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NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: HEAT v PACERS


May 30, 2014


Erik Spoelstra


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Six

Indiana Pacers - 92
Miami Heat - 117


Q. テつDid you see this coming?テつ Could you have seen this coming?テつ What does it say the way that it came?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ No.テつ I'd love to say that I did.テつ You just don't know.テつ I know we had a very angry group yesterday when we met for practice, very focused group today at shootaround, but those type of things don't necessarily guarantee anything.
I knew at least our guys would bring a very competitive spirit to the game.テつ You just don't know.テつ You don't know when these type of games are going to happen.
We feel grateful we were able to do it at home.テつ We would have liked to have closed it out in Indiana, but they pushed us, and we had to do it here.
So we don't take it for granted.

Q.テつ Erik, when you were going through the up and down kind of moments of the season, how did things stay together where you got to the point that you're at right now?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ We have a group that's earned a lot of trust with each other.テつ There's a lot of equity of going through pain, of going through joy, of going through everything in between.テつ I mean, this is your extended family.
Even the guys that haven't been with us for the four years, what we say to them when they join our team is you inherit all of the experiences we've had before.テつ All the pain, all the joy, you inherit that, and you're part of the family.
So you go through all of it.テつ If you have that trust, when you go through tough times and you're going at it, you actually gain something from it.テつ When we were going through some of the rough stretches this regular season, I kind of liked it.テつ It wasn't as if‑‑ I think we're often portrayed as we're just waiting for the postseason.テつ That couldn't be further from the truth.テつ There's a lot of passion and frustration when we were dropping ten of those games in the fourth quarter, where we had fourth‑quarter leads from March till the end of the season.
Guys wanted to win.テつ We had to deal with some injuries and different lineups and all those type of things and the struggle of closing out games.テつ Ultimately, I think that helps you grow.

Q.テつ Erik, what did you think of Stephenson's foul on Norris Cole?テつ And how badly was Norris hurt on that play?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, that's why I held him out.テつ His nose was bleeding.テつ Just figured I could sit him from there.テつ But it was unnecessary, excessive.テつ Thankfully, Norris was able to get up, and he was fine after that.

Q.テつ Maybe part of the double‑edged sword of having an intelligent team that understands NBA history, these guys were talking from the beginning of the year about the challenge of four straight.テつ How much did you allow that to enter into your message with them about the enormity of what this challenge was going to be to be the third franchise to get to the Finals four years in a row?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ We talked about it from the first day.テつ We talked about the legacy of this team.テつ The players that weren't here that first year, they inherited all of those experiences.
But it was only that first day.テつ We've never brought it up since then.テつ It was about now tackling the challenges of the day‑to‑day life of an NBA season.
What I was really encouraged about was our attendance and commitment in training camp in the Bahamas.テつ Right from there, and we communicated during the summer that, if we're real about this, about how difficult that journey is, that you cannot shortcut, that we would show it immediately in training camp.テつ If guys were trying to skip out or ease into it or wait‑‑ even Dwyane with his OssaTron was there, and we knew that he wouldn't be able to play 15 games in November, but he wanted to be there from the first day, and we would manage it from there.
Everybody else was there, and we had a terrific training camp.テつ It got us off to a great start.

Q.テつ Erik, please talk a little bit about Rashard's reemergence into the lineup defensively, what he's been doing to David West this series, and how his offense has been coming up of late these last two games.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, he's showing a little bit of his younger bounce right now, and I think he's feeling the healthiest he's felt in two years.テつ He's been building for it.テつ He's really been working hard behind the scenes.
We were able to give him enough minutes during the regular season, but not wear him out at his age, that now that he can‑‑ not necessarily it was planned for this, but he kept himself ready, and when the opportunity happened, you're seeing a fresh body right now.
He always was skilled.テつ His skill set is one of the reasons we went after him.テつ He was coached well, was in a defensive system, was already in a spread system offensively that's very similar to ours.テつ We thought he'd be a terrific fit and is a veteran player that's willing to sacrifice.テつ There aren't a lot of those types of guys.
He was willing to sacrifice and sit out oftentimes for weeks on end, but he kept himself ready.テつ His body was getting stronger, healthier, and he gave us a punch this series.テつ There's no question about it.
We talk about it all the time with our team.テつ It's about moments.テつ It's not necessarily about every single game or minute during January and February.テつ It's about the big moments, keeping yourself ready and having an opportunity to make an impact at some point during the postseason.

Q.テつ Coach, I know you're obviously more focused on your situation, but just you and Frank have similar backgrounds.テつ Just on the job he's done with the Pacers with questions now about his job security, just the job he's done with that franchise.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ If there is speculation about that, that's ridiculous, and that's the sad state of our profession.テつ There were 13 job openings last year, and now it's reaching almost double digits again this year.テつ It's absurd.
They weren't anybody before that.テつ They've gotten better every single year.テつ This year was probably the year they've had to deal with the most adversity, and they came out of it‑‑ every time you're about to count them out, they would have a jump and prove you wrong.
So hopefully, from a coaching standpoint, that that's not the case.

Q.テつ He didn't play a whole lot of minutes, but could you talk a little bit about the production and the energy Birdman gave you tonight and put up some nice numbers for you.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ Yeah, he was pretty angry with me in the fourth quarter for taking him out, telling me I'm holding him back.テつ He was fantastic.テつ He was bottled up, intensity, energy, anger, all of it.テつ He did not want to sit out these last few days.テつ He felt that he could have gone that first day, but he had really such limited mobility.
He'd been dealing with a lot of minor injuries.テつ He was able to play through all of them the last two or three months.テつ This one we felt he couldn't play through.テつ And then today he passed the final test, and we really wanted to limit his minutes, but he was explosive in his minutes out there.テつ There's no question about it.

Q.テつ Specifically on Chris Andersen in the first quarter, he came in and got five rebounds in like less than five minutes.テつ How did that impact the run from that point forward?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ The intensity, the energy, the multiple efforts, that's who he is.テつ It becomes contagious.
And then when you have somebody that's felt so bottled up that he wanted to be out there the last few days helping his teammates but he physically wasn't able to do it, when he finally got his opportunity, it was an explosion.

Q.テつ Coach, what's your take on how LeBron handled the different kind of tactics that Lance Stephenson was trying against him tonight?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ There's really‑‑ to even point out, to make a comment about that, then you're just highlighting that guy.テつ So he had nothing to do with our series, our success in this series, how LeBron showed up tonight.テつ We're playing for something much bigger than that guy.

Q.テつ Erik, Hibbert's numbers in this series were nowhere near his numbers in the series last year.テつ Is that progress for you guys?テつ Is that something you feel like you guys figured out?テつ How did you do it?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:テつ You never know if you figured it out.テつ We were able to be more effective with it this series.
Chris took the challenge, and I know early on in the series, that he was under a lot of criticism for how he was playing and stepping up, but he has to do so much for us and battling at that position and it took away some of the other things.テつ The things that we ask Chris to do also will take away from what other people think he should be doing, but it's necessary for us to be successful.
Then as the series went on, we all understood and felt that he needed to be more aggressive, and we all worked together to find opportunities for him to be aggressive.テつ That was encouraging to see.
C.B. does so many winning things, and the overwhelming majority of them, the average fan doesn't see how they help you win the way that they do.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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