ECF Practice Day Interviews May 26 2007

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  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day

    May 26, 2007

    Anderson Varejao



    Q. Rasheed Wallace, I was asking him about the battles you two have, and he said you're too young to have battles. Do you think you're too young or can you do it with him?

    Anderson Varejao: Rasheed Wallace can say whatever he wants to say. I'm going to keep doing my job. I don't care how young I am. I'm just going to keep trying to help the team and do my job.



    Q. What do you think of his comments about flopping?

    Anderson Varejao: Like I said, he can say whatever he wants to say. I'm not going to listen to him. I'm going to keep doing my work and help the team.



    Q. Zydrunas was just joking around, he says, yeah, we just ask him not to flop at practice.

    Anderson Varejao: Yeah, they do that, but I think he likes to do that.



    Q. Do you think you're getting a reputation for that, the flopping? Do you think that that's becoming something that people are labeling you as, as far as the way you defend?

    Anderson Varejao: I don't know. Like I said, my team just tries to be in good position all night, to take a charge. Maybe sometimes I exaggerate on the charge and that's why they keep saying that.

    Like I said, I'm not going to change my game.



    Q. You seem like you're getting under Rasheed's skin, though.

    Anderson Varejao: Well, I feel like I have to guard him, I have to guard him all the time, so that's why we have a lot of things going on between me and him.



    Q. How tough is it to guard this guy, Rasheed?

    Anderson Varejao: He's really good. He's really good. He's tough, he can hit big shots. He's a really good player. He's got a lot of experience. I think he's one of the big keys for them.



    Q. How often do you get your haircut?

    Anderson Varejao: Every month.



    Q. Do you do it during the playoffs?

    Anderson Varejao: No. During the playoffs it's just basketball.
     
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day
    May 26, 2007

    Donyell Marshall


    Q. When Mike goes with the shooters, is that hard to match up with as a team?

    Donyell Marshall: I think it's hard because it's pick your poison. You know, LeBron is so good at getting to the basket, I think if you look at the way Detroit -- the way they've been trying to sag it in on him, we're out there in the games and we're making baskets and you have to decide what you want to give up; you can either take us away, then he can get to the basket a lot easier, or you want to pack it in and he's such a good passer he's going to kick it out so one of us three can put up a shot.



    Q. Is this round more physical than last round?

    Donyell Marshall: Definitely. This is the Eastern Conference Finals. That's what you've got to expect.



    Q. Is it physical enough do you think?

    Donyell Marshall: I think we are. I think we just weren't ready for it. We just had to get used to it and know that this is their territory. They've been here five years in a row, this is our first time here. They knew what to expect right away. We didn't know what to expect, but I think we're definitely prepared for it now. They hit us a couple times, we know we've got to try to stop that. They're like bullies. They're going to keep messing with you until you hit back, and that's what we're going to have to do, we're going to have to hit back.



    Q. How much of a factor tomorrow night will it be in this building, having a home-court advantage?

    Donyell Marshall: It's going to be a great crowd. I think that this is something they haven't experienced in 15 years. They're going to be ready. I think you guys did a good job of putting in the paper about how loud it was in Detroit, so hopefully a lot of people read that and they're ready to match that energy.

    When you're down or the game is close, that really helps the players. Maybe when we're getting tired in the fourth quarter or something, our crowd gives us the energy we need, so we're going to definitely need it.



    Q. The first eight minutes of the third quarter in both games, what have you noticed?

    Donyell Marshall: They've come out, they've played more physical. I think that's probably when they played the most physical. Everyone talks about the end of the game, but I thought third quarter is when they played the most physical. I guess that's them used to being in that atmosphere. They picked us up full court, they tried to take the ball out of our hands, they just did different things. I think that's why you have a series and you've got to make some adjustments. We watched a lot of tape of both third periods, and I think we're prepared for it.



    Q. Do you think you should be up 2-0?

    Donyell Marshall: It can go either way. I definitely think we should be, or at the worst I think we should be at least 1 and 1, but we're not. We were in this situation last year and we know how to come back from it, and we're going to continue to fight. We feel confident, and we're going to be that way until the series is over one way or another.



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Donyell Marshall: I don't know if it is, but I mean, obviously that's the way we're going to approach it. We know we can't get down 3-0 to these guys. They have a killer instinct, and we've got to go out there and just keep playing. We know this is a very important game for us confidence-wise and everything, so we're going to go in there and....



