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5 Post-Practice Comments from Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra spoke with media after practice today, following the game five loss to the Boston Celtics. He talked about some of their issues in the game, and went into detail about Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo, and Udonis Haslem. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra talked about Bam Adebayo after practice today, even disagreeing with him taking the blame for the loss. He said, “He is one of the best players in this league. He’s going to become one of the best winners.” This is clearly the truth, especially since Bam has been the biggest contributor to all of Miami’s postseason wins. Game five of the Eastern Conference Finals though definitely wasn’t his best, and Bam recognized that when he said “blame me” after yesterday’s game. Spoelstra, along with Jimmy Butler and the rest of the team, totally disagreed with that statement, saying that it’s on everybody. Bam definitely wasn’t happy with his performance, which is why he will be coming out with a bunch of fire power on Sunday night.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra also touched on the team’s current three point shooting struggles. First off he recognized the fact that Boston does a very great job at defending the three, and getting them off of their normal rhythm threes. He follows that saying that “We’ve also missed some open ones.” He also said, “Our guys are extremely ignitable. It can happen just like that…They can explode at any time.” And as I’ve mentioned before, with the confidence shooting on this Heat roster, this shouldn’t be much of a worry. This also is another reason Kelly Olynyk can be a factor next game, since he’s such an ignitable shooter.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Udonis Haslem was seen in the huddle during a timeout in the third quarter of yesterday’s game, trying to bring some energy to the team. When Coach Spo was asked about this, he said “I can’t imagine being in a locker room or a game without UD…It brings this head coach great comfort when he leads the huddle.” He mentioned that it was hard enough not to have D-Wade in the locker room anymore, but he’s just glad to have that vocal leader in Udonis Haslem. This team has a bunch of vocal leaders on the sideline though, which Spo mentioned Andre Iguodala as well. This team must listen to their knowledgeable vets in order to stay locked in on finishing this series.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about Jimmy Butler’s personality with this team versus his past teams, which Erik said he doesn’t know since he wasn’t around him on past teams. He followed that saying that “If he screams and yells and snaps at us, we don’t take it personal. That’s our language. We kind of like it like that.” And it’s not just Jimmy who doesn’t mind yelling at teammates, Bam and Goran are always letting teammates know when they make a mistake. And that’s the beauty of this team. They truly don’t take it personal, and all take accountability for their actions, as Bam did after the game yesterday.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Erik Spoelstra finished off the session talking about closing out the series. He says, “We never expected it to be easy.” This team isn’t used to being in this situation, since they’ve been the underdogs all season long. But after that loss, it’s time for them to show that gritty and tough mentality in game six. It definitely won’t be easy, but if they hit open shots at a consistent rate it’ll make it easier. And once again it’s now time for the veterans to show up. Tyler Herro has had his moments to get them here, but ultimately it’s on Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic to close this thing out. Goran showed he was ready to do that in game five, and now it’s time for Jimmy to show it tomorrow night.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Crowder, Iguodala

The Miami Heat basically went through a non-contact practice today, which everyone on the team attended. Afterward, Erik Spoelstra, Jae Crowder, and Andre Iguodala talked with media about their mindset after that game three loss and some minor mistakes they will need to critique. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Jae Crowder spoke about the hot topic heading into into game four on Wednesday, Jimmy Butler. He said, “He’s a guy who is about action. You can tell if he’s in one of those moods where he’s going crazy all game.” He followed that saying that the Heat need a more focused and intense Butler. That is indeed the truth. Many people have been saying that it’s time for Butler to start being a primary scorer, but that’s just not him. What he can do is intensify the team through his on-court actions as Jae mentioned, which would speak more volume than any scoring he could do. He did say at the start that Jimmy doesn’t do a lot of talking pregame, which is why you never know what Jimmy you’re getting heading in. But on Wednesday, I’m pretty sure Jae Crowder and this Heat team know what Jimmy Butler they’re getting.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Jae also talked about some adjustments they will be making, without going into detail. He said, “I don’t want to give it away through you,” when discussing some match-ups they will be searching for. This may be the spark for not letting the game get away from them early, which he expanded on starting games better as well. He said, “Our spirit is right, our heads are right, our energy is there. We just want to see how we can play a complete game.” There’s no question that this Heat team has been better in the fourth quarter in all three games, but the key is putting that out there in the first three quarters as well. That’s something else that has to do with intensity, since they finally get a burst of energy down the stretch it seems.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Erik Spoelstra touched on Duncan Robinson for a bit, mostly about the defensive side of the ball. He mentions that he “just has to do things with force and detail.” He knows that teams are going to continually try to attack Duncan no matter what, especially in the post, but he says that “he’s gotten much better at it.” There were many instances that Marcus Smart or Jayson Tatum would take Duncan to the rim, and Miami displayed zero help defense. Duncan struggles one-on-one defensively as it is, and with no help, it seemed problematic. Spo also mentioned that Boston came out with “great force off the dribble” and that they must do a “better job of that.”

