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NBA FINALS: SPURS v HEAT


June 20, 2013


Erik Spoelstra


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Seven

San Antonio Spurs - 88
Miami Heat - 95


COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: So first I mentioned it out there, but absolute respect and our hats go off to the San Antonio Spurs. A class organization. A championship organization. We have as much respect for them as anybody in this league. And that was the toughest series we've ever been in.

Q. Erik, you've seen the work LeBron has put in on the jumpshot. Obviously San Antonio, that was the plan tonight, to see if he could beat them with the jumper. How confident were you that he would? And secondly, how excited for the work he's put in are you right how?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: You're always happy for guys when they're so dedicated. And we all know his work ethic. It's probably unique for a guy who has been the best in the game since he was in seventh grade; usually you wouldn't have the type of work ethic that would match that type of talent.
But as the series went on, he realized that was probably the shot that was going to be open, and in the biggest game, the biggest moment, those are the shots that he hit. And those were the difference tonight.

Q. Erik, the guy has taken two weeks off in the last two years. Tonight with the toughest series you've ever been in, to use your words, with the weight of the world on him, how does he have enough for 37 and 12?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: I'm not sure. He's the best‑conditioned athlete in this game. He takes pride and puts in so much time into it. He was guarding Parker, Ginobili, whoever was the most dangerous threat, and then had to create so much offense for us as well. He probably lost 12, 15 pounds in this playoff run expending so much energy.

Q. Through three quarters of Game 6 LeBron was not shooting the ball particularly well. 3‑of‑11, 3‑of‑12. The last five quarters of this series he was phenomenal. What switched for him?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: It became time. He always rises to the occasion when it matters the most, when the competition is fiercest.
It was odd, all year he had been the best perimeter jump shooter in the league, even though he's an attacker and got to the rim, to the free‑throw line. By the numbers he was phenomenal from 15 to 22 feet. And even from three. But their game plan was to really keep him out of the paint at all costs. And that meant giving him wide‑open looks. That was the case, and it probably messed with us a little bit. Takes you a little bit out of your normal rhythm. But eventually he was able to figure it out.

Q. After Game 7 against the Pacers, Shane Battier said he doesn't complain about playing time. "You just have to play so well that the coach can't sit you." Did you see this coming from him?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: I mean, how awesome is that? It's so true. You have to be absolutely pure at heart about it, and not get bent out of shape and get caught up in a dilemma. He was smart enough to know that sometimes it's about matchups, series things change. But he's so important to what we do, that eventually he would get his chance again. When he did, he made the most of it.
Look, the guy has won at every single level, high school, college, pro. It's not a coincidence. He has something running through those veins that separates him, makes him a little bit different as a champion.

Q. You guys are arguably the best shooting team statistically in the regular season, and it really didn't pop up until, it seems, like tonight. Is that the blueprint that you guys planned in the beginning when you got Ray Allen that you were going to be a perimeter‑shooting threat like you were this season?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: No. We wanted to be a dual threat. The first thing we wanted to do was be able to attack, and establish that type of game for our best players. But the space would create a symbiotic relationship, and it worked great all year. The guys working together, the three‑point shooters and the attackers. As we got further along in the playoffs, the defenses got better, and then this series it just took us time to adjust to that type of scheme. Wide‑open shots that we're normally accustomed to making, but that was part of the scheme. Finally it worked out for us at the end.

Q. Did you know that Chris Bosh didn't score tonight?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah.

Q. Did you talk to him afterwards or did you joke about that?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, but during one of the fourth quarter huddles LeBron even said to him, "Hey, doesn't matter what happens to this point. No one is going to remember how many points you had, what type of game you had. Just help us make some plays to win this thing." And CB understood. He made some big plays down the stretch defensively, a couple of rebounds, battling against Duncan with foul trouble.
He was never able to get in rhythm tonight. The three early fouls took him out of that.

Q. Dwyane has been hurt for a month before the postseason even began. What did you see from him as a player throughout the postseason, and for him to step up after his injury in Game 6?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I mean, we know what he was dealing with. Really, he should be commended for being out there and doing whatever it takes, putting himself out there for criticism, possible criticism, because he wasn't 100%. And he just helped us win. That was the bottom line. It was a selfless effort for two months. And some players probably wouldn't have played. He sat out the Milwaukee game, and from that point on, he said, "I don't care. It's not going to get better. I'm just going to be here for you guys. I'll play all the way through and I'll take whatever happens from the media, but I'm going to be out there helping in any way I can."

Q. What exactly is wrong with his knee?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: He had a deep bone bruise. That won't get better unless you take time off. Continuing to play at this level and have collisions and jumps and all that. It just continually got re‑aggravated.

Q. Coach, living here in Florida for so long and watching what's been written about your team and so many people saying you guys should have been winning this anyway. How do you respond to those who said you should have been doing this for the last three years and probably should for the next 20 years?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: 20 years? I hope our guys can play that long.
That's what competition is about. I mentioned that all series long. If people say it's only because of us that we lost or we struggled and we should have had an easier run, that's not giving any credit to the Indiana Pacers or the Spurs. They were great teams. They were incredible challenges to us that we had to overcome. It's never easy. As tough as last year was, it seemed like this year was even tougher. Particularly these last two rounds.
We expected that to be tough, and we have the utmost respect for the teams we played.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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