NBA Q&A: Erik Spoelstra

Posted by Unknown on Thursday, March 06, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Dan McCarney 

General thoughts on tonight’s matchup:
Our preparation today is about getting back on track. We had a tough in loss in Houston (on Tuesday) where we were inconsistent with attitude and defensive disposition, and that has to be much better tonight. This is another great offensive team. This team is a facsimile to Houston in terms of how fast they play at home. So our preparation is just this game. We’re not taking a quick history lesson of last year. This team is playing very well, regardless of all the adversity they’ve had all season. They’re right there in the mix. We know we have to be on top of our game. It has to be there with our effort, our focus, our discipline…all that has to be clicking to get a road win (against the Spurs).
Defending Tony Parker: 
There are a lot of different layers. You have to be quick in the mind, first. Your change of possession, getting an extra defender back. Certain situations, you have to see them and feel them before they happen. You have to be ahead of the play so you’re in proper position to be ready for that quick miss. If you’re reacting to Tony Parker, you’re too late. Fact. No discussion about it. So your instincts have to be ahead of the action. We don’t expect it to be easy. We’ll need one of our better defensive performances.
Challenge of winning in San Antonio, where Heat dropped 2 of 3 in the Finals: 
They’re a great team. That’s what competition is about, seeing what you’re made of on the road. We feel when we’re on our game, we can beat anybody. Doesn’t matter where or who. But the key is getting to that consistency. Our identity, we have to make them uncomfortable against a team that’s sensational with their passing. We still have to put a lot of pressure on them. Offensively, we have to be very good. We have to be organized, we have to be poised.
The Spurs surviving a two-month injury epidemic: 
You wouldn’t expect anything less. Everybody’s had to go through it. It’s the teams that don’t make excuses (that deal with it). So they went through their injuries and guys in and out of the lineup on their long road trip, and they were still able to gut out tough wins. That speaks to coaching, the character of their team and mental toughness. They’re healthy now and they looked great the other night.
The longevity of Tim Duncan: 
His biggest opponent has been Father Time, and he’s been knocking the crap out of Father Time, toe to toe. He’s remarkable. His game is timeless. I’m sure — I don’t know anything about it — but I’m sure he’s done a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to stay youthful. It isn’t just the fountain of youth. His body looks great. I’m sure he’s disciplined with everything: Nutrition, training, conditioning. He’s defying his age. At some point in your 30s you have to change a lot about your approach off the game, in terms of your preparation physically. And I don’t know anything about whether Tim Duncan has done that. I just would venture to guess he’s done a lot of sacrificing and changing of his preparation and routine compared to his 20s. That cannot be just luck with his health. He has to be putting in a lot of time. He looks youthful. He looks young.
The impact of Kawhi Leonard, who missed the first meeting: 
Big, big difference. They’re a great defensive team even without him. But that individual commitment and disposition, his size, his length. He’s very committed on that side of the floor, and he’s has a very good team behind him so he can be even more aggressive. He’s very smart, very disciplined.
How much he might have learned from Gregg Popovich about managing Dwyane Wade’s health: 
I don’t know, maybe subconscious. It wasn’t necessarily about looking at a blue print. It’s not the first time we’ve had to deal with this. We spent some time this summer approaching how we would deal with Dwyane’s season even differently than he had in his past. We’re very comfortable with that world we live in. We evaluate him every day: How much training he’s been able to do, how much rest, how much conditioning, how much of all of that, and we base our decision literally every single day (on that). It’s big picture, but it’s based on the moment.
The Spurs recording 39 assists on 43 baskets in their last outing: 
Terrific. We’ve had a few of those nights as well. It’s what makes this team so challenging to play against. Defensively we want to be aggressive, but you’re playing a team that can really make you pay if you’re out of position and not alert and not really covering your ground.
The Spurs struggling with difficult Finals defeat: 
We can relate. We can relate. It took us a full year to stop thinking about the Dallas loss. And still, there are times I have deep regret over things I certainly would have done differently knowing what we know now.
Opposite feeling, not believing the Heat pulled it out: 
Yeah, there was probably a two or three week stretch after the fact where I would wake up thinking we had lost the series.