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Erik Spoelstra was going into great detail about their young star Bam Adebayo. He said Bam is genuine and real, but on the court he’s as nasty as anyone in the league. “One of the best competitors on this planet.” That statement was on full effect in game three, when Bam was giving it his all even when they trailed by 20 points. Jimmy even recognized it post-game on Saturday, saying “He did everything he could to try to will us to this win all game long.” Spo also transitioned into selecting Bam on draft night, saying “He was the guy we wanted to take. We were just hoping he was going to be there.” He then said that he’s the “Anti-AAU player,” since he never played AAU basketball. Spo ends with “He’s wired differently, which we like.”

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Andre Iguodala touched on what it has been like to mentor Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and others. He said, “I had really good vets…I like to take no credit at all.” He also said, “Once you master something, it’s your duty to teach it. So it’s my duty.” Bam Adebayo having Udonis Haslem as a mentor and Jimmy Butler taking Tyler Herro under his wing has shown to be very essential for this young group. Andre also talked about his recent play, which has been tough due to some issues with back spasms. He said, “One thing you don’t want to be is a detriment to the team.” He says that the Bubble “has been more good days than bad days,” but today is one of those tough days. He finishes off with “We are really built for this environment, it really puts us in an advantage.”

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Herro, Robinson

The Miami Heat are coming off an absolute game one thriller, but still remain as focused as ever. Erik Spoelstra, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson talked with media today following that game. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about an overall evaluation of their game one win. He said, “We need to play better.” He also mentioned that Boston was clearly outplaying them throughout, saying “We were getting our asses kicked going into the fourth.” Miami and Boston each had good and bad stretches, Miami owning the second and fourth quarter, while Boston handled the first and third. He thinks they can be better on both sides of the floor which is indeed true. They definitely didn’t have their best game shooting the ball, and defensively there were a couple of small mistakes. Most of those issues on defense occurred with Bam on the bench, since he was flying around the court in both zone and man defense in game one.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Tyler Herro started off his session with media speaking about missing the All-Rookie team by one vote. He said, “I felt I could have been on the first team but am happy with what I got.” It was expected that Tyler would make the second team, since this was a regular season award and he missed some time. Now, if this award carried over to the bubble and playoffs, he’d be the clear top rookie. But ultimately that’s not the case, and although he made that comment, he’s truly focused on much bigger things, as is Bam. Tyler Herro is currently on an unbelievable playoff run in his rookie year, while the other players from the All-Rookie team are watching his games from home. This just truly isn’t a big deal to him.

Post-Practice Comments #3:

Tyler Herro talked about last night’s near triple double stat line. He said, “I didn’t know I was close to a triple-double.” Its continually been talked about that Tyler is improving more and more with his play-making abilities, but most of his attributes aren’t teachable. He has a natural feel for the game, and also a high basketball IQ which rounds out his smooth overall game. Also, the other part of that triple-double with 11 rebounds proved to be essential as well. His elite rebounding abilities for his height is something that isn’t discussed much. Not only does he grab a bunch of rebounds, but he grabs them forcefully. Tyler just does so many things at an A level, which was not expected to be the case by many heading into this season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Duncan Robinson touched on his shooting in game one, which it definitely wasn’t what it usually was. He said, “Truthfully, I feel like I’m getting good shots. I think I’m taking good shots.” Duncan was getting absolutely blanketed against the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks, but that wasn’t the case in game one against Boston. Most of his shots were open shots, but they just weren’t going in, which is unusual for Duncan Robinson. This definitely isn’t something that should be a concern, since Duncan is one of the deadliest and most confident shooters in the league right now. He should have a huge bounce back game on Thursday.

