Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by roscoe36, May 30, 2006.
Better late than never, 98% complete Game 4 Postgame Press Interviews
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
2006 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Detroit - 78
Miami - 89
May 29, 2006
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
Q. Obviously you guys are the least penalized team this year in foul trouble. How much did the foul trouble play into this game, especially after third quarter after you made that run and then you lost Ben and Rasheed for a while?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, I thought we finally got to a point where we were extremely active defensively, and those are two of our better front court defenders. When those guys are out in that situation, there's no question it hurt us. You can't play on the road and have one team shoot with a minute to go in the game, they shot 47 free throws and you've shot 18. You're just not going to have a chance.
Q. Obviously you guys are down 3-1 in the series. How do you convince the guys it's not over, that they can rally back from this deficit?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, one, they've been there. I think the number one thing is we've got to -- right now it's similar to where we were -- one game more than we were in Cleveland. Every game now becomes almost like an NCAA tournament game. We just have to understand that we're going home and our crowd is hopefully going to give us that adrenaline push. As I said, strange things happen. One play can change a game, one game can change a series. Basically what we've got to do is come up with that play at home and try to change the series.
Q. You guys kept it close throughout most of the game, even took the lead for a little while there. But towards the end of the game did you sense an air of resignation with the team because of some things that were out of their control, maybe out of their hands?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think more than anything, we didn't play very good the first half, and when you struggle a lot and you're grinding and grinding and things aren't coming easy, it wears on you. We got into a situation where we just couldn't get up over the hump. We had the four-point lead, Tay had an open 3, could have pushed it to seven, could have changed the whole momentum of the game, but we never got in a situation where we could totally grab control.
Wade was phenomenal. He didn't have a lot of open looks. When he's got contested shots and he's going up, you say that's a pretty good contest and he was nailing shots. I think with a minute to go and you're down 11 it's going to be pretty tough to come back.
I thought our guys fought hard. The way the first half was going, it would have been very easy to bail out. They didn't, they fought hard, and I think we did some good things we can use for next game.
Q. You mentioned Dwyane Wade making tough shots. How was he able to take over the game in the fourth quarter?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, the shot he made out of the corner with the shot clock coming down, and the shot -- getting fouled at the end of the third quarter to get the two free throws, that put them up two, those are shots that are demoralizing from the standpoint that you play good defense for 22 seconds and then he makes an unbelievable play.
I said going into the game, we talked about -- I told him how many points he had last time, he had seven, eight plays and shots that he made that he just made because of his athleticism. I thought our guys overall, we did a pretty good job at times of not giving him open looks. He right now is on an unbelievable roll. What he's shooting from the field -- he had a couple layups that they were out of our offense. So he's making unbelievable plays right now.
Q. Continuing on the Dwyane Wade theme, now what on the defensive front?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, we did a better job -- like I said, we did a good job. We had opportunities. There's no question that in the third when our big guys started picking up fouls -- I think we did some changes on their defense, changing defenses that helped us out a little bit, got us back into the game, but we just didn't have enough juice to finish it off. Like I said, you just have to keep on going and hope that at some point you're going to put enough pressure on Dwyane that those shots aren't going to go in. Last time he played in our place he had nine turnovers. I think we're going to have to rely on that as far as getting into a better rhythm at home and being more aggressive.
Q. How big a boost was it for you guys as well as Miami played in the first half, you guys only go in at halftime six. You guys really came out big in the second half.
FLIP SAUNDERS: There was no question. I didn't think we played very well. They were very energized, they had something to do with that, but we missed a lot of shots. We hung in there and Billups and Wallace had one bucket between them. We felt pretty good at that point. We made a good run. We did some good things, and there's no question that being plagued by fouls as far as Chauncey, Sheed, Ben, McDyess, those four guys definitely because they're four important guys, three of our top players up front, Chauncey runs the show. Like I said, we've got to take some things we did well and work on them and do them better and do what we've got to do, take care of business at home and keep on stretching the series. We knew after we lost our first game we were going to have to try to get a game in Miami. We had two opportunities and didn't get it done.