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Donyell Marshall: It is because you never know who's going to explode. You never know who's going to come out and play to try to help the team. I've known Rasheed for a long time. He's always been that way. He's an exciting player to watch. I think if he really wanted to, he could have been all-star many times over. He could have definitely been a superstar in this league. He's a good player. We've just got to try to do our best to make sure his energy level doesn't get better in the fourth quarter.



    Q. Are you familiar with his personality?

    Donyell Marshall: Off the court he's a good dude. I think a lot of people wrote about some of the things he's done off the court, and that always doesn't -- is not a person's personality.

    Like I said, I've known Rasheed since he was about in the tenth grade and we've talked off and on since then, and every time me and him get together we talk and joke. He's a good guy. He's actually very laid back, a family guy and stuff like that. You know, we just like to have fun and play basketball. I think a lot of people look at the technicals and stuff like that, but he's a passionate guy and he wants to win. Sometimes when you're emotional like that, sometimes you're going to get techs. But I think that's the way he likes to play the game and the emotion he has for the game.



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Donyell Marshall: I mean, we're all different in our own sense. We're all different. It's just how much are we willing to let you guys see. That's what it really is. We're all different. Some people aren't able to keep it to theirselves. He doesn't care. He's going to let you see him to the fullest.



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Donyell Marshall: Well, I think coming home is going to help regardless. Even if we were up 2-0 coming home it would have helped. We've been on the road the last two games, and we just want to come home and get the crowd and have some fun and have some excitement. I don't think it has anything to do us and them. It has something to do with all of us. We want to come home and let them experience with us in this arena something that hasn't been experienced in years.
     
  3. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day
    May 26, 2007

    LeBron James


    Q. I know this is kind of broad but is there anything specific you need to do better to put you over the edge? What would it be?

    LeBron James: Be a little bit more aggressive attacking the rim in the third quarter, not put so many jumpers, not allowing their defensive intensity to speed us up on the offense.



    Q. How much more physical is this round than last round?

    LeBron James: It's about the same honestly. We had a very physical run against New Jersey, a little bit more than we expected, but we kind of took it for what it was. About the same.



    Q. Do you think you guys are physical enough to come back --

    LeBron James: Definitely, definitely.



    Q. You came back last year 0-2 to the Pistons. Of course that was in the semifinals. But the experience there, was there any different feeling you had going into this third game besides --

    LeBron James: We've been here before. That's the best thing that can happen to us right now is we've been in this position before, so we know how to react to it. Being down 0-2, never being in that position before we wouldn't know what to do, so we've been here before so we should know what to do and how to catch them.



    Q. Last year when D-Wade was in The Finals with Detroit, you and he talked. Has he talked with you, and if so, what have you guys talked about?

    LeBron James: We've definitely talked about the course of the playoffs before the playoffs started, good luck to each other, and since he's been home and rehabbing, basketball highlights, injuries going, and he was able to get successful surgery on his shoulder and stuff like that, and he's just telling me play as hard as possible and lead my team to victory. He's definitely given me some pointers.



    Q. Is there anything he's given you specifically that you think has worked for you?

    LeBron James: Well, basically just trying to be more aggressive against Detroit's defense. They're definitely a team where you definitely hold the ball, so just try to score more in early offense and not allow them to set up.



    Q. What kind of advice would LeBron give right now?

    LeBron James: Shoot the ball every time, I guess. He doesn't give good advice all the time.



    Q. Talk a little bit more about how successful Rasheed is when he comes in to help on you. What does he do when he comes in as a second guy?

    LeBron James: He's very active, and definitely he helps the guys that's guarding on the ball. He's a great outside defender. He's very long so you try to attack him, he's very capable of moving his feet and sliding and getting some good shots blocked. He's definitely a big part of the defensive scheme.



    Q. Talk about the impact you might need from the crowd tomorrow night.

    LeBron James: Our crowd knows how important they are going to be tomorrow. They should come in with a lot of energy, and we look forward to seeing our fans tomorrow night.



    Q. Besides even the crowd, what helps you playing at home in a game like this?

    LeBron James: You're always a little more comfortable at home. We should have no excuses coming out tomorrow with a lot of energy, attacking early and attacking late.
     
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day
    May 26, 2007

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas


    Q. (Inaudible).

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: I think the biggest thing is we're a great home team. We had a great regular season here at home. We're confident that we can get it done, but it won't be easy. Just because we're at home we can't think we don't have to show up. If we do that, we can easily be down three before we know it.