Post-Practice Comments #5:

While Duncan Robinson was talking with media, Soloman Hill decided to join in and yell “Shoot it.” While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, this is how the entire team feels when referring to Duncan Robinson. They don’t care if he’s missed his last 20 shots, they want him shooting that next one with confidence. This is also because he is one of their main keys to winning, since he’s the start of allowing their offense to run smoothly. And once again, he has not had a back to back bad game all season, which is why he should bounce back in game two, to try and put Miami up 2-0.

5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Stevens, Tatum, Walker

Both the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics talked with media today after practice, one day before game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Brad Stevens had positive things to say about this Heat team, and basically denied the rivalry. Here’s what they all had to say today…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra spoke about Miami’s preparation for the Celtics once again today. He said, “You have to find a way to get to the competition and play more consistent basketball than the opponent.” And that right there is the best possible summary of this series. Miami absolutely will need to be the most consistent team, since Boston at times can be streaky on the offensive side of the ball. And Miami does have a bunch of guys that have shown constant consistency, including Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo. There are advantages in Miami’s favor that they will need to capitalize on, and there’s a good chance they will.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Coach Brad Stevens gave Miami some very positive comments talking with media today. He said, “Probably the closest team in the East that we’ve seen to the Warriors with regard to their cutting and shooting.” And well, Miami has the closest thing to the Splash Brothers right now with Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Stevens doubled down on his comment on Miami’s elite cutting abilities, calling them “one of the best cutting teams in the NBA.” A lot of that has to do with Bam’s ability to take opposing bigs out of the paint and utilize his elite play-making. He finished off saying that they must keep Miami off of the line, saying “easier said than done.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Kemba Walker touched on the history of the Boston and Miami rivalry. He said, “I’m just trying to play basketball…It’s going to be war. I’m looking forward to it.” It just truly isn’t the same rivalry as it has been in the past, since these teams have the utmost respect for one another. Kemba was complimentary of the Heat culture as well, saying “They play hard…I know those guys are going to be ready, but so are we. It’s going to be a fight.” It indeed will be a fight, and it might be most essential with who throws the first blow. And a lot of that will fall on the energy of Heat center Bam Adebayo.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Gordon Hayward’s status will become very important in this Heat series, which there was a bit of an update this afternoon. Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum mentioned that Gordon “looked good,” but he’s not entirely sure of an exact return date. The absence of Hayward gives Miami a much bigger advantage over Boston than they would’ve had. The defensive match-ups for Miami wouldn’t be as favorable, and Miami’s bench would have issues with Marcus Smart coming off the bench. Stevens said that he’s “getting better,” and some say that he should return at some point in the series. But if Miami throws the first punch, it may be too late.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Jayson Tatum reflected back on the series with Toronto a bit, since he thinks there are some issues that can be fixed. He said, “We were a half-a-second from being up 3-0. We know we need to close out games when we can.” And when discussing closing games, there’s a question mark next to who is the go to closer for Boston. Is it Jayson Tatum? Is it Kemba Walker? Either way, Miami knows that the ball will be in Jimmy Butler’s hands on a final possession, which is important this far into the playoffs. And these games will be close down the stretch most likely, since Miami hasn’t been involved in one blowout playoff game yet. This truly will be very essential in this series.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic

