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NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: PACERS v HEAT


June 2, 2013


Erik Spoelstra


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.  Spo, you talked about Game 7 more as a special opportunity.  Can you just go a little bit further on the thinking that you want to make sure everybody has.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Yeah, we do.  The guys have a good perspective.  We met and talked briefly last night right after the game, even as the emotions were raw.  We were all disappointed about letting that opportunity go through our hands, but we're not above a Game 7.  We're not above competition.  It's never easy competing for an NBA title.  And it's a treasure to be part of a Game 7 against a worthy opponent.
We worked extremely hard all season long to earn the home court, and our guys had the right perspective.  It's not a failure.  This is part of playoff competition.  There's been plenty of champions before that have been through it, and they had to go through Game 7s.  That's our focus tomorrow, to embrace it here at home, in front of our home fans, and play it all out on the line.

Q.  Is your secret weapon Mike Miller fully out of your back pocket?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Everything is on the table.  We've been watching film, going over everything, meeting all morning.  And in a Game 7 our guys all understand that anything goes.  And that's the way we're approaching it.  He gave us good minutes last night.  There's no question about it.

Q.¬† We're obviously paid to second‑guess.¬† Monday morning quarterback.¬† But do you ever second‑guess yourself maybe why not go to Mike maybe a little earlier, especially needing the offense?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† We were up 3‑2, and we won a lot of games.¬† Already won two series, won 3 games to 2 in this series with the rotation that we've been playing all year.¬† And it is tough because we have capable guys that aren't playing that can contribute.¬† And those are tough decisions.¬† And that's what part of the sacrifice has been all season long.
You know, now you get to 3‑3, anything goes, and our guys understand that.¬† But we feel full confidence in all of our guys.¬† And the rotation we'd been playing had been extremely successful.¬† So that might be the way we still go tomorrow.

Q.  How much of this is X's and O's and adjustments, and how much is embrace the competition and step up and help LeBron?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Yeah, a lot of these are habits that you have all season long.  We've developed competitive habits of responding when it's a very competitive battle.  And that's what this is.  And what you want is the competition to bring out the best in you.  The best in you individually and then collectively for it to bring out the best in us.
Like I said, we're not above a Game 7 and having to earn it.  Indiana Pacers are a very good basketball team.  They're a worthy opponent.  When you face somebody that's a worthy opponent, you've got to earn it.  They're not going to give it to us.  We're not going to give it to them.  You have to take it.  You have to take it and earn it against a team that's not backing up.  And that's what competition is all about.

Q.  Erik, traditionally LeBron has stepped up, scored more in the Game 7s he's been in in his career.  Obviously other players are struggling.  Is LeBron going to have to really step up, maybe have more of an offensive load?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Whatever it takes.  I'll tell you this:  We're at our best when all our guys are active weapons and the ball is moving.  The Pacers are a good defensive team.  So they don't make it easy.
The games we have won, the ball has moved better, and more guys are involved, and our assist numbers are up.  When we have our assist numbers down below 15, like we have in our losses, that's not a winning formula for us.  So yes our best players are going to have to be making big impacts on the game.
But we're at our best and we've been our best all season long even under pressure moments when everybody is a live option.

Q.  You have had your times in this series where you've dominated the paint, points in the paint specifically, and then there are times like last night.  What is the shift that happens?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† Yeah, again, I know I sound like I'm repeating myself, but that's the competition.¬† It's not only us.¬† We have two contrasting styles.¬† We're trying to impose our will on the game and attack and get to the rim.¬† They do that extremely well.¬† Protect the paint, protect the rim, protect the free‑throw line.
And so who can get to who?  Can our speed and quickness and our pace, our spacing, can it get to them more often, or can their size get to us?  And that's what makes it a compelling series.
We're not above it.¬† We're embracing it.¬†¬† We're looking forward to a Game 7.¬† And what I told the guys yesterday in the locker room, we've only been a part of one of these.¬† And that was a treasure.¬† That's something none of us are going to forget for the rest of our lifetimes.¬† A Game 7 here at home last year against Boston.¬† Certainly you don't want it to get to that point when you feel like you have opportunities to close out a series before that.¬† But when it does, these are the moments, the Game 7s‑‑ there's almost not a better two words in pro sports than "Game 7."¬† Because you rest your head on your pillow 25 years from now, you're thinking about that Game 7.¬† And that's what it's all about for competitors.

