Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by roscoe36, Jun 3, 2006.
June 2nd, 2006
Miami - 95
Detroit - 78
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
Q. First of all, congratulations. It's been a hell of a run. I wanted to ask you, do you think that tonight maybe -- it did not seem like you guys had the energy. Maybe it was you guys just ran out of fuel? What do you think about that?
FLIP SAUNDERS: What happens, one, sometimes when you don't make shots, you run out of fuel. We didn't make shots from the beginning, we were fighting uphill most of the way and couldn't get over the hump. Shaq was great early, established things as far as early, and I said before the game that usually in these games what happens is some role player steps up and is the guy that is really the determining factor in the game, and I thought Jason Williams was the determining factor. He had 21, 10 for 12 from the field, and he played extreme aggressive.
Q. It seemed this was a night where Rasheed never got into any kind of flow.
FLIP SAUNDERS: He struggled the whole series. He really struggled to get into any flow. He's one of those guys, we were trying to go to him hoping that he would. We fell behind so much it really took a little bit out of what we could do offensively. We had a lot of open looks. We had that one series where we had four straight threes in 2 and came up with nothing. Like I said, unfortunately for us, we didn't play how we play. I would have liked to have seen us been able to do some things to make shots, but you've got to give Miami credit. They did a nice job offensively. Shaq took away a lot of easy shots in the paint, Dwyane was phenomenal as role players.
Q. In retrospect could that Cleveland series have thrown a kink in your offense that you never got back out of?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, going seven games, having one-day preparation time in between, basically we lost home court. There's no question, when you go seven games, it wears you out.
This team has had a phenomenal run. They've been to the Conference Finals four straight years. They've had a lot of big games and mental games, and it can wear you out as much mentally as physically. Tonight was our fourth game as far as the elimination type game. So there's no question that the Cleveland series, when you go seven like that, it does take something out of you.
Q. This tailspin started that night in Cleveland when Rasheed rolled his ankle. Was there a combination effect or are you going to need some distance in order to figure out what happened?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, you've got to go back and look at things. I can say tonight was a lot of what happened to us. When you don't make shots, you put too much pressure on your defense you're going to scramble defensively and you can't lock in. You can't be as good as you want to be. There's no question that Sheed was our inside factor. He gave us a presence both blocking shots -- I don't know if he had a blocked shot tonight. Both him and Ben did that.
A game like tonight when you fall behind so much, it takes away the best thing -- you try to get more offense on the floor if you can, and it was just one of those things that we never got into the rhythm that we have. It's one of those things you have to look at and reevaluate.
Q. Coach, could you just briefly talk about the last-minute news about Dwyane Wade, if it affected anything that you talked to your team about prior to the game, and assess his performance tonight under the circumstances.
FLIP SAUNDERS: We didn't really talk about it before the game, and I thought that he was somewhat quiet early but then in the third quarter when he came back in, that's when he really distanced himself from us. He made, again, some phenomenal shots. He's had a phenomenal series.
Q. All season long these guys talked about winning an NBA title. Anything less than that would be looked at as a failure. Now that the season is over, do you feel as though this season was a failure?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, I think we had a great year, but ultimately every team that comes in when you start October 3rd you have one goal in mind, and ultimately there's failure for 29 teams and success for one team, and that's pretty much how you judge it.
Q. Four straight Eastern Conference Finals, one championship, coming off a really tough series. How tough is it not to feel like --
RICHARD HAMILTON: Ever since I got here, I've only been here for four years, Chauncey has been here four years, Tayshaun has been here for four and Rasheed has been here for three. What we've accomplished in four years is four Eastern Conference Finals, a Championship and another trip to the NBA Finals. I think the sky is still the limit. We lost to a tough team tonight. They deserve it.
Q. When did you just feel it was getting away from you guys, after third quarter?
RICHARD HAMILTON: I always liked our chances, even when we were down 18 with like five minutes left to go. I just thought if we continued to fight, we could get back in the game. But them guys wouldn't miss shots. Shandon Anderson hit a three, James Posey hit a three, Jason Williams hit a three.
Q. You came one game short of the Championship last year. This year you had a great start, a great regular season. What does it feel like to come short in this series?