Q. Confident you're coming back here?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I feel we're coming back here. There's no reason we shouldn't go back and play well at home. Like I said, I was proud how hard our guys came out and did some things in the third quarter, fourth quarter. You have to exert so much energy sometimes and you just don't have enough to finish up. That's what's hurt us sometimes. We've fallen behind in games, fought back, taken leads, but all of a sudden there's no energy there to finish it off.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. Have you guys ever been in a spot this tight?
ANTONIO McDYESS: No, our backs are against the wall definitely. You want the definition of backs against the wall; 3-1. That tells it all. They definitely outplayed us. There wasn't nothing we could do. Seemed like we tried to cut the lead, just couldn't ever get over the hump.
Q. Wade has had a lot of big scoring games throughout this season, but it seems like in the fourth quarter in particular, he really seems to take control.
ANTONIO McDYESS: They look to go to him every time. He always answers for them. We trapped him, tried to get the ball out of his hands. He'll make plays for other guys -- their whole team is definitely doing the job stepping up. When he's not scoring, everybody else, other people just seem to take over. We just ain't doing what we're supposed to do.
Q. You guys have always been a very confident team in overcoming diversity and things like that. Where is this team now in that aspect?
ANTONIO McDYESS: That's going to be the challenge here. Going back home right now, this will definitely be our challenge to see if we can do it, see what we're made of now, going home 3-1. That's going to tell the tale. How we respond off of this is going to tell it all.
Q. When you said it feels like there's nothing we can do, are you guys at the point where you almost feel helpless a little bit?
ANTONIO McDYESS: What I mean is you're going to the basket, you're either going to get a foul or he's going to make a shot. You breathe on him, foul, get away from him, he'll make a shot. It could go either way. I mean, whatever you do, it don't matter, he's going to make the play, or if he goes to the bucket they're going to give him a foul regardless. Sometimes you do feel that way because you can't really play physical with him.
Q. How much does that take away from you guys?
ANTONIO McDYESS: Oh, no question, you see the fouls. It seemed like I looked around on the bench and everybody was in foul trouble. That's ridiculous for this team. You try to play physical and you get a foul. What is there for us to do?
Q. What was said in here at halftime?
ANTONIO McDYESS: You know, same old stuff. I mean, we knew what we needed to do, come out, trap the ball. We just had a strategy what we needed to do and stick to it, get the ball out of Wade's hands, contain Shaq, and just pick up the offense, and we did. We did exactly what we were supposed to do and what he told us when we came out for the third quarter and were feeling good about ourselves, but we just couldn't get over the hump.
Q. Was it mostly all players talking in here, or was it mostly Flip?
ANTONIO McDYESS: Oh, everyone. Everybody was on the same page. I can't say we weren't on the same page. Everyone was on the same page. You know, like I said, they just outplayed us tonight. They definitely outplayed us.
Q. How much of a difference do you think Flip made between Game 3 and Game 4?
ANTONIO McDYESS: Big difference.
Q. How so?
ANTONIO McDYESS: Like before we went on the same page, seemed like everyone didn't know what to do. But I think Game 4 is where we all was on the same page. We came out, we're supposed to trap, get the ball out of Wade's hands, run the pick-and-rolls how we're supposed to run the plays he put in, and we did it all like he told us to. There wasn't no sense in not doing it because we did, and we just came up short. Like I said, they outplayed us, man. There's nothing you can say about that.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. The disparity in the fouls, how much did that hurt you guys tonight?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Man, I thought it hurt us a lot. We came out, closed the gap, got the game where it was kind of nip and tuck after that first half. I thought it made a difference, but it is what it is, man.
Q. You guys have been down 3-1 before but maybe not against a team of this caliber. Talk about how much fight is left in you guys and the task at hand?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: We have a lot of fight. We have been down 3-1 before, not against a team as good as the Heat, though. They're playing great, man. You've got to give it to them. They're playing great ball. They're great players, playing phenomenal. The other guys are chipping in pretty well. The bottom line is we're going home. We're a great home team, and we've got to get one game. We've got to look at it as a one-game series the rest of the way. We've got to play one game and then think about the next one. If we don't focus in on that one game, then the season will be over.