Q.¬† Erik, even when you guys were down 3‑2 last year, there was still this swagger, this confidence, this no panic mode.¬† But last night it seemed like there was some doubt creeping into some of your key guy's minds.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† No ‑‑ look, you can say that last year we were down 3‑2.¬† Every series is different.¬† Every playoffs, every game takes on a life of its own.¬† And here's where your championship collective character reveals itself in different ways.¬† And regardless of how you get to it.¬† I think probably there's too much said about all those other things.
When you get to the point now, we have to compete and we have an opportunity to advance and move on.  And that's what it's all about, however you get to that point.
I think everybody now realizes okay this is amazing.  We get an opportunity for a Game 7 here at home in front of our fans.  Let's go for it and embrace it.

Q.  Considering the struggles, the health and all that, is it that easy to forget about the last six in less than 48 hours and go back and play a Game 7?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Is it easy for them to forget about the last six?  Come on, we're tied.

Q.  Right.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† They have to deal with the same thing.¬† It's not like anybody is up in this series.¬† And I think that's where the narrative on the outside is probably skewed.¬† This thing is up for grabs.¬† The narrative‑‑ you can talk about whatever you want, but this Game 7 is in our building in front of our fans.¬† We earned that opportunity.¬† We have to fight for it.¬† We're not above competing for that invitation for the next round.
Our guys are looking forward to that challenge against a worthy opponent.

Q.  Erik, Chris was very hard on himself about his play last night.  You would like to see what from him tomorrow?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Now we all owned it.  Look, that's on me.  I have to get him in spots where he can be aggressive and feel comfortable.  He's in here already today.  We're spending a lot of time.
One of the greater strengths about all of us is we own it.  And the players and staff alike, we've been through situations where we have failed.  And instead of blaming and making it about anything else, let's just come to a solution and fix it.  That's what our focus is today.  Chris is already in here watching film, working on the court right now.  He shows up big when the moments are biggest and brightest.  That's what we're looking forward to tomorrow.

Q.  Is Dwyane here as well today?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  He will be.

Q.  Same ideal, mentality with him as well?  The same ideal and mentality with Wade as well?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Yes.  And I've been working with the staff to get him in areas where he can feel comfortable, confident, aggressive.  But, again, I've been around that man for ten years, and when the competition is at its fiercest, Dwyane Wade steps up biggest.

Q.¬† With all due respect to Joel's rebounding and energy, how much did you miss Chris Andersen's toughness and also on the pick‑and‑roll?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† That wasn't a factor in the game.¬† Certainly would have loved to have had Chris to help us last night, but that stretch in the third quarter, he probably wouldn't have been in during that stretch.¬† That was a bizarre stretch.¬† Missed five lay‑ups during that quarter, had six turnovers, gave up I believe five offensive rebounds.
You have to credit the Indiana Pacers for taking the momentum in that third quarter.  But we did a lot of things to put ourselves in a hole, and the game changed just like that.

Q.  Erik, what time did you get up this morning?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  That's irrelevant.

Q.  Early?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It's the playoffs.  All of uswe don't even know what day it is right now.  It's either game day or off day.  I really have no idea whether it's a weekend or a weekday.  I couldn't even tell you.

Q.¬† But is it fair to say that‑‑ it might be a silly word to use right now‑‑ but are you finding the fun in this right now?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Look, yeah.  These are the moments you have to feel alive.  What do we want to live, a life less ordinary?  Is that the saying?  Come on.  You feel alive when you're tested, when there's adversity, when you have to reveal your character.  Then when you do that collectively, that is a special moment and a special feeling.  There's nothing like it in pro sports.

Q.  Erik, Ray Allen has been off for a while.  Hasn't been himself.  He was saying a few days ago that maybe he's taking, for whatever reason, too many hurried shots, end of the shot clock, flow of the offense.  What factors do you see that Ray really hasn't been himself for a while here?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† He'll be there.¬† He'll be there.¬† He's hit some big ones when we needed to.¬† He hit a big three in Game 5.¬† You have to keep perspective.¬† When it's tied 3‑3, you can make comments about either team, why they're giving it up.¬† But both teams are going after this.¬† And that's what makes this a very compelling series.
A couple of plays here and there could be the difference in the game, and ultimately, in this series.  So, again, when the ball moves for us, when we're playing with our type of pace and the spacing, everybody is a beneficiary of that.
When we play a little bit slower and more stagnant and not really working committed to executing offense, our assist numbers, our passes are down, well, everybody suffers from that.  And Indiana does a very good job of doing that.  And that's part of this competition, is they're not just giving it to us, okay, hey, make a few passes and somebody will be wide open.  We've got to work for it.
And that's the fun part about it.  We've been able to do it for three games.  Our assist numbers are over 21.  The other three games it's down by 13.  So it's a stark contrast, but that stark contrast is about as dramatic as the two teams' style.  And fans should enjoy this.  The players should enjoy this.  The teams should really enjoy this.