RICHARD HAMILTON: It hurts. At the end of the day, if you don't win that ring, all what you did all season don't mean nothing. Even when we won the Championship, we lost last season. That season didn't mean nothing because we didn't walk away with a ring. That's our goal, you know, to try to win a ring. If you come short of that, then you've got to challenge yourself to get out there and try to win one.
Q. You had the best regular season record, went in as favorites for the title. This season, just coming short, what happened? I mean, was there something, coaching, players not getting there? What do you think it was that made you all fall short in the playoffs?
RICHARD HAMILTON: Well, Miami played a great series. I think every angle, every position, they played great. There was times when we made our run, and they'd make a run. I give credit to them. They came out, they attacked, they played aggressive.
Q. The heat made a lot of changes for the purpose of beating you guys. Now you guys head into the off season. You guys are prideful of your starting five, but what kind of help do you think you need to get over the top?
RICHARD HAMILTON: Who knows? Like I said, it was a tough series. The way we played in this series wasn't the way we played all season. We've got to figure out what was it. I mean, you go back to the drawing board, you figure it out, then you come out the next season and hopefully you can change that.
But like I said, I love our chances. I give a lot of credit to Miami, Shaq carried them, Dwyane carried them, played well, and the supporting cast played well. You've got to give them a lot of credit.
COACH PAT RILEY
Q. Can you talk just a little bit about what was going through your mind as that last minute was ticking down?
PAT RILEY: Finish. I'm always about just finishing and completing the task. You know, four, five minutes left to go in the game with a 17 or 18-point lead, a genuine feeling and sensation that you're going to get this done. It's always for me a harrowing ride because you just don't know what land mines or trap doors are going to open up along the way. But our guys came tonight and put the hammer down, period. That's it.
Detroit is an absolute great team. They've been the stronghold in the East for the last four years. They've been our nemesis the last three years, and in order for us to beat them they were going to have to put the hammer down, and that's what it was going to take. Our guys came out defensively and did that.
Q. Now that it's over, it's been a long haul for the franchise and it's been a long haul for you down here. Talk about how it feels to get to this point.
PAT RILEY: We've had a lot of near misses, unlucky bounces, suspensions. We've had very good teams that I thought were championship contenders. We had a major, major setback with Zo's kidney, when that set us back, and two years to rebuild. But ever since Shaquille O'Neal showed up on the scene, this team has been a legitimate contender, and we have put pieces around him. Obviously the drafting of Dwyane Wade and what he's become has sped the whole process up.
I just feel great that after 11 years, especially for Mickey, one of the great owners in this leak and committed to these fans and to this team that he's got a chance to win a championship. So once we take a day off and sort of gather ourselves, our work just begins.
Q. This team has so many story lines that sometimes we forget what a great human story Alonzo Mourning's story is. Could you tell us if you've talked to him or what have you felt from him or said to him?
PAT RILEY: Zo and I don't have to speak about that anymore. Zo and I are fused at the hip. He's the one that dragged me up out of my seat when I couldn't say something to the team at a very difficult time.
I know why he's here, he knows why I'm here, and I just -- I just want him to get -- to experience a championship. I mean, that would be -- 35 years old, 36 years old, these guys that haven't done it, that would be the greatest gift for me. It would. I mean, I'm just an old codger now, I mean it. The most important -- there's a lot of guys in that locker room, a lot of stories in that locker room, and they're very motivated about this opportunity.
Q. In light of the Dwyane Wade sickness before today's game and in light of Jason Williams' performance, did you make a conscious effort to ask your role players in general and maybe Jason in particular to be more aggressive at times? During the season it appeared that certain players just as Jason would pass off a lot and defer to the two superstars.
PAT RILEY: I think one of the things about this whole team, as they have been judged, and there's been a lot of witnesses out there that have followed the team and commented on the team, this team in spite of the characteristics of the players and the personalities, they've all sacrificed a tremendous amount. I mean, guys that came here and sacrificed money. Zo is playing for a minimum, Gary Payton is playing for the minimum. Antoine Walker took less than what he could get. There's a long list of players that have sacrificed not only financially but minutes, position, their egos, the kind of games they've had before, and while everybody has been sort of taking them apart, they have been quietly becoming a team.
