home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 5, 2013

Erik Spoelstra

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. ¬†Erik, can you talk about how different series lead to different match‑ups and different combinations?¬† Is there sort of when you look at what the Spurs do and how they play versus the Pacers and how they play, could you see your rotation altering?¬† Is there a different style of game plan?¬† Are there similarities or are there differences?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  There are some differences.  The most important thing for us is, can we impose our identity?  That's the most important thing.  They're going to try to do the same thing.
We'll have a different challenge in doing it against the Spurs than we did against the Pacers.  That is clear.  Their game is different.  Offensively they'll attack us in much different ways.  And then offensively we'll have to attack them in different ways we did in the last series.
So you grow.  You get tested.  Hopefully you get better from the rounds that prepare you for this.  We always felt all season long that the Spurs were the best team in the West.  So we think it's fitting to face them.

Q.  Erik, in this series do you see different opportunities or more opportunities for Chris and Dwyane than the last series?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Hopefully more.  Hopefully we can get them activated to their normal comfort level.  I liked where they left off in Game 7.  Both of them were very aggressive.  They're more comfortable in that game.
So as long as they're aggressive and they're attacking within what they do, I think that's the key.

Q.  Can you talk about how LeBron's role has evolved and changed since his arrival to now.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Well, where would I start?  We've all grown quite a bit.  Just looking at our game two years ago to where it is now, it's like looking at a different basketball team.
Our style of play, our trust level offensively, our ability to work together to get high‑percentage shots.¬† The term "home run", we haven't even used that this year.¬† We were using that all the time three years ago.
But LeBron has shouldered more responsibility each year for us.  And offensively he creates so many different triggers now than he ever had before.  He has the ball in his hands a lot; he has it in the post, at the elbow, in the open court, up top.  But he also sets a lot of screens for us, which is a new development for him.  And he does that as well as anybody in the league.
Defensively obviously 1 through 5.

Q.  Does he walk into these Finals with a lot less stress and pressure than let's say a year ago because of everything that went on?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  You would probably have to ask him that.  But we've been through a great deal.  Come on, when you go through a collective massive failure like we did two years ago, it can rip your team apart or it can build some resolve.  And we had incredible resolve last year.  We tasted victory.  And then came back this year trying to improve to put ourselves in a position to try to play for it again.
It's not guaranteed.  It's never easy.  It doesn't matter what your journey is.  We just knew it would be different this year.  And we were fully tested in the last round.
So the pressure, the expectations with us, they never change, and we embrace that.  We like the world we live in.  There's no turning back.  It's all of our chips are in.

Q.  Erik, to go back to 1 through 5, how much do you see him on 1 during this series?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  We'll see how it plays out.  But he'll be on every single one of those players at some point, and then we just have to see how the games are going and what's needed.  He's our Super Glue; wherever we need to put him, he'll make it work.

Q.¬† And a follow‑up off Jeff's question from earlier, can a simple change of scenery of opponent, can that be enough to help Chris, that one series that didn't work right is behind him?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† And experience.¬† He's been through playoffs before where‑‑ there's so many different stories during the playoffs.¬† But we've seen it just with our group.¬† Guys struggle one series, now they're the hero of the next series.¬† One series you play extremely well, the next one it's tough.¬† The most important thing is collectively you're working for a common goal, working together, help us win in whatever way you can.
I like the way he left off last series.  Very comfortable.  He looked comfortable.  Even though he didn't necessarily convert a lot of his makes, it was more similar to his game.
And he's proven it before that one series doesn't dictate necessarily what happens the next series, particularly when match‑ups and styles of play are different.

Q.  Erik, talk about how Tony Parker has turned it up even another notch in the postseason, and the best way to try to stop him.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  We'll find out.  I mean, he was the best player in the Western Conference playoffs each game, and we're well aware of that.  Every time he stepped on the court, he was the best player.  The most impactful player, and he was driving their success.
Now, they have obviously Hall‑of‑Famers and a well‑oiled system.¬† But he creates so much offense for them.¬† What you have to respect more than anything is his engine and he's tireless to work for those opportunities.
So we just have to wear on him.¬† We've worked on pick‑and‑roll defense now for three straight years from match‑ups like this.¬† And our defense will be tested, but we trust it.¬† We built a lot of habits with it.¬† Throw different bodies in front of him, and then hopefully there's a cumulative effect of wearing on him.
But he's a great player, an MVP candidate each year.  But he had a sensational playoff run so far.