The Miami Heat are officially playing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Tuesday, after Boston took down the Toronto Raptors in game seven. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic spoke about the match-up with the Boston Celtics with media today after practice. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Goran Dragic discussed Miami’s defensive match-ups with the Boston Celtics. He said, “We have a lot of guys who can guard multiple positions and I think we have the right guys who can defend their guys.” This mainly has to do with the amount of two-way wings that are on this current Heat roster, especially since they acquired Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala at the trade deadline. Boston’s biggest strength is the amount of versatile wings as well, but with Gordon Hayward out, it hurts that depth slightly. Goran also mentioned that he thinks they can still improve on the defensive side of the ball, which is something that Bam talked about yesterday.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Goran also touched on the planning for Jayson Tatum, as they did for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He said, “We cannot just throw the whole defense at him and forget about the other guys.” And that’s what they did against Milwaukee, since the Bucks role guys are not as offensively sound as Boston’s roster is. He also said, “They have a lot of guys who feed off of him and he’s proved he’s an all around player. It’s gonna have to be team defense.” And a lot of that is going to start with the defense of Goran. He is someone who struggles on the defensive end, which will allow Kemba Walker to attack and do what he does best. But since Boston runs a lot of stuff through a high pick and roll, it’ll allow Bam to step up on different guards, which is where he thrives. This is what Goran means when mentioning “team defense.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler got asked about the talent on the Celtics roster, and he gave a very Jimmy like answer. He said, “They’ve got some really good players, as do we.” But not only does Miami have talent, they have dogs. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. That’s where Miami gains their advantage. Jimmy also mentioned that “We damn sure have to take it a game at a time.” This is what they’ve done all throughout the playoffs, which has led them to an 8-1 record, but now it’s even more important. Game one will be a clear indication on how Miami must play the rest of the series, but ultimately their going to try and prepare the same way they have all season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Jimmy Butler also talked about the Eastern Conference Finals from a larger perspective. He said, “We all think that we’re the better team, we all think that we’re supposed to be here.” Many players say this about their own teams, but Jimmy actually means it sincerely. He has the ultimate amount of trust and confidence in himself and his teammates. He also said, “Going into these games, it’s about us. We control our destiny right now.” This is basically what Jae Crowder said yesterday, when he said the only way they can be stopped is from within. Jimmy knows they control their own destiny, and now it’s up to him to step up against Boston.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Jimmy Butler capped off his media session today talking about being underdogs. He said, “That’s a term that everyone else uses. I think we can have a chip on our shoulder…We’re supposed to be here. We’re not underdogs, we’re competitors.” Every player on this team likes to find an edge to give them a mental advantage, but ultimately Jimmy and others hold themselves to a higher standard. They’re “not embracing underdogs,” since they knew they’d be here. And this isn’t the final destination. A finals appearance isn’t the ultimate goal either. Winning an NBA championship is what they are aiming for, and they won’t be satisfied otherwise.

5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Crowder, Adebayo

The Miami Heat closed out the series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, and are officially in the Eastern Conference Finals. Erik Spoelstra, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo talked with some media today about the chance of a Finals appearance and more. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra talked about the improvements from all of their young guys while in the bubble. He said, “They’ve gotten better every single month…High pressure situations certainly helps their confidence.” When talking about the young guys, a lot is referring to Heat’s rookie Tyler Herro. He also mentioned that a big part of Herro’s improvement have come from the support of their veterans. I’ve mentioned quite a few times in the past that Goran Dragic has been a huge help for Tyler. We continually see more of Goran in Tyler’s game every game he plays.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Jae Crowder spoke about the chances of this Heat team reaching the NBA finals. He said, “Honestly I feel we have a great chance to do it. But it falls on us. We are the only team that can stop us right now.” This is indeed the truth. As I mentioned before, Miami must totally forget about the last two tough performances, and press the reset button. Since if they get into their own heads, that’s the only way they can be beaten. Jae Crowder knows what it takes to win playoff games, which is why he will be key in this next series.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Bam Adebayo spoke a little about the thing that Heat fans love to hear about. Heat culture. He said, “You can only understand it if you’re in it. So for the people trying to figure it out, you can only figure it out if you’re in it.” The thing about Heat culture is that they’re not formed into that mindset when they arrive. The guys they acquire have had that mentality their whole lives. That’s a big reason Pat Riley puts so much trust in John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, since they hold their players to a high standard as well.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Bam Adebayo was also asked about some of the award voting that he’s been in the conversations of. He said, “I don’t care about Most Improved Player if we win a championship. Because I’ll have a ring.” This answer seemed sort of familiar. When Jimmy Butler was asked about his shooting struggles early in the bubble, he said that they won’t worry about that if he wins a championship. This is another clear indication of that Heat culture. This team shares a mutual mindset, and it’s a winning one.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Bam Adebayo finishes off the session talking about his main focus heading into the next round. He said that it’s mainly about cutting down the turnovers. This will be an absolute key for the series, since you can’t give a talented team like Boston or Toronto easy points. He also mentioned that they have the capability of getting to a whole other level defensively. He said, “I don’t think we’ve played a whole 48 minutes yet.” And now tonight’s the night Miami finds out their match-up, which Bam mentions he will be watching very closely, since he can see “some of their tendencies.”