Q. How much do you guys want to come back here? You guys are flying back home, but it would be real nice to be back here for a Game 6?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: No question about it. Like I said, we can't even think about Friday right now. We've got to think about Wednesday, you know, because if we don't and we don't put everything we have into Wednesday, there won't be a Friday. Our whole focus right now is to worry about Wednesday's game and just go out and leave everything on the court.
Q. Ud has only had two points in the first two games combined and now he's had 10. Is there anything he's doing differently and getting more looks?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, he's getting looks. He's getting looks by design. We've got to help and double team on Shaq, and we have to give something up, and he's doing a good job of knocking those shots down right now, so he's just not open for no reason. You know, we're helping, doing a lot of helping and scrambling. He's the one that a lot of times is getting the looks. He's doing a good job of knocking them down.
Q. Talk about the start, how you guys got kind of rocked early. I mean, for such an important game, how did that transpire? They were just hot?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: They came out, and I thought we came out and played with a lot of energy. But they was hot. They had it going, and we wasn't. We was running our plays, running our sets, and the ball wasn't going down for us. You look at how we played the second half, and we still ended up shooting 39 percent or whatever. They came out and they just were on fire early in the game. We thought that they would try to make a run early in the game, and with this being a big, big game and them being at home, and they did that, and we just couldn't come back until the second part of the second quarter when we closed the game. We played as bad as we could possibly play and were down six at the end of the first half. I think that's encouraging.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
DALE DAVIS: There's no tomorrow for us. I mean, we've got to go on a game-by-game basis, and with the next game coming up, just focus on that and leave everything out on the court.
Q. What turned the game around in your mind when you were up six and all of a sudden you were down 12?
DALE DAVIS: Well, I thought we had good momentum, especially in that third quarter. You have to give them credit. They made some good plays during that run to kind of cool us off a little bit, but it was a bang-bang game. Even though we didn't play well throughout for 48 minutes, we had good signs, and the main thing right now is just regrouping and getting ready for the next game.
Q. You guys got really physical in the paint tonight. Is that just part of the plan and something you've got to keep going when you get back to Detroit?
DALE DAVIS: I mean, it's playoff basketball. Of course we definitely wanted to win tonight. You know, it's going to be physical, no question about it. We're down now, our backs are pretty much against the wall, and usually when that happens, we respond. So we look forward to the next game.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: We did a good job starting the third quarter off, played a little bit of zone here and there, confused them a little bit. I thought we kind of stayed in the zone a little bit too long. After they called a time-out, they kind of got adjusted to what we were doing. But that doesn't matter, Wade, Shaq, they're still shooting at a high percentage. If they continue to shoot the way we're shooting, we don't have a chance. But as poorly as we played in the first half, to be down six points was -- it was pretty good in our situation. We closed the first half off on a good note. If it wasn't for our bench players, we wouldn't have had a chance at all tonight. I thought Dale and Lindsey did a miraculous job. At the time we were down 10, 12, during the game at a crucial point in the game and they made plays. Obviously just a tough situation, down 3-1 now. For us right now it's a situation where we've just got to play every game like it's our last. That's the only chance that we have, and that's it.
Q. How demoralizing is the loss?
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: I mean, it's tough. Like I told you guys last time after we lost the last game, we've put ourselves in this situation so many times, being down, going up in the series and then the other team coming back and taking advantage in the series, obviously it's catching up with us. But like I said, it's not over. We've got to take it one game at a time. Obviously we've got to take care of our home court coming up here and can't worry about anything else other than that.
Q. You guys have always been able to finish the job. You made good runs in the second half to get back into position and then faded a bit. What do you see?
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: We played great getting back into the game, Chauncey taking us there in the third, made plays, doing things real well, kind of confusing them a little bit, just there for a little bit in the third quarter giving ourselves a chance to get back into the game. And then here we go, Shaq gets a basket, Wade gets a basket, shooting 50 free throws. I mean, that's a tough situation for us already. Rasheed in foul trouble, Chauncey in foul trouble, Ben in foul trouble. Everything was happening bad for us, but we still had our opportunities. I thought Payton hit the biggest shot of the game there, the three he hit. Udonis Haslem had a terrific game. They had guys step up.