Q.  Erik, when you look at these two teams, obviously all year I'm sure people considered you guys to be at least among the top two or three teams in the league.  And last year you both were in the top five or ten in rebounding.  And this year you guys are both in the bottom half of the league in rebounding.  To what extent over the past year, and as the league has moved more towards small ball, have you seen rebounding taken less importance or an ability to compensate for it by doing other things?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It just depends on your team.  We never say that rebounding is not important to us.  It is important to finish our defense.  There are other things that are equally or more important to us as well; getting to our identity, playing with great energy and pressure that's the most important thing for us.
The last round we didn't want to give up those offensive rebounds we were giving up.  It's a possession game.  This will be a possession series.  Ideally hopefully we're not giving them many rebounds to have.
But we'll see.  They're a very good defense.

Q.  Erik, you talked about this in Indianapolis once San Antonio advanced to the Finals.  Can you take us back to some of the similarities you've seen in these two franchises, the stability, the development, the consistency over the course of the years?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Us and the Spurs?

Q.  Yes.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† Very similar.¬† The only thing I've known since I've come in the league is the Spurs have been run by Popovich and the Miami Heat have been run by Pat Riley.¬† You have very similar structures and a commitment to a culture where there's a structure within the culture, there's a discipline, there's a style of play, there's a type of player.¬† It's not a coincidence that a lot of free agents have run through both organizations, because we're looking for similar players of a similar fabric.¬† Both organizations are committed to defense, knowing that you have to be able to defend and have two‑way players to be able to play for the ultimate prize.
But ultimately, I think both organizations also have the respect around the league for that type of culture.

Q.¬† Erik, there was a great number about LeBron in 2007 in The Finals.¬† I think he was 4‑for‑27 from the mid‑range.¬† I think he was 4‑for‑20 from three‑point range in that series.¬† Who was LeBron James in 2007 and who is he now?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:¬† I didn't coach him, so I'll have to just go off recall.¬† That wouldn't be terribly accurate for me to comment right now, especially because I haven't seenit.¬† I saw that series then.¬† But that's so many years ago.¬† We were more disappointed‑‑ we won the title the year before, and we didn't have an opportunity to play for it that year.¬† We were so disappointed about that.¬† We wanted to face the Spurs.
LeBron's game has evolved tenfold just since his time that he's been here in Miami, and that I can speak to.¬† The evolution of all the different aspects of his game, in the post, his pick‑and‑roll game both ways, where he's handling it and now he's a screener, more movement, less isolation basketball, playing within a system, and certainly his shooting has improved dramatically.¬† You don't shoot about 55% as a perimeter player unless some things are working.¬† You're taking the right shots, but you're also have improved your mid‑range and three‑point shooting, knowing that everybody is going to try to get you to take that.¬† Keeping teams honest enough with that, but still being able to get to the rim.¬† And be able to orchestrate an offense where he scores and facilitates just as equally.

Q.  And given his being a student and a historian of the game, even though it was six years ago, another lifetime ago, how much do you think it means to him in his legacy to beat the team that knocked him out early in his career?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  I'm sure he has that.  Look, both franchises have great pride and understand the pain and how fragile it is to get an opportunity like this.  In the 17, 18 years that I've been here, we've probably thought we've had ten legitimate, at least ten legitimate contending teams, and we've only been to The Finals four times.  So all those other times are heartbreaks, however you get to them.
Because of that mutual respect and the consistency of culture, I think probably both franchises thought at some point in the last 18 years that we would have met in The Finals.  And we haven't.
So I'm sure it means something to LeBron, but you'd probably have to ask him.

Q.  Coach, on a personal level, can you talk about the challenge that it will be to coach against Gregg Popovich here in these Finals?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It's a challenge every series.  But look, I haven't ever looked it as an individual coaching challenge ever.  That would be distracting.  I'm focused, and our staff is preparing our team for this opportunity the best that we can.  And each series has a life of its own.  We've faced great teams, great coaching staffs in the last three years, and they're all different.
We just spend our time trying to make sure we're playing our best basketball, starting tomorrow night.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297