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: I think he's learning as he goes on. He's going through this process for the first time, the Conference Finals. This is our first time as a team. Some of the guys have been here before but with a different team. None of us played this late into the season with this team, so I think we're all learning as we go.

    We like where we are. We know that we're down 0-2 but we had a shot to win each of those games. Hopefully we can take care of business here at home.



    Q. (Inaudible).

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: I think just maybe relax a little bit and just play his game. It doesn't matter. He's such a threat whether he's scoring or not because of the attention that he draws. I think we as a team have not done a good job of capitalizing how much attention he gets to himself. We could do a better job getting better shots and stuff like that. So hopefully we'll do a better job on Sunday.



    Q. Have you noticed the growth that he has shown as a leader? Is that tangible?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Yeah, this whole year. He's 22, you know, and I remember myself at that age (laughing). I have a lot of respect for him because I've seen him come from a high school kid four years ago and grow into this and everything he had to go through, all the pressure, media. So I'm proud of him for what he is.



    Q. It's Rasheed's contention that Andy flops. When you watch him, how do you respond to that?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Andy is hard to play against. You know, he's a tough kid and he keeps on coming. Sometimes he looks like he just got shot (laughter). But he's tough to play against. I played against him for four years in practice and there were some days I wanted to kill him because I was so frustrated. So I know what the opposing team goes through because he goes a lot harder in the game than in practice.

    But you know, he's a very big part of this team, what he does. In the last three years that we've had him here we won a lot of games like that, where he ends up playing over there, a lot of games for us in here.

    I would hate to play against him, but I love having him on my team.



    Q. Does he flop in practice?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: If you ask him, he'll say no. But we ask him not to do it because (Inaudible). Like I said, he goes 100 miles an hour and there's no stopping. That's why he's so valuable for us.



    Q. People see that this is a physical series, but what's it like actually being out there? Are you left with bruises, welts? What's happening to you that's physical?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Well, I think at this point everybody is a little beat up body-wise, but these guys are, like I said, physical, but I like it because nobody likes to be calling fouls and stopping every 30 seconds, especially in the fourth quarter.

    But you do feel a little bit more beat up after these kind of games. That's to be expected.



    Q. Did you ever have any games in Europe that were in the 70s?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: (Laughing) Sometimes. We didn't play 48 minutes, we played 40, so the scoring wasn't as big.



    Q. Is this to you kind of an interesting phenomenon, like every point is so important?

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas: That's kind of what it's been like if you look at our history with Detroit. We always have been in the 80s and 70s even during the regular season because I think both teams are good defensive teams, both teams run a half-court offense, and by now we know how each other play so it's hard to score.
     
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day
    May 26, 2007

    Larry Hughes


    Q. (Inaudible).

    Larry Hughes: Not really. It's one of those things where I wish I could have looked at the shot if I knew I had a little bit more time. But for the most part I just wanted to -- I didn't know how much time was left, so I wanted to get back up on the board. Not really.



    Q. It was kind of an awkward angle.

    Larry Hughes: I mean, I caught it, and like I say, I caught it with like five seconds, and I knew we had took it down pretty late in the clock. I definitely could have got a better look, but I think -- I had a chance to put the ball back in the basket.



    Q. You're playing good defense, but is that enough for you? Not just the team but for you because your offense has struggled the first two games?

    Larry Hughes: I mean, it's not enough. It's definitely not enough. Just trying to look at the different opportunities I have to score the ball and make shots, and it's not as fluid as I want it to be. I can just continue to try to work and figure it out, but it's not -- I'm focused on the strong points, really, so I have to get things in transition and get things on the swing.

    I think I just need to be a little bit more patient and concentrate a little bit more. We're definitely taking a lot of shots in practice and warm-ups, so I have to just keep working at it.



    Q. Have you done things to look at your stroke on tape or are you just trying to work through it?

    Larry Hughes: You just work through it. Last game I took four jump shots, and one was at the end and everything else was going to the basket, just didn't get the calls. I shot 2-for-9, and I definitely could have shot a lot better than that.



    Q. (Inaudible)?

    Larry Hughes: No, we definitely just watched game film. I'm not really focused on the offensive side as much because I'm not hurting the team but I'm not helping the team. I'm not forcing things, I'm not taking bad shots, but at the same time, shots that I take could go in and we're in better position. So I definitely have to do more to take better shots when I get them.