Q. You guys forced 15 turnovers but just two fast break points. Is that maybe one area where you'd like to exploit in this series, maybe gain an advantage?
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: We had two fast break points, we're not getting the job done. They got 15 turnovers, we've got to do a better job than just two points. We should be in the double digits as far as the fast break points. But those things happen. I mean, the most important thing, like I said, we need to do is find a way to not let them shoot 55, 57. Once again, I think in the first half, they was closer to 60 than anything. That's the stuff we have to stop.
Q. Right or wrong, there's a lot of sentiment that you're not on the same page with Flip and there's some fracturing. How accurate is it?
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: We can't worry about what's going on in that situation. I thought we did a great job of going out and playing basketball, but people have saw the toughness on the defensive end that we bring all the time hasn't been there lately. But I haven't had any problem with Flip, and I don't think any of the other players have had any problems with Flip. We just go out and try to win game. Miami is playing better. That's the problem more than anything.
Q. Is the defense really that bad, or is Miami just making incredible shots because you guys are only giving up in the mid 80s every game.
TAYSHAUN PRINCE: Well, Dwyane Wade is hitting tough shots when he's going to the basket or he's hitting jump shots consistently in this series, so he's shooting at a high percentage. Obviously the Shaquille O'Neal situation when he gets in the paint, so those two guys, it's tough to keep them under 50 percent. That's why it's so important that the guys that everybody else is guarding have to try to keep them under their percentages and things like that. Like I said, still, at the same time, we've got to find a way to keep Shaq and Dwyane from shooting at a high pace like they are.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
COACH PAT RILEY
Q. You've coached pretty much Magic, coached against Jordan when he was rolling. Have you ever seen a guy on a roll like Dwyane Wade?
PAT RILEY: Well, he's playing extremely well with every single ounce of energy that he brings and his talent is huge. I could not give him a rest in the second half. I just didn't feel comfortable taking him out. No, I've never -- to answer your question, he's right there. He's special.
Q. What about Udonis tonight and James Posey and the veteran G.P., what they did tonight.
PAT RILEY: Well, we came with a lot of energy to start the game, the whole message the last two days was to attack, attack, attack. Four losses that we've had in the playoffs have all come after games where we played extremely well offensively, or two players had 60 points like they did the other night, so there was always some kind of let-down. We just wanted to attack defensively, attack offensively. Ud was sort of the X factor tonight making some big buckets coming off rebounds, and I thought James was sort of all over the place. He was, like, projectile, and just created a lot of motion and had an impact. Udonis and Pose really helped us a lot.
Q. It looked like in the beginning of the third quarter things were slipping away, they erased a 14-point deficit and took the lead. What did you say to your team to get them to regroup at that point?
PAT RILEY: We were a little bit running past ourselves in the first half. I mean, there was so much energy being expended. We had 23 free throw attempts, only hit 14 of them. We shot 56 percent. We were playing extremely well, and they shot 38 percent, and we looked up at halftime and we were only ahead by six. I thought the last two minutes of the first half was a downer for us, gave them some life, and they went to the zone. They went to the zone in the third quarter and we tried to attack the zone very methodically instead of just getting the ball up the court quickly and trying to find seams and gaps and trying to drive the ball. It took six or seven minutes not to figure it out but to get some more energy back. They came out making a lot of shots.
We got down 57-53, and just like the other night, when they cut it to one, they gathered themselves and made a couple and went ahead by five or six and then it was eight and then it was ten.
Q. Even though it was a pretty complete game of second chance games, there was an edge 20 to 4. How are you going to counteract that?
PAT RILEY: Well, we have to block out. We have to pursue the ball. I think they definitely have figured out a little bit what we're doing defensively, how we're stunting to their scores, and we're taking our bodies off of their bigs when the ball is in flight to the basket, and we're not getting any what we call second "feels" back into the lane.
