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Miami Heat Practice Report: Erik Spoelstra unedited

Erik Spoelstra gave his players on Friday less of a traditional, physical practice and more a mental, IQ preparation for his players a day before they face off against Boston.
The point we made yesterday is that it’s not the regular season so we’re expecting more from them in terms of their own work, after they leave here and watching the films and scouting books that we’ve given them. But also the film sessions that we’ve been doing have been a little more extended.
On the Big 3 and Rondo...
Isn’t he one of the big 3 or 4? It depends. You look at the games they’ve played against us and all four have had big games, at least at some point during that series, so we have to account for all of them. The thing about Rondo is that he’s a game changer when he’s able to get into the paint with his creativity. There’s a lot of things that are tough to prepare for because you don’t know necessarily if you’re going to see it. He gets into the paint, he’s a little bit like Dwyane with his athleticism and quickness. He can do unpredictable things so collectively we have to do a much better job of protecting that painted area then we did in those three games. That includes making him spread the ball out which is a dangerous thing, obviously, with Ray Allen. But they get all their points in the paint first and that’s the most damaging thing they’ve hit us with and then they open it up with the 3-ball. I think with their perimeter guys we’re going to have to give them different looks. Not just Rondo but Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. They’re so experienced those two guys in particular. They’ve seen every coverage and they’ve seen every type of defense in the playoffs and they’re both clutch players. So we’ll probably try to get them out of rhythm a little bit and give them different looks within the game in terms of size, length and speed.
Why has the Heat found success on the road?
We pointed to that stretch we had in January. It’s like this in this league. If you can survive, if you can face adversity and survive it without cracking, those are usually the best opportunities for growth on a team. So it’s well documented how tough our schedule was in January. But we did well from that. We’ve developed a resiliency. But more than anything we’ve learned how to win. Our identity is defense but sometimes the games are different and we’ve just found a way to pull it out in the end. Hopefully that quality will serve us well.
On Boston’s veterans...
So many people are talking about how they’ve played recently but it’s a different team than a lot of the other teams in the league. They have so much experience and they’ve been there. It’s a little bit like our team after our championship year. We only won 52 games and sometimes we were getting blown out by young teams with young legs. The back-to-backs aren’t as much of an issue in the playoffs so we respect what they’re capable of. (Rasheed) Wallace has had some big games in this building in the playoffs. He’s a dangerous guy. Michael Finley is another guy they’ve added. They have experience at virtually every single position. It’s a lot of incredible playoff experience. It’s one of their best strengths, the fact that they have so many veteran players, star-level players, who are willing to get off the ball and work for the best shot. I think Boston sometimes is the most dangerous with six or seven seconds left on the clock. They have so many go-to guys at that point and they’re all unselfish. Maybe they’ve been beneficiaries of good officiating and they have great shot fakes. All of that at the end of the clock makes them very tough to finish a possession.
How will Boston’s defense focus on Wade and will they double him?
The good thing about that is that we’ve seen it now. Last year we saw it more with specific teams and then late in the season this year we’ve been prepared. We’ve seen it virtually every close game and sometimes with some teams we’ve seen it all game-long. I think we’re better equipped to attack it. I think we’re moving the ball better than we did in those games so I’m not sure necessarily what their game plan would be. Dwyane had a big game here which was not necessarily to bad for them because a lot of other guys weren’t able to hurt them. I think we have better ball movement now and more commitment to get it side-to-side. They normally don’t have guys go for big numbers. They protect the paint as well as anybody. They’re number one in the league with layup attempts allowed and fifth in points in the paint allowed so that’s not going to change because of us. We’re going to have to keep them honest. We’re going to have to make shots when that ball gets to the weak side. Our open shooters have been taking advantage of that. The ball has been finding them. Carlos Arroyo, UD, Dorell, Quentin - those guys have been beneficiaries of ball movement but also the way teams have been playing Dwayne and there’s a maturity now to be able to tackle those teams. We’re definitely going to do that against a very good defense.
On the similarities between both teams...
Both teams play at a similar pace. Really both teams have a similar style. It’s much different then the playoff series we had last year where there are two contrasting styles. Defensively, by the numbers, both teams are really close. So it’s shaping up to be a series that’s going to be very competitive and probably back-and-forth all the way down to the end of the game unless something crazy happens. But there’s probably less likelihood of seeing what you saw last year in the Atlanta series.