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Heat calm despite drubbing: 'Proven we can do it'

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Published in Basketball
Monday, 23 May 2022 23:39

BOSTON -- Despite a 102-82 drubbing at the hands of the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes his team can return the favor in Game 5.

"We've proven that we can do it," Spoelstra said. "The margin for error for either team -- 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."

What gives Spoelstra and his team so much belief is they have spent much of the season dealing with a variety of different injuries and still found a way to earn the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Heat showed no signs of panic late Monday night despite the lopsided affair, reinforcing that they can fix the problems no matter who is on the floor.

Heat guard Tyler Herro missed Monday's game because of a groin strain and his status for Game 5 is uncertain. Jimmy Butler is dealing with knee soreness but said he isn't "too worried" about the injury. P.J. Tucker (knee soreness) and Kyle Lowry (hamstring strain) are also dealing with ongoing issues but the Heat refuse to use those injuries as excuses for their poor play.

"Injuries is a part of this," Heat center Bam Adebayo said. "It's a part of playoffs. You learn to adapt. We're one of those teams, we've had so many injuries throughout the season that you know we've learned how to win. Guys being out, guys playing half, guys playing 20 minutes in the game, just depends."

Butler echoed a similar sentiment in regards to his knee issue.

"I'm straight," he said. "No excuse for how I played tonight. It [doesn't have anything] to do with my knee. I've just got to be better. I will be better. I'm not too worried about it."

That's the feeling that came through from several players -- despite the fact that the starting unit of Butler, Adebayo, Lowry, Tucker and Max Strus shot just 7-for-36 from the field.

"Keep the game extremely simple," Butler said of having confidence in being able to improve offensively. "Whenever we tend to do that, we tend to play well. When anybody tries to hit a home run and do it by themselves, we kind of get in trouble. Ball sticks. We turn the ball over. We take a bad shot. We just need to do everything together like we've been doing all year long.

"It will be on myself, on Kyle, on Bam to make sure that we make that happen."

As the Heat prepare for Wednesday's Game 5, they do so convinced they'll be able to turn things around in short order despite all the obstacles that appear to be in their way.

"We're not making any excuses," Spoelstra said. "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."

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