Jason Williams has done exactly what we've asked him to do, which is to distribute the ball and make shots when he's open, and it wasn't me. I do know that the players one by one or at times have brought him aside, took him in and said you've got to be more aggressive, go for it, play your game. I think you saw his game tonight. It was at the right time, there's no doubt.
Q. Can you just talk about what a performance that was from Shaquille at a time when you needed it?
PAT RILEY: Well, he's very focused. This morning at the shoot-around when everybody knew that Dwyane -- we didn't know if he was really going to play tonight. We felt he'd be here, but I mean, Shaquille is Shaquille. We couldn't get him the ball enough. We couldn't straight post him up, so we started doing a lot of things to move him a little bit on pick-and-rolls so he could get the ball. He had 19 at halftime and nine rebounds, started the whole thing for us and made sure that we were organized. Without him, we probably wouldn't be there tonight. He had a great game.
Q. Dwyane, could you take us through last night? When did you start feeling sick? What time did you go to the hospital?
DWYANE WADE: About 3:00 in the morning, but I probably went to the hospital more around 8:00. I think you'll save the rest of that for Sunday conversation.
Q. You want to talk about J.W.'s play tonight playing the supporting cast for you?
DWYANE WADE: Oh, man, hats off to my teammates. He did a great job. Jason Williams did an unbelievable job tonight hitting 10 out of 12 shots. Not having the best series and really coming out when we needed him stepping up. I seen it from the get-go. I knew Udonis was going to be ready, Antoine played great, James. On and on, Gary and Alonzo, they really wanted it. We rode Shaq when other guys weren't doing nothing, and I had a chance to come in and put my little two cents in with the team, I do that as much as possible. But they did it tonight, so I'm proud of them guys.
Q. We do have to ask you now about the IVs you took before the game and halftime. What did you take, when and how did that affect your play?
DWYANE WADE: If anything it helped me just trying to get hydrated. More than anything, especially at halftime, that's why I came out a little late, I was still getting my IVs in me trying to get hydrated because I knew I was going out there to chase Rip and I had to get a spurt in on offense. I took one early at the hospital all day and then at halftime.
Q. How did you feel when you got to the arena tonight, and were you appreciably better in the second half than you were in the first half, feeling better?
DWYANE WADE: Yeah. I felt better than I thought I would when I got to the arena today because I pretty much went from the hospital home to change and to the arena. I was feeling a little weak. Of course that's how I was going to feel. I was still here mentally. I really wasn't worried. I knew my guys was really going to step up and play tonight. I just knew I had to do my job, and that was passing them the ball. I tried to do that today.
You know, second half I felt a lot better coming down the third quarter when my team needed me to score some buckets and I finally got into a groove for a minute, and we took it from there.
Q. Shaq said he talked to you this morning about taking time to get better, that he would take care of this. Did you see that he wanted to kind of take the game over?
DWYANE WADE: No question. He did a great job. When we needed a basket, we threw it in to him and he's been very accurate like he's been the whole series, dunking the basket, going up strong. The first half he had 19 points, nine rebounds, so that was great. That was excellent. He just told me to come in and just pace myself. He said the guys are ready today so you ain't got to do it all today, just pace yourself. I did that, and when it was time for me to take over, I went out there and hit a couple shots.
Q. How sick were you over the course of those 12 hours? Was there a lot of throwing up?
DWYANE WADE: I was sick. Just like anybody else that got the flu, throwing up. I never really throw up, so it was a change for me. Sore throat, very, very bad. My wife was up with me all night, so I'm glad I had her there with me to help me out all night, so it was good.
Q. Can you just talk about what was going through your head the last couple minutes as the timer was going down?
DWYANE WADE: You know, it was a great feeling, man, talking to Udonis towards the end of the game, just thinking three years ago we started off 0 and 7, and to be at the point where we are now on our way to the finals is truly amazing for this organization, for all these guys that's here, especially when there's been a lot of doubt on this team. But we're in the finals now. As the saying goes with this team, they did what they do and we went out there and played team basketball at the right time of the year.
Q. What does it mean to Shaq being back to the finals after not having gone the last few years, and also do you see a difference in his commitment and dedication compared to last year to get back there?