Rebounding has been part of this game, and we're very fortunate to overcome that tonight.
Q. A lot of the guys were saying in your pre-game speech to them you talked about unity and coming together. How did you use that?
PAT RILEY: Not really. This team is getting better. The one thing about basketball teams and basketball players, and I don't care if it's during the regular season or the playoffs, is they can't stay the same. You really have to keep moving forward. You have to keep trying to get better, and you have to keep looking at things and just not take for granted the talent as a basketball team. There's no doubt that from the end of the season to the playoffs that we're getting better as a basketball team, and I think last game the guys were feeling good about it, there's a lot of unity in the locker room, and we want one more win.
Q. How did the bowl come into play?
PAT RILEY: We'll keep filling it up with more things. We'll keep filling it up.
Q. What's in there so far?
PAT RILEY: Nothing. It's none of your business, Rachel, one day we'll show you. We just fill it up. It's a symbolic thing for our guys. We have a ritual. It's really about unity. I told you that yesterday.
Q. Given the pattern you mentioned about letdown after a couple guys have great performances, how do you avoid that going into Game 5?
PAT RILEY: Well, now it's the moving out factor, so we want to get the 12 wins, and if we want it, they want to get to the finals, it'll be a first for this franchise. So I think they're hungry and I think we're going to go get it. We have great respect for the Pistons, but I think our hearts are into moving on and we're going to go up to Detroit and try to close them out and move on to the finals.
Q. You have so many motivational sayings, that is your thing, but do you think that Dwyane Wade almost doesn't need motivational sayings, that he has some sort of internal motivation that you've never seen before?
PAT RILEY: Yeah, he listens. Dwyane listens. He listens. I know when he doesn't listen, but he's a great player, he's a good -- he's a great kid, and he's a great player to coach. He listens. Whether or not it motivates him, I don't know, but he listens. I appreciate that.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. The third quarter where you're trying to pull it back and hit the knock-down shots at the line, come in the third quarter and explode; did everything come together exactly how you wanted it to?
ALONZO MOURNING: Well, we just knew that riding the momentum that we had just coming off of Game 3, we wanted to carry that over and just start the game off strong. That was extremely important for us, to try to focus on starting off the game strong because I think just overall, just looking at our performances in the past, when we started a game off strong, then usually bringing that type of energy is carried on throughout the whole game, unlike Game 2 when they jumped right on us and we were playing catch-up for the most part.
But everybody came in and did their jobs. D-Wade and Shaq were spectacular again for us, and when they're playing that way, it's tough to beat us, especially when everybody else is playing their roles and doing what they have to do in order for us to be successful.
Q. You just mentioned at the start of Game 2 aside, you guys have been able to weather all the spurts. What's been the key to that?
ALONZO MOURNING: First of all, it started with the tongue lashing that we got when we came back here. Standing in this room, some of the things that coach said to us was basically a reality check. We need to be a more consistent team. We have the capabilities of doing it, but we haven't won anything yet, and sometimes we get to the point where we just settle. We just settle for where we are, yeah, okay, we went up one, so now it's time to relax. We did our job, we were supposed to go up there and just get one.
No, that can't be our mentality. We haven't won anything yet, and it's important for us to continue to try to get more and take more, take as much as we can until we're hoisting up that championship trophy. That's our main goal when we started this season, and that has been our focus in the decisions that he made before the season even started. The focus was this time of the year and putting ourselves in position to win a championship. He doesn't want to see that opportunity slip away, so he told us some things that was pretty much a wake-up call for us, and we responded. We responded from there, and like I said, everybody collectively is doing their job. D-Wade and Shaq, obviously they're playing spectacular for us, but it's the role playing, the guys coming in and doing their jobs that continues to keep the momentum going for us.
Q. You talked about a clock ticking as soon as a player steps on the court. Is there a sense of urgency with where you're at in your career wanting to win the championship?
ALONZO MOURNING: To tell you the truth, it's not just from my perspective. There should be a sense of urgency from all these guys, even Shaq, because he knows that he was brought here for one reason, and that's to bring the championship to this franchise. Unlike Shaq, everybody else, we don't have any right to even speak about how it feels to win a championship at all because we haven't been there.
