Erik Spoelstra says Heat have to get to the next level of their game

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Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says the players and coaches know the identity of what they want to be as a team, now comes the part where they have to take the next step and up their level from last season.

- Knowing how we do things and knowing how Cliff does things, I don't think so. And both teams have guys that are out, so the rotation potentially could be different for both teams. Yeah, I think both organizations are focused on getting your team right and building the right habits. It's not like we're going to play any of our regular guys 35 minutes tonight.

REPORTER: Is Josh still on track to--

- Yeah, he went through the whole shoot around.


- Bam, probably not. He went through the whole shoot around. But I think I'd like to see him in practice tomorrow.

REPORTER: The first day of camp, everybody said that they just went right into it [INAUDIBLE]. Do you see that so far?

- Yeah, we definitely see that. That doesn't guarantee anything. But we're able to get to the real stuff and try to get on the same page. So we do have guys that are out of the rotation. And that probably could be a little bit unsettling if you didn't have so many guys coming back. But we feel we have continuity that's trying to develop, you know, a next level to our game from last year.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE] what's the biggest difference now once everybody is on the same page?

- I think everybody has a better understanding of what our strengths are and how we need to play. And then now it's just a matter of continuing to build those habits. When you have a new group, you're trying to build an identity and spending a lot of time on that.

REPORTER: You know every year there's [INAUDIBLE].

- Yeah. Yeah.


- Yeah.


- Yeah.

REPORTER: Are you seeing that?

- Yeah. Our guys are so frustrated in practice, we're calling every single foul. We're benefiting from that, also, from our aggressiveness offensively. But there's no question, they're calling a tighter right now. You have to adapt. You have to adjust. And what we say is we have to become masters of technique and really be diligent and mindful of your technique. We'll see if it continues to be called this way.

But you know, the travels as well, I would like to see our shooters shooting those instead of shot faking to lead to a travel. So if they're not going listen to us, listen to the official cause that will be a missed opportunity.

REPORTER: Because you are one of the teams that has a true five, a couple of them sometimes, can the change in how they say they're going to [INAUDIBLE].

- Yeah, but it can also do it in a lot of different ways. Your pick and rolls of screening with great technique and focus and detail, because if you do it right and they switch, it's tough not to grab and hold. And we've benefited from that, the activity lane cutting to open spots, you know, for our bigs, yeah. That certainly can be emphasized more, which we have been.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE] hallmark to a Steve Clifford coached team or [INAUDIBLE].

- Yeah, there are. We've faced his teams twice in the playoffs, very tough. That's both physically and mentally tough. They play the right way, play together. We have nothing but respect for Steve and his staff and the environment that they are able to create. And unless you play against it, you don't really see it and notice it. But we faced their team so many times over the years. And they've earned that respect.

REPORTER: In regards to playing time, we saw that you were able to balance guys' time through the past three games. How are you going to approach that situation through these next three games [INAUDIBLE].

- Yeah, we'll continue to try to balance guys that have been playing and then hopefully we can get some guys that have been out, get them some minutes. Whether or not there's a full dress rehearsal, I don't know. It's too early to tell because of injuries. But I'm encouraged. I think we're going to get some of these guys back in and get them in-- get them some game time.


- Yeah, quite a bit. He went through all the non-contact part of practice yesterday and went through the entire shootaround today.


- Well, they're both three and d type player that you're talking about, can [INAUDIBLE] on the wing, defend multiple positions. Ligs, we don't even have to talk about him. It's obvious our respect and how much we like him that we continue to bring him back. And we just think he fits with us. And our Cook, we're excited to have him into our program and develop him in the same way.

REPORTER: You talked about [INAUDIBLE] you just mentioned just now [INAUDIBLE].

- And staff members and everything. Yeah, it depends on what side of it you're in it in this business. I mean, for us, we feel very grateful that we have an organization that believes in that type of consistency, continuity. We develop relationships that transcend the business. Things are going to happen in this league. Players are moved, you know, coaches move on.

The the rate of transition now is much more than it used to be certainly, when I was first started head coaching. But now it seems like there's over 100 players that change teams every year. So you could be a cynic and say, hey, this is a business. You can't trust anybody. Or you make the most of your situations and you find places that you can have a great experience and develop some unbelievable life-lasting relationships. And that's what we like to try to provide for players that we feel fit on our type of fabric.

And that's what you've seen over the years. We develop players, develop strong bonds. You think they fit. And if they end up moving on, we're happy for them. And then if we have a chance to get them back, we want to. If we can't bring them back during the playing career, then we want bring them back on the staff. One way or another.

REPORTER: Is it by design that the schedule worked out this week that you're gone for a week and back for a week?

- No.

REPORTER: Just happy coincidence?

- Nope, we got-- I think like a lot of teams we got caught-- the preseason was shortened and we already had contracts. And you just had to make do with what you could, dealing with everybody's arenas. We would not have, ideally, liked to have gone from training camp to a, you know, two game road trip. But we made the best of it. And we sold it that, hey, we get 10 days at home before our opener.