DWYANE WADE: First of all, I know he's not close to being happy like the rest of us were celebrating. It's a lot of our first time going to the finals. But we celebrate tonight and move on. His goal is to win another championship, no question about it. But to get this team to where we are now and him being a big part, which he couldn't be as much last year because of the injury, it means a lot to him. We have a lot of respect for him and he's our leader, and we continue to listen to what he says, being prepared to embark on another finals for him.
Q. Can you be specific on the timeline about when you started feeling sick, who you called, who told you to go to the hospital and when you went?
DWYANE WADE: Well, at 3:00 o'clock is really when I woke up and I knew I wasn't going to go back to sleep. I tried to do what I can. My wife was giving me tea and vapor rub and everything she could. I told her to call Mr. Cope, our trainer, probably about 7:00 or 8:00 today and that's when he told me I need to get to the doctor, and I stayed at the doctor until about 3:00 o'clock and came over to the game.
Q. You were talking a few days ago about the last few minutes of Game 7 last year, how you think about that and how that motivates you. Can you talk about how all year that kind of guided you and beating the same team on the same floor to get to that goal?
DWYANE WADE: First of all, giving credit to the Pistons for being a great team, for making us play the way we have because you've got to play great to beat them, so give them credit. But second of all, we wanted it. Last year hurt a lot. I'm sorry that the guys from last year can't experience what we're experiencing now, but I'm happy for the guys that are here that are getting an opportunity to experience it. We dedicated ourselves to come in as a team in the playoffs and really use our powers, our strengths and do it together.
But beating the Pistons makes it real. If it was any other match-up in the Eastern Conference Finals, it wouldn't have been the same. Not knocking any other team, but because they knocked us out last year on our home floor, so doing it, once again, winning on our home floor this year made it sweet.
Q. Jason, did you have a feeling coming into the game that you were going to have a strong night shooting and just a kind of strong all-around game?
JASON WILLIAMS: I feel like that every night. I feel like all my shots are going to go down. Just this series they haven't been going down. The guys have been on my back, stay aggressive and they're going to fall, and tonight they did.
Q. Is this the best night of your professional career, other than the draft?
JASON WILLIAMS: Oh, man. I had my two kids when I was in the NBA, so that's the best two nights of my professional career right there, but this ranks right up there. Like I said, we've still got work to do. We've still got to start Sunday at practice and get ready for the next series.
Q. When you think back at all the questioning people did about the makeup of this team, can you describe how the team came together during the playoff run?
JASON WILLIAMS: I don't think we came together during the playoff run; I think we came together throughout the whole season. We had injuries and you guys doubting us, saying we couldn't come together as a team and Pat never let us listen to you guys and never let us believe that. We took it one game at a time and do what we got to do.
Q. Coach Riley has said that he felt your team really jelled during the playoffs. How did you see that?
JASON WILLIAMS: I think that's pretty accurate. Pat is a great guy to play for, especially if you're a veteran team like we are. He knows how to control us and how to practice us and argue a little bit together or amongst one another. Like I said, we've got to take it one game at a time, and the sky is the limit.
Q. Did you feel any extra responsibility given that going into the game Dwyane wasn't feeling well and there was a chance that he wasn't going to be able to perform that well?
JASON WILLIAMS: Not really. I just wanted to come out and try to do what I always try to do, be aggressive and knock down open shots, and luckily they were falling for me tonight.
Q. How much has your attitude changed since early on in your career?
JASON WILLIAMS: I still really don't care about much, man, just like early in my career. But it's winning time.
My other two teams I've been on I didn't realistically think we had a chance to win a championship. Now being down here with all these guys, that's been our goal from day one.
Q. You and Shaq are constantly talking on the floor. It seems like he's always telling you where he wants the ball or could get the ball in certain situations. What did you guys talk about today and how much did you notice out of him that he was ready to have a big performance to make up for Dwyane not being 100 percent?
JASON WILLIAMS: It's something that you guys I don't think see. When he walks in the arena on game night, you can just tell what kind of game he's going to play or what kind of game he wants to play just by his attitude and the way he's talking to people. I'm not saying he's coming in cussing people out but you can tell by his demeanor and the way he acts that he's ready to play.
I wish that was the score.
Separate names with a comma.