5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Robinson, Budenholzer

Erik Spoelstra and Duncan Robinson talked with media today, following an overtime loss in game 4 against the Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks. All of the players shared a mutual theme post-game, which was the Bucks deserved to win. Here’s what was said today…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra talked a little about yesterday’s game, but mentions that now it’s time to focus on the next game. He says, “It’s about getting to our game more consistently.” Some of that had to do with their stagnant offense yesterday, which many players noted post-game. Another reason for that was the fact that Jimmy Butler waited a little too long to get in a rhythm with the ball in his hands, which then it was too late. Spo also mentioned that they are now preparing for the Bucks with and without Giannis. This was a big reason Miami struggled on defense. Miami had to adjust mid-game from a Giannis centric defense scheme to a Khris Middleton and perimeter stopping defense. Now that Miami has time to prepare, they should be in much better shape either way.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Tyler Herro did a bunch of Tyler Herro things late in yesterday’s game, hitting big shot after big shot. Erik Spoelstra discussed Tyler for a little bit, saying “His game continues to grow, and we’re going to ask more of him as the series goes on.” It truly is amazing that they are putting so much trust in a 20 year old rookie in the playoffs, but Tyler truly is built for this. One of his main attributes with his scoring that puts him over the top is his high level confidence. He wasn’t having the best game early, but still had the mental toughness to shoot those shots in stride in overtime. This is why Tyler Herro plays so many fourth quarter minutes. The coaches believe in him. His teammates believe in him. And most importantly he believes in himself.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Milwaukee Bucks head coach, Mike Budenholzer, talked about the current status of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury. He said that he’s “getting treatment around the clock.” It was also reported that Giannis was seen at practice today with a boot on, and was walking with a hint of a limp, which is much expected. Budenholzer also mentioned that Giannis is doing “everything he can to make himself available.” Andre Iguodala mentioned today that Miami expects Giannis to play. Either way, Miami is now prepared for the Bucks with or without Giannis as Spo mentioned earlier, but this status will be something to keep an eye on over the next 24 hours.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

After Coach Erik Spoelstra touched on Tyler Herro’s play, Duncan expanded on it a little more. He said, “His confidence is special for sure, but the are he’s grown a lot is his feel.” He mentioned that the game is beginning to slow down a lot for him, and his decision making continues to stand out. He says that although he’s made a bunch of big shots throughout this series, some of his passes he’s made have been much more impressive. He finishes the conversation with “The best is yet to come with him.” And that’s indeed the truth. This team knows the upside that he has, which is why they trust him with the ball in his hands at the end of games.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Duncan Robinson talked about the aggression he must bring on the offensive side of the ball every game. He said, “They’ve made adjustments to take away certain things that I like to do, but you must make adjustments to the adjustments.” He follows that saying that the most important thing for him is to continue to search for open shots. He also credited Milwaukee’s defense on him, but he knows he is still able to do what he has done all season. He finishes saying that he’s been very focused on trying to improve in that area, which is why he won’t get away from it. Duncan hit six threes in yesterday’s game against Milwaukee, which means he will be watched closely yet again in game five tomorrow.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Crowder, Dragic

