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updated: 5/17/2011 11:28 PM

Spoelstra: 'We are an aggessive team'

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  • Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra signals to his team during Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

      Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra signals to his team during Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

 

Aggressiveness.

Aggressive, attacking mentality.

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Aggressive.

Attack.

No matter which questions Miami coach Eric Spoelstra fielded prior to Tuesday's practice at UIC -- and there were a lot of them -- the above words kept coming out of his mouth.

Care to guess the Heat's theme as they try to square the Eastern Conference finals tonight at United Center?

"We are an aggressive team," Spoelstra said. "If anybody thinks otherwise, you haven't seen us play. We did not show that in Game 1 and that must change for us to change the result in Game 2."

Miami didn't crash the offensive glass (6 rebounds), didn't get to the free-throw line (15 attempts) and didn't take care of the ball (16 turnovers) in Game 1.

While the Heat have the personnel to make changes in its frontcourt, Spoelstra believes bringing fresh guys off the bench or inactive list won't solve the above problems.

"There is no cavalry," Spoelstra said. "The cavalry is our mentality. Each guy has to bring more. We are an aggressive, attacking mentality team. And we were put on our heels the other night."

This talk about aggression and attacking is all well and good, but it seems counter-intuitive to the proper way to deal with the Bulls' defense.

"You've got to be patient," said LeBron James, who settled for 15 points on 15 shots in Game 1.

"It's hard to attack on the front side of their defense because they load the strong side. You've got to be able to get the ball from one side to the other to attack their defense."

Spoelstra believes the Heat accomplished that well enough in the first half to win Game 1, but the second half was another story.

That's where the Heat's absurd imbalance allows the Bulls to play help defense in a fashion that prevents James and Dwyane Wade from getting into 1-on-1 situations.

Miami tried to slow down Derrick Rose in a similar way, but Rose's teammates picked up the slack.

Spoelstra envisions the Heat's supporting cast providing a similar boost in Game 2 -- or at least trying to accomplish the same thing.

"We're a very good strong-side defensive team as well," Spoelstra said. "We've practiced against ourselves all season long and we've talked about that balance that you have to strike.

"And be aggressive. Everybody has to be a live option, even on the strong side."

Everyone has to be an option? Heat centers Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magliore, who combined for 3 shots in 41 minutes, are going to start chucking?

Seems unlikely, seeing as how James, Wade and Chris Bosh attempted 62 percent of Miami's shots this season.

But the Big Three tried 50 of the Heat's 68 shots in Game 1, which might be too high of a ratio even for this ballyhooed trio.

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