Q.¬† Obviously Shane is struggling on his three‑point shot.¬† You always said how important he is in so many other areas.¬† Can you explain your thought process behind reducing his minutes so dramatically last night?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  I think you answered that before, and games take on a life of their own.  I still have full confidence, and we have full confidence in Shane, because of his ability to rise in big moments.
Our roster is filled with guys that have proven themselves, not only through their pro career, but college.  Showing up big in the bright lights.  And Shane is one of those guys.  He just finds a way.  He's like UD.  Right when you try to evaluate him and define him by numbers, he'll show you that he'll just have an impact on the series, right when you want to count him out.  And Shane is so similar to UD in that respect.
Tomorrow it could be two charges, it could be two threes, it could be a deflection, whatever.  He'll be there and have an impact.

Q.  You talked about the narrative of the series being skewed.  You know why that is, right?  You're aware?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  I don't care.  The only message to my team is we're playing for an invitation for the next round.  And that was my point to them.  It doesn't matter what the narrative is out there.  We earned this opportunity.  You can say what you want about our season.  It's never easy.  No one just runs through the playoffs.
The Indiana Pacers are a good basketball team.  We have to earn it.  We have to play well to earn this invitation to the next round, and our guys are embracing that.  And to play in a Game 7 is a treasure.

Q.  When it's all said and done, Spo, what do you think the deciding factor will be in Game 7?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It could be anything.  But it's whatever it takes.  Our keys are we're going to try to impose our identity on this last game.  We've been able to do it for three games.  The other three games they've been able to do it to us.  Who is able to do it in Game 7?  Regardless, even if we're not able to, whatever it takes, you find a way, and at the end of the day just come out with a win.

Q.¬† How much in your estimation is D‑Wade's knee injury hampering his play, and does it become a mental thing after a while knowing he can't do such‑‑
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† I'm not focused on the percentages.¬† I've talked to our training staff.¬† He's out there, he's ready to compete.¬† There's no excuses.¬† I'm more focused on what I can do to get him‑‑ it's my responsibility to get him in places where he can be aggressive in a Game 7 where he's at his best.¬† And that's been my focus all morning and for the next 24 hours.

Q.  At what point did you guys get away from finding those spots where Chris and Dwyane could be aggressive?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It's not getting away from it.  It's playing against a good defense.  So you have to be committed as a team.  But certainly you always have to continue to reevaluate as the series goes on, and things that normally work or aren't working, you have to go to something else, or go back to things that were working.  And that's part of my evaluation today.  Part of my responsibility.

Q.¬† Is running on makes and misses, getting in transition‑‑
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† Pace is a big part of what we do.¬† It's a big part.¬† You have to be able to defend, rebound and finish against a team‑‑ again, without repeating myself, this is two contrasting styles, and that's what makes it such an interesting series.¬† It's not easy for either team to get to their game.
You can flip it, and with them, how come they haven't just been able to dominate the way they want to defensively and with the bigs more than three games?  Because we have something to say about it.  That's why.
So, yes, to be able to defend, rebound, finish and get to our pace is critical.

Q.  Erik, this is your seventh Game 7 since you've been here, from day one to now obviously.  When you look back, when you have five minutes off, and probably the last game of '06 stands out, and the last game last season stands out, do the Game 7s jump out to you at all?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† You just remember them.¬† They're special.¬† The two‑‑ arguably two of the top words in pro sports is "Game 7."¬† And we have a secondary office of all of our playoff notebooks and preps for every team‑‑ really had to get a second office because of 17 years of all these preps, and it's a whole library of preps that our whole staff has been through.
And yes, some are more special than others, but the Game 7s, those are the ones that are marked in gold.

Q.  Is there any time you have to spend on the mental state of your team, the psychological aspect?  Or virtually all of your time are spent on X's and O's?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Both.  But we handled that last night.  Our guys now are looking forward to this opportunity.  Again, we're not entitled to anything, and we didn't expect to be entitled to anything.  You've got to earn it.   We're not above a Game 7.  We're not above competing for it, throwing it up there and may the best team win.  That's the way it should be.

Q.  (Indiscernible) emotionally handling it.  Is it just discussion?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Just to talk about that.  Great opportunity.  We've got to play for it.  Nothing is going to be handed to us.  We don't expect it.

Q.  What's happened on the boards in this series?  I guess minus 20 last night.  Is it just their height?  Have you found any issues with your team's effort?  Is it more positioning?  Or do you say it's primarily their height?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  A lot of different triggers, but we have to be able to contain the ball and keep it out of the paint.  When they're breaking us down or whatever trigger that they're doing it, they have the size now to really hurt you in the paint.

Q.  What did Norris Cole show you in that second quarter?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  He's gutsy.  We have a locker room full of those guys that are going to show up and make plays.  They don't have to be defined by necessarily game plans, scouting reports, statistics.  It's about helping a team win.  And Norris has that kind of character.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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