The Miami Heat had another early practice on Thursday, following Wednesday’s crazy finish against the Milwaukee Bucks. Erik Spoelstra most likely focused on late game execution today in practice, since it was pretty choppy for Miami down the stretch. Anyway, here’s what was said in today’s media session…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra mentioned Goran Dragic’s winning mentality that was displayed yesterday. He said, “He’s one of the more skilled, experienced winners in this league.” It’s been pretty clear that Goran has yet to have a bad game in the playoffs thus far. He has the ability to attack the rim at will, which he constantly uses his backboard floater, and also his elite shooting ability makes him that much more of a threat. But most of all, as Spo mentioned, Goran is a winner. That’s why he fits in so well with teammate Jimmy Butler. For example, though he’s not a great defender, Goran made a crucial steal in game one which iced the game, and even poked the ball loose from Khris Middleton in game two, which slowed the game down. That’s why he will be on the court to close games no matter the situation.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about an update on veteran Andre Iguodala, after he turned it pretty severely in yesterday’s game. Erik responded with “there’s no new update.” That definitely isn’t the best news, considering there was supposed to be an update today. If Andre was to be out a few games, that would mean Derrick Jones Jr would be back in Miami’s rotation. Derrick gave some pretty solid minutes in game two, especially with his scrappiness on the defensive end. It did seem as if he may be too small to guard Giannis one-on-one, which is why we will see him in lineups with Jae Crowder or Bam Adebayo. This will allow him to play off the ball, and do what he does best, which is utilizing his instinctive help defense.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Jae Crowder was asked about his current feeling on this Heat team being up 2-0 on the Milwaukee Bucks. He said, “It’s definitely nothing right now.” The key for this Heat team now is to not get complacent. The reason I don’t think Miami will is because they have still yet to play their best game in this series. Jae also mentioned that he’s been down 2-0 before and still won the series. And honestly, Jae doesn’t seem to get enough credit for what he is doing in this Milwaukee series. For one, he’s knocked down some big shots for Miami down the stretches of both games. And second, he’s been an absolute Giannis stopper. Well, sort of. There’s no way to stop Giannis, but Jae Crowder does as good of a job as anybody guarding him, due to his size and physicality.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Goran Dragic talked a little about the controversial call when he fouled Khris Middleton on a three point attempt. He said, “You can’t give a referee a chance to put the game in their hands.” He then mentioned how he needs to do a much better job to avoid fouling jump shooters, especially at the end of a game. He also mentioned, “You have smart players, too. They know how to flop.” This comment may have a little something to do with that Khris Middleton shot as well, when Khris made sure to absolutely sell the foul call. But, if Miami can win a game like this, they can win any game.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Goran Dragic capped off his media session with the quote of the day. He said, “I’m 34 years old. I feel awesome.” As I’ve mentioned previously, some of the reason for Goran’s current play is because of the huge break, which seemed to get him back to his early season self. Another factor could be because of the current environment, which Goran mentioned today feels very similar to his summer three years ago when Slovenia won EuroBasket. Either way, Goran is 34 years old playing 34 minutes a game, and these are very quality minutes. Some also thought it had something to do with the match-ups, but Goran proved that wasn’t the case since he did pretty much whatever he wanted against Eric Bledsoe as well. If Goran keeps up this hot streak, this Miami team is a tough team to beat.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Dragic, Nunn

The Miami Heat talked with some media after practice again today, after their huge game one win over Milwaukee.  Goran Dragic talked about his relationship with his teammates, while Kendrick Nunn discussed his adjustment to his new role. Here’s what was said…

Post Practice Comment #1:

After Kendrick Nunn seems to have locked up the ninth man in the rotation, Erik Spoelstra touched on his importance. He said, “He’s been one of our most important players all season long.” He was pretty solid yesterday in game one scoring 6 points, but was a plus-8 in the game. And as talked about many times, if he can knock down some jumpers in this series, that may be the difference maker. Tyler Herro was the only player on the team for a stretch that utilized the mid-range, which is something Kendrick has done well all season. Goran praised Kendrick for adjusting to his new role, saying “We tell him, stay with it, we’re going to need you in the series.” Spo also mentioned how happy he is for Kendrick, saying “These are not easy circumstances…Covid is real.”

Post-Practice Comment #2:

When Goran Dragic was asked about yesterday’s game, he began with “We didn’t do anything yet.” He knows that although both him and Jimmy are playing at an elite level, the rest of their team hasn’t even gotten started. Goran mentioned that “This is the best basketball I’ve played in the playoffs.” He said he was a bit worried with the week layoff after the first round sweep, saying “I didn’t want to lose that consistency and everything.” Well, that hasn’t proved to be an issue after Goran put up 27 in game one. Not even that is enough for Goran and this Heat team, since he said they haven’t done anything yet.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