    Q. Have you been able to put the bad games of last series out of your mind? Is that still bothering you at all do you think?

    Larry Hughes: No, I think they're gone. I didn't shoot the ball well throughout the series, but I did enough as far as getting to the free-throw line and making some timely shots here and there. It was Game 5 where I struggled putting the ball in the basket, but other than that, I'm fine with what's going on. Game 6 I wasn't too concerned because we made subs and the subs played well, so there wasn't a lot of opportunity to bring the percentage up or to shoot better.

    I'm looking at everything, trying to stop watching basketball tape and trying to break things down until we're done. Before then I've just got to keep working to find out how I can do better and help the team win.
     
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS

    CLEVELAND, OHIO: Practice Day
    May 26, 2007

    Coach Mike Brown



    Q. The guys seemed very happy at practice today. There's certainly no nerves or tension detectable.

    Coach Mike Brown: That's true. There's no tension. We're not nervous. We're confident and ready to play.



    Q. Could that be because of what happened last year when you lost your first two and came back and won three in a row perhaps?

    Coach Mike Brown: Well, maybe it could because we've experienced this in the past. But it's a confident group anyway, and I think just with us being a confident group, you really -- no need to panic or no sense of time -- time to panic.



    Q. Is this a must-win game, Game 3?
    Coach Mike Brown: Game 1 was must-win, Game 2 was must-win, Game 3, you're right, it's must-win (laughter).



    Q. Talk about Game 2, you were very upset. How do you try to regain your -- your calming down because obviously that was a very pivotal situation and you were very upset with that.

    Coach Mike Brown: I thought I was pretty calm yesterday during the media, and I'm calm now. It is what it is. The game is over, they beat us, and now we've got to get ready to lace them up and try to get out there in order for Game 3. It's going to be tough for us.



    Q. How much more physical is this round than last round, and do you think you guys are responding physically?

    Coach Mike Brown: Yeah, New Jersey was physical with us. They shrunk the floor, made it tough for us to score. The difference is that the Detroit Pistons have been here before. They know what they can do and can't do in terms of doing certain things on the floor to you. There's a lot of things that they do which you do maybe if you're in high school and you're playing against your brother in junior high for the first time and you know exactly when to hold and when to grab and how to set a screen or exactly when to cut, you know, just little subtle things that don't necessarily stick out a lot. They're very, very, very good at it because they've been this late and they've got the experience at this point for being this late in the playoffs.



    Q. Plus Rasheed is a little harder to handle than Mikki Moore just because of his size?

    Coach Mike Brown: Yeah, that size standpoint. Mikki Moore is a solid player. You can't even compare the two because Rasheed is a great player. Obviously, yeah, the talent level, personnel is different from the Nets and the Pistons. The Nets have three terrific perimeter players and some good other players, and the Pistons have three terrific perimeter players and a lot of terrific post players. So the talent is different, too.



    Q. Did you or someone from your team call the League and complain about the calls or --

    Coach Mike Brown: I don't ever do that, even during the regular season I don't do that. That's something that Danny does from time to time, so you would have to check to see if he did it or not, but I did not go to Danny and say, hey, Danny, you've got to do this. I yelled at him a little bit coming off the floor to get some frustrations out.



    Q. I heard about that.

    Coach Mike Brown: Yeah, it was fun.



    Q. You are normally a calm guy, when you watch the game film and see yourself, do you think, oh, my God, I did that, or do you think, yeah, that's where I was at that moment?

    Coach Mike Brown: Yeah, that's where I was at that time, and the refs we had were great veteran officials. That's just emotions during the game and at the end of the game. That's all it was.



    Q. Do you think that there's a danger with Anderson sometimes that maybe he tries to oversell certain things, because he's so energetic, that maybe that could be misinterpreted?

    Coach Mike Brown: Yeah, it could, especially the way the foreigners play the game as opposed to the Americans. A lot of times -- not just that, they're emotional players, and they react differently to a lot of situations. That's Andy. That's Andy.

    Obviously in situations like that, we've just got to go take the game, and that's what we've got to do.



