NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics vs. Heat

Monday, May 23, 2022

Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra

Game 4: Postgame

Celtics 102, Heat 82

Q. Was there something fundamentally throughout that put your team at a deficit?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: They came out and jumped us. I think probably more than anything, our offense really hurt us at the beginning. We just weren't getting the kind of purposeful execution that you need to on the road. And then they were able to kind of get some relief points from that and get to the free throw line. They jumped out to that lead and that was the story for the rest of the game.

We're not making any excuses. They outplayed us tonight for sure. We never could get any kind of grip on the game. Outside of these like crazy runs, you have two really competitive teams. The scores and that kind of thing doesn't really give the true indication of how competitive it is. It can get away from either team at any time. That's what you saw tonight.

Q. In the first half, looked like the shots you were getting weren't really your shots. There wasn't much in the corners. Did they change something to take away the shots you wanted?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: They did a better job of getting into us and rotating guys into the paint. You know, similar coverage to the other night. I think just a little bit more purposeful on their end. A few more extra efforts. And then we didn't do things with great intention after that first trigger. We just kind of settled in and just took the first available contested shot. Against a great defense like they have, or conversely, against us, if you fall prey to that, you're going to feel like you're in quicksand.

So we weren't able to impact them on the other end defensively without fouling. There were times we were aggressive but we were fouling too much, and they were able to pretty much dictate the shots. You know, even if it was early in the clock or halfway through the clock, we just didn't really execute with purpose and we paid the price for that.

Q. Was there any sense you got from Jimmy or the training staff that the knee affected him?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No, we just got outplayed tonight. We've got guys that love competition, love these kinds of moments, the playoffs and this is part of the playoffs. There's extreme highs, extreme lows, a lot of emotion. You just have to stay the course, stay together. What you're looking at is a great series. It's 2-2. You have to embrace that and come together, and hopefully this competition brings out the absolute best in all of us.

Q. Three of your best offensive players are hurting, and they have a great defense. Is that concerning to you going forward?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: No. We are not making any excuses. Our guys love competition and our team has proven that we have a bunch of different ways that we can find a solution to get a win. We can do it in the mud. We can win it ugly. We can win it when the floodgates come open hitting threes. We can do it with Jimmy taking over a game. We can do it when he's facilitating. We have the mental fortitude and the collective toughness to be able to embrace what we have. It's just a very competitive, good series. This is what you want, and they got the best of us tonight.

We'll take this hit. We'll do this together and then we'll get back to Miami and we'll get ready for Game 5.

Q. Bam had what looked like sort of a breakout game last game. Tonight, what was the difference with him? Was it him? Was it his teammates?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: It's really tough to really evaluate. We were just so poor to start that game. A lot of it was our offensive execution, the lack of doing it with force and intention and purpose. And then we just dug ourselves a hole and at that point we couldn't get back and get a grip on this game.

You have to credit Boston. They took control of it early. I wouldn't single out any -- you could pick any player on our roster. We are built to really flourish together and utilize all of our menu and our weapons. Certainly Jimmy and Bam and Kyle and Tyler, they drive a lot of those first triggers. But we did a lot of things poorly offensively.

Q. Nights like this certainly can happen in the playoffs. But you just mentioned that your players love competition. Just how disconcerting is it to have --

ERIK SPOELSTRA: This is nothing about a matter of want. Look, I understand the narratives and you can easily point to, they had desperation and urgency and we didn't. You can say that whoever is coming off of a loss is now, for sure, having more of an edge.

You know, sometimes when you have two really competitive teams, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a one-point game. It means that it can be flammable either way. Both teams are ignitable.

Both teams can really defend and get teams out of their comfort zone and distort a lot of things offensively, and that can fuel big runs on the other end. We just weren't able to get that tonight. They were. And so we have to just get ready for Game 5, and get ready for the next competition.

Our guys want this. It's not a matter of that. It's just a matter of you're facing good competition. We all have to collectively find a way to figure this out together.

Q. Were you expecting Jayson Tatum after as rough a game as he had in Game 3 to get it going? Was it a matter of trying to contain him tonight?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: The toughest part was, he was able to get into gaps, get angles and draw fouls. That was the toughest part. He was able to get into a good rhythm just by seeing the ball go in from the free-throw line quite a bit. It wasn't like the explosions that he's had after some of the losses previously in the playoffs. It was more about living at the free-throw line and being able to get us out of position.

Q. We obviously don't know what's going to happen with Tyler the next couple days, and Jimmy is dealing with what he's dealing with. What makes you confident that the offense will be able to find its way moving forward into Game 5?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: We've proven that we can do it. Like I said, the margin for error for either team, you know, whatever they have done to us, we can do to them. None of us are happy about what happened tonight.

This is part of the playoffs. There are these extreme highs and lows, particularly when you have two teams that are pretty closely, evenly matched. But we've proven that we can find solutions offensively in a lot of different ways.

We can be much better than we were tonight, even against a very good defense, and I know for a fact we can be better defensively. Overall our collective competitive will, we can do some things that can make the other team look a little sideways, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
120621-2-1015 2022-05-24 03:40:00 GMT

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