motivated.テつ What's harder as a coach, motivating through adversity or success?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, it depends.テつ It really depends on the situation.テつ Every situation can be different.テつ I don't know if we were any more motivated in Game 2.テつ What we were was angry about our performance in Game 1.テつ We did not play consistently to how what's successful for us, and that doesn't even guarantee you a win.テつ You want to throw your best punches out there and may the best team win.テつ We didn't throw our best punches in Game 1.
You have to deal with both in the Playoffs, and a lot of times you have to deal with both in the same series.テつ Yeah, and so I don't know which one is more difficult because when you're knocked down to the canvas, that ain't easy.テつ When you're in a position where you're expected to win, that's not easy.
I think the best way to handle it all is you understand none of it's going to be easy, and you have to continue to try to make sure your mindset is right.

Q.テつ What are some of the similarities between the defense this year that the Thunder is playing and the defense last year that the Mavericks played, similarities and differences?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Two totally different teams.テつ This team is a little bit more similar to us in terms of their speed, quickness, aggressiveness.テつ If they turn you over, forget about it.テつ It's two or three going down to the other end.テつ Dallas was built different.テつ They played more changing style defenses, as we all know.テつ I mean, those are the biggest differences.テつ I don't really think too much about last year.

Q.テつ In terms of LeBron, two things I noticed he's doing is hitting the glass and following his own shot and also scoring from the jumper.テつ Have you noticed his jumper improving since he's been here and following his shot and also using the glass?テつ Are those things that he's improved on since he's been here, or when he came here you already noticed that?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ He had already improved his jump‑shooting.テつ Last year was one of his better years shooting from outside.テつ He has to do a little bit of everything.テつ In terms of the offensive glass, we have him around the basket a little bit more because we play him as one of our bigs, probably more than he had done in the past, and he has the instincts and the size to be able to hit the glass.テつ Against this team he also has to make the proper decision.テつ Sometimes that's not the right decision to crash the boards and leaving us susceptible for that runout.

Q.テつ I wanted to ask you just how much you still communicate or lean on Pat, and also just to get a sense of how much you feel you've evolved as a coach in establishing your own identity.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Well, the second question, I don't know.テつ Out of respect, I don't really care.
In terms of Pat, we talk all the time.テつ All the time.テつ It's almost as if he's a member on my staff.テつ If I'm not calling him, if I'm not bumping into him at the office, I'm texting him.テつ Our dialogue has been very good.
It's most relevant with a team like this.テつ He's walked in my shoes before, and it's not that I don't take other people's opinions, but if you haven't walked in these shoes, it's tough to have the proper perspective.

Q.テつ How have you been able to force Westbrook to take more shots than Durant so far in the first two games, especially early on?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Sometimes that's the way the game goes, really.テつ This is a tough team to try to dictate, okay.テつ We want you shooting the ball, we don't want you shooting‑‑ they're so aggressive and relentless just coming at you, they're instinctual.テつ That happens within the flow of the game.

Q.テつ But there's a direct correlation I guess in the second half when obviously Durant has taken more shots, they've outscored you guys in the second half, Westbrook has led them in shots.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, sometimes that's just the way that half has gone.テつ We're trying to get to Durant, and he's broken free in both halves.

Q.テつ We know LeBron has had a nice series, we also know Dwyane Wade is getting healthier.テつ But tell us about how you appreciate the help that you have been receiving from Chalmers, from Battier?テつ And if you know, if Mike Miller is going to play a big role in this series.テつ Is he healthy?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, he's healthy enough.テつ He's giving us everything he can give, that I know for sure.
We mentioned this before, and it was very unfortunate when Chris went down.テつ But if there was a silver lining, we had to reinvent ourselves and other guys had to step up.テつ And for us to even think about getting out of that Indiana series, Mario Chalmers and Shane had to have a bigger role and they had to be more offensive‑minded.テつ We started running more actions for both of them.テつ They gained more confidence, the other guys gained more confidence in them, and now that hasn't left since Chris came back.テつ The reinvention we think has made us a little bit better and a little bit deeper.テつ That's a good question.テつ I don't know if that would have happened if Chris didn't go out.

Q.テつ Do you sense a different demeanor from LeBron in the fourth quarter these two games versus The Finals last year?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ We're done with last year and analyzing last year's Finals.テつ He's doing everything he needs to do right now to put ourselves in a position to win, and that's on both ends of the court. テつHe's at a mentality right now that I can't put too much on his plate, and that's minutes, that's responsibility, defensively, playing multiple positions, shouldering a huge load offensively.テつ He gets it, he's accepting of it, and he's producing.テつ We need it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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