Based on our overall approach we're going to turn our hunger toward accomplishing that goal. I think right now our approach has been pretty solid, and we're getting to that level of consistency that we need going into Game 5. This is going to be a very tough game because that team over there has a lot of pride, and I know that it's going to be a dogfight because the last thing they want to do is get closed out on their home court. I expect this to be a very, very tough game for us, and we've got to stay focused and do our jobs on both ends of the court.
Q. Being a veteran club, is anything Pat says motivation-wise necessary, or are you guys just motivated by being one win away from the finals?
ALONZO MOURNING: You know what, yeah, we are veterans, and we know how much it means to be in this position because you have to take advantage of this moment because there's no guarantee that you'll be here again next year. So you need someone like a Pat Riley who has coached the most playoff games in the history of this game, a man that has the experience that he has to give us that constructive criticism and remind us in his own little way how important it is to not be complacent in a situation like this because he's been there; he's been there as a player, he's been there as a coach, he's been there, he's seen it all. Just for him to be there and constantly remind us, this is what we need to do and to keep us on our toes, I think it's needed, regardless of the experience that we have, because we're human. It's human to exhale and relax sometimes, and we've just got to be reminded of the position that we're in and the opportunity that we have in front of us sometimes.
Like I said, he does it in his own subtle, constructive way, but we respond to it because we respect him.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. Pat is such a great motivator. What does it mean to you as a player to be able to play under him?
ANTOINE WALKER: Pat Riley has a lot of years of experience, championship rings, and every game he knows ways to motivate us, and he's a guy that keeps things in black and white. He's going to keep an eye on us and he's going to tell you how you're playing. He's not going to yell at you, but he's going to tell you how things are. That's one of the great things about it. But he is a terrific motivator. Sometimes you leave the locker room and you run into a brick wall, you feel like you can run through a brick wall, and that's one of the great things about it, he's a great motivator.
Q. Pat is going to remind you not to get too high about this win, if he hasn't already. It's easier said than done; how do you do that?
ANTOINE WALKER: Well, I think we're a veteran group. I think we have to understand how we got up 3-1. You've got to understand who we're playing. That team is not going to back down. They're going to come out fighting. They're going to have a lot of confidence. We've got to come out with the same effort that we did tonight. I think we play better when we have a jump on them a little bit early in the game and establish Shaq inside and just continue doing what we've been doing. They're the team right now that needs to make the adjustments, so we have to make sure that we're ready for the adjustments that they're going to make.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. Talk about you knew that they were going to counter tonight and do something different. It seems like early on they tried to get Tayshaun off.
DWYANE WADE: Yeah, they did. He came out very aggressive, something they really wanted to do. He hit some tough shots. They had good defense on them, I thought Antoine did a good job. We stayed with it. We stood everything they threw at us early on and got off to an early lead.
Q. Talk about your mindset going into the fourth quarter. You took over the game after not doing a whole lot in the third quarter.
DWYANE WADE: Well, third quarter they came out very aggressive. We came out with kind of a lack of energy. They were taking me out of the game by doubling teaming me so I was getting off the ball. Fourth quarter I wasn't going to let them do that. I was going to be more aggressive and take the ball to the basket. That was my whole thing. Tonight I tried to get to the rim, and I shot 19 free throws, so that was a sign of aggressiveness.
Q. You know Wednesday night is going to be tough going there. Your mindset, the team's mindset, a chance to close them out?
DWYANE WADE: Just like we've been doing every game, take one game at a time, know that they're going to come out very aggressive. They're a great home team. They'll come out with a lot of energy so we have to come out with our own and take everything they throw at us. Just be there at the end to try to give yourself a chance. We're hoping to get the next one.
Q. Coach Riley has said that he hasn't seen anyone quite like you, that you're very special. Shaq actually mentioned the Magic word. When you hear those things, how do you respond to that? Do you even believe it?
