5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Haslem, Butler

The Miami Heat went through their last practice on Sunday before facing the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the second round. Udonis Haslem gave his opinion about the Heat’s chances, while Jimmy Butler spoke about the team’s current mindset. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Udonis Haslem was asked about the Heat’s chances heading into the match-up with Milwaukee. He said, “The Miami Heat is built for anything.” And if anybody knows about how this team is built, it’s UD. He continues to be not only a major voice for serious issues, but also a guy that player’s look to during games. Even veteran point guard Goran Dragic walks up to him on the sideline during games to get input, since that seems to be his role. Udonis also is a major voice with instilling a winning mentality into the guys in the locker room. He’s played a big role in the development of (Miami’s young star) Bam Adebayo, both on and off the floor. If Udonis believes in this team, everyone believes.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat’s head coach, spoke about their recent success guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo. He said, “When you think you play him well, he’s always dancing around a triple-double.” Though this is true, stopping Giannis does not mean cutting down his numbers entirely. What the Heat do with Giannis seems to be more mental. They try to frustrate him by throwing a bunch of wing defenders on him who are physical, which consequently increased the amount of turnovers for Giannis. Another way they attacked Giannis was by using Bam on offense to try and get him in foul trouble. This means that Bam’s scoring numbers may not be high in this series, but he will have one of the biggest impacts in the series.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler seemed to have a bit of an issue with his left shoulder during last game, which led to him sitting for extended minutes in the first half. But when asked about his shoulder after practice today, he said “I’m good to go.” It sounds as if Jae Crowder will be good to go as well tomorrow, since he practiced the past two days. Jimmy Butler was also seen shooting left-handed free throws during practice, which further proves how ready his shoulder is. He may need to shoot some left-handed free throws in this series, since he gets to the line so many times a game, his right arm may be tired. And although Milwaukee uses a drop scheme, Jimmy Butler will continue to do what he does best in this series, which is attacking the basket.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Erik Spoelstra reflected back to Miami acquiring their “perfect fits,” in Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder. He said, “Well, they speak our language.” Everybody knew the fit of Miami and Jimmy Butler was pretty ideal, since it’s a hard wrking organization mixed with a hard-working player. But I don’t think many realized how great of a fit Jae Crowder would be. He was clearly a physical, scrappy defensive guy which was something the Heat needed at the time, but the improvement in his shooting has put Miami over the top. Not only is he able to knock down a bunch of threes a game, but’s he’s doing it at an exceptional percentage. This propelled him into the starting lineup, and will be a key piece in the second round on both sides of the ball, since he will have the assignment of Giannis Antetokounmpo and have to sustain his high-level shooting against their drop scheme.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

After a lot of people have been predicting that Miami will take down the Bucks, Jimmy Butler was asked if he’d rather be doubted or get recognition. He said, “We don’t care if you pick us to win or you pick us to lose, we’re gonna go out their and compete.” As mentioned previously, this team doesn’t care who believes in them because they believe in themselves. This is mostly because they have a locker room that is filled with experienced veterans. Also, there’s been a lot of talk about Miami’s shooters and Bam Adebayo heading into the series against Milwaukee, but not a lot of Jimmy Butler talk. This series against the Bucks is the reason Jimmy came to Miami, so he could lead the team in the postseason. This is officially Jimmy’s time.

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