- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra downplayed Monday critical comments made by Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo during halftime of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, calling it "normal playoff chatter."
When asked on his way to the locker room during halftime what holes he was exploiting in the Heat's defense as part of Boston's offensive outburst, Rondo took a shot at the Heat by telling ESPN's Doris Burke, "Them complaining and crying to the referees in transition."
Miami was called for 13 personal fouls in the first half (and 28 for the game), while Rondo picked up a technical after an altercation with Heat forward Shane Battier.
Following the Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory, Rondo again spoke with Burke and was asked if he expected any repercussions from his halftime comments.
"What I said was true," Rondo said. "I don't take back what I said. That's what it is."
Asked if there was any validity to what Rondo said, Spoelstra added Monday, "I could really care less -- couldn't care less about what another player has to say about our team. The deeper you get into a competitive series, the more people [say], the more noise there tends to be."
Asked how his team had managed when the Heat didn't get calls, Spoelstra tried to focus on the improvement from past seasons.
"I think we've managed that part of the game better than we have in the past," Spoelstra said. "I think, particularly in this playoff run, we've been able to focus on things that we can control. And that's not one of them. But if you have been around our team, I think you've seen a lot of progress, particularly from last year."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers tiptoed around the subject on Monday when asked about Rondo's comments and whether the Celtics see the Heat complaining to officials when they watch film.
"We watch a lot of film, I'll just stop there," he said. "Other than that, I don't make comments on that. I mean, Rondo is very emotional, we like him to be intense. Obviously, if that motivates anybody else, that motivates anybody else. But if you need motivation at this point, there's something wrong anyway. As far as what he said, I'll leave that alone. I'll just leave it there."
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com