    Q. After the few years he's been here, how much of an entity is his hair unto its own?

    Coach Mike Brown: I'll tell you what, I was walking to get something to eat last night, and a group of high school girls came running up to me, and they played sports and they were really excited, cute little girls, and they said everybody -- one of them is like, hey, tell LeBron -- everybody wants me to tell LeBron something, but then the next word out of their mouths was, "oh, my gosh, Andy, he is so gorgeous. Tell Andy I love his hair." So I asked the little girl what's your name, and she said Ann or something like that, and I said, Ann, when I see Andy tomorrow, I'm going to go up to Andy tomorrow and say, Ann says she loves your hair and you're gorgeous.

    So it's always LeBron first, and then, oh, Andy ooh. I guess because Sasha is starting to play good somebody said Sasha's name, too.



    Q. But he doesn't have the hair.

    Coach Mike Brown: No, he doesn't, but he's got that cool smoothness about him that I think they like.



    Q. Did you have high school girls run up to you when you were in high school?

    Coach Mike Brown: No (laughter). I never did when I had hair. Now that I don't, they just want me to do something for them. I tricked my wife.



    Q. Sorry to get this back to basketball, but when they make the pushes they do at the start of the third and you're forced to use that early time-out, what does that do to a team to kind of set you back on your heels when that happens coming out of the locker room?

    Coach Mike Brown: They're a great third quarter team. You know, we're an okay third quarter team, but the one thing that we know is they're going to come out and they're going to come out aggressively on both ends of the floor. It's a Catch-22 because you want to try to take a time-out to stem the tide a little bit, and sometimes it's like if you take it too quick your players are like, hey, let's get a couple baskets, we're good, we're playing with confidence. So it's a fine line in terms of when to take the time-out and how you take it and what you say to the guys in the huddle.

    I knew they were going to keep pushing and keep pushing, so I tried to burn a couple to see if we could get them to slow down and come back out less aggressive than what they were, and it didn't work, they just kept it on us.



    Q. Is it their level of aggression more than them doing something different?

    Coach Mike Brown: They didn't do anything play-wise, they didn't trick us. They just came out and got in our chests and they had us on our heels and they got in the passing lanes and denied the passes and picked up full court, and offensively you could see the difference.
    Early in the third quarter Chauncey comes off a pin-down, and Chauncey is a set-up guy for most of the games until late in the ballgame, but he knew they were down 12, he knew he played well in that second quarter, he knew if we had momentum in that third quarter and got more separation, the way we played defense that might be tougher. It wouldn't mean they couldn't come back, but it would be tougher for them to come back on us the way we played then. So he came out and he was aggressive from jump street. He came off that pin-down, did not hesitate and rose up and shot it.

    Another time he got a steal or a turnover and he pushed the ball right into three defenders' teeth and he kicked it to Rip, and right away Rip shot it. So that type of basketball, they played with a sense of urgency, and we didn't respond well to it.



    Q. Is that the biggest difference with the inexperience factor is that they know how to take it to that, whereas you guys are still trying to learn how to deal with that?

    Coach Mike Brown: That has something to do with them playing together and being in the Eastern Conference Finals and winning a championship. I think you go through those types of games and you get yourself put in those situations and being together as long as they've been, then you start knowing how to handle the situation whether you're down or you're up and you know when to turn it on even if you're playing at a high level. Because they were playing at a high level, but even to take yourself to a level that you didn't think you could get to, they're capable of doing that.



    Q. You maybe had gone to your small lineup occasionally, but I know you don't really like to do that because of the match-ups on defense. Do you not want to go to that line-up (Inaudible)?

    Coach Mike Brown: I went to it the other night, and we played fairly well in the second quarter, and the third quarter we started out, they shrunk the floor, we had some looks at threes, we didn't knock them down, and we started out a little bit in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, and that's why I ended up going back to our starters, to try to win the game for us.



    Q. But you'd prefer not to have to do that, right?

    Coach Mike Brown: Well, what it turns into if we're not careful, it can turn into a jump-shooting lineup. Whichever one it could be, I still like those guys and those guys are capable of doing it. I still like us to be able to attack the rim and drive and kick and so on and so forth. The only post-up presence we have there with that line-up is LeBron, and at times if the match-up is right, Donyell can post and Andy can post, but I'm not used to calling in and force feeding those guys on the post and they're not used to getting force fed on the post.

    It's a young, different lineup that neither do I have a ton of experience with nor do they have a ton of experience with playing together on the floor. That's what it boils down to.
     
  7. DirtyMoney

    DirtyMoney First Round Draft Pick

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    Wow, the team actually admits that Verayho flops(looks like he's been shot).
     

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