It’s clear that Goran Dragic is having the time of his life playing basketball this season. He reiterated that point after practice, saying “I’m just enjoying myself…I love my teammates. For me, it feels like I’m back with the national team.” This starts with his relationship with Jimmy Butler, who continue to improve their on-court play the longer they play together. And it’s a good thing Goran likes his teammates, since that’s all he has around him for this long stretch of time. Goran mentioned that both him and Jimmy will not have their families come to the bubble, since “It’s a business trip.” He followed that with “The focus is to win a championship,” and if they sustain their current play, there’s a possibility it could happen.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Kendrick Nunn talked about trying to adapt to his new role off of the bench. He started off saying that Spo told him heading into the series that he would be in the rotation, since he was a key contributor in the regular season wins against Milwaukee. Kendrick also touched on the difference between his starting role and rotational role. He said, “It’s a little bit different. Everything is more limited. You’ve got to pick and choose when to be aggressive.” Another part of the adjustment is that he’s playing with the bench unit, which he didn’t play much with all season. But as long as he gets back to his regular season self, which was a pure scorer, he will fit in with anybody. And like he said, “I’ve been able to get my rhythm back.”

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Kendrick Nunn spoke about the lineup that included him, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro that was used in game one. He said, “It gives us an advantage because obviously our speed kills. I love playing with two guards.” This lineup also benefits Kendrick since he doesn’t have to be the primary ball handler. He also seems to have a bit of a connection with Tyler Herro, since they played for a bit in summer league and throughout the regular season. Goran also discussed the three guard lineup, saying “All three of us can shoot the ball. It’s not tough because nobody is selfish on this team.” And obviously shooting will be needed as much as possible in this Bucks series, due to their defensive drop scheme.

5 Comments from Spoelstra, Iguodala, Adebayo of Miami Heat

The Miami Heat officially returned to practice yesterday morning, but cancelled the post-practice media session. But today they got to speak with media, mostly about their current mental state due to what has been going on. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, started off the media session saying that everyone on the team practiced today, including Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder. He also talked about the team getting back to normal, both physically and mentally. He said, “We had a couple really good days of work. Nobody was in the mood to work on Wednesday or Thursday.” But now, they are back to their focused routine, since Spo mentioned they will be watching the Bucks-Magic game this afternoon. If the Milwaukee Bucks win, Miami will be facing them in the second round starting on Monday.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Andre Iguodala touched on the current movement that is being led by the NBA. He said, “I think it’s a simple message: We just want to stop being targeted.” Spo also applauded the player’s leadership lately, saying “The league is in a great place moving forward with our players leading the way.” Andre Iguodala has played a huge part in what the league is doing, since he is the union’s Vice President. Bam also gave his opinion on what has been going on, saying “Our people are being harmed. So it’s kind of difficult to focus on basketball because we all have families at home.” Bam also mentioned that it’s “hard to stay in a positive place” at the moment, especially being in the bubble away from his family. He also said that he’s been telling his family to “stay safe and do the things necessary.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Bam Adebayo talked a little about the basketball side of things, which clearly hasn’t been discussed in a while. He said, “As a team, I feel like we have a great balance.” Not only does he mean a balanced roster, but balanced personalities. He mentions that they are at a stage where “anybody can go talk to anybody,” which is great since no one will take it personal. We have seen this with Bam a few times during games in the bubble, where he would be vocal if someone like (Miami Heat rookie) Tyler Herro messed up. But that is true leadership, which is why there’s a whole lot of mutual respect in that locker room.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Bam also mentioned that he doesn’t really have a huge voice right now on these topics since he’s so young. But mentions that for him, “It’s if we have a chance to speak our minds every single night on national TV and keep bring awareness to it.” That’s the reason it was important for many to continue the season, so they could use their platform to make people aware of what is going on. He also said he was “on the fence” about continuing the season. He said that he wanted to go back home to help people, but ultimately thought the right decision would be to bring awareness through media and TV.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Bam Adebayo, one of the Miami Heat’s two All-Stars, finished the media session talking about the importance of using American Airlines Arena as a polling place. He mentions that it’s important “so you don’t have to go out of your way to vote.” He then related this topic to his personal life, mentioning how voter suppression has affected his family. He says it was as simple as a polling place being too far from a workplace and a boss not letting his mother vote. This is why this clearly hits home for Bam, which is why him and the team will continue to use their voices to make change.