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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.