DWYANE WADE: No, not really (laughing). I mean, I'm just a kid inside of me that loves to play the game of basketball, getting the opportunity to on the highest level, and I'm just trying to do my best job at it. Those guys, their names, Magic Johnson is a great player, I'm not even close to that. I've got to win a lot of championships to get there. I'm just a kid in a candy store right now trying to have one. We're one of the best teams in the NBA and I'm getting a chance to show my ability and my talent.
Q. Can you talk about the White Hot experience and what this has been like from a player's perspective to be on that home court?
DWYANE WADE: It's been great. Our fans do a great job. From when I came in my rookie year, not seeing them seats have nobody in them until now before the game starts is truly amazing. They did it great for us. When the Pistons made the run in both Game 3 and Game 4, our crowd was really there to help us. I think they understand how important they are to us, and hopefully we come back and have what they all want, and that's a chance to go to the finals in the next game.
Q. Talk about how important the supporting staff was tonight, the Big U doing his thing, and Posey doing his thing, G.P. hitting big shots. Talk about how important they were tonight and how important they'll be on Wednesday.
DWYANE WADE: They've been important every game. Udonis was really aggressive tonight, finally hit some shots -- to get some shots down the last two games, I think he's shooting about 50 percent the last two games after struggling. They've been big for us. Gary hitting a timely three that we needed. That's what it's all about. It's team ball. You can't win it with one or two or three guys, you've got to win it with eight or nine guys at this time of year. We understand that. That's the way this team is put together, to have the depth to be able to play these games. I'm proud of my guys, but I know they understand that we've still got to finish this series up.
Q. You're a young guy, you'll have what I'm sure you hope to be a good career ahead of you. You have teammates like Zo, Gary Payton, even Shaq that are sort of entering the twilight of their career, and there's this goal to win a championship. Can you sense an overall sense of urgency with the squad?
DWYANE WADE: No question. Like I said before, the guys that you named, Alonzo wears it on his face. He wants to win the championship, there's no question about it. That's the reason he plays this game. Of course Shaq, man, he wants to continue to define his greatness, and we just want to be a part of it. We're going to do everything in our power not to have that feeling of non-completeness that we had last year. We're on the right page, but we've still got a lot of basketball left. It's fun with this group of guys because everybody is on the same page and we all want it for each other, so that's a good thing.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. Talk about how important this victory was.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, we knew we had to take care of our own, we knew that they were going to come very aggressive today and play the grimy ball that they said they were going to play. I feel we played pretty good. We got kind of razzled when they got into the zone, but we snapped out of it. Our fans kept us going, and our guys played well. Our guys came off the bench and played well, Posey played good, G.P. played good, and it was an all-around team effort. We just did what we were supposed to do. Now we just have to try to go up there and close it up.
Q. We're all dying to hear about the one play on the block on the coast-to-coast.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I have that in my game (laughter). I used to do that when I was a youngster. I'm not a spring chicken anymore.
Q. Dwyane said he hadn't seen that since Orlando.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, I've been holding back. But it was an opportunity for me to just get the crowd going and get the fans going. I just did what I do best.
Q. How good did it feel for you to do that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I was born doing that, so I'm kind of used to it. I'm going to be doing that when I'm 60.
Q. No dunk?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No dunk, I just wanted to finger roll it.
Q. What do you call that when you were running down the court after you completed that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: The G-Walk.
Q. "G" standing for what, "gangster"?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, I'm not a gangster.
Q. "Good looking"?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yes. You can say it stands for that.
Q. Talk about holding it in the third quarter at the free throw line as it was very grimy then?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah. Like I said, it was a very grimy game. We got kind of razzled when they got into the zone. But we snapped out of it. The fans did an unbelievable job of staying involved and staying loud, and we played pretty good defense out there.
Q. The shooters really made shots tonight.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, they were doubling Dwyane, and Dwyane was doing an excellent job of helping his teammates, getting out the ball, and guys were hitting the shots. Posey hit a big three, G.P. hit a big three, and like I said, it was a good all-around team effort.
Q. After Game 3, Walker said Shaq is like forever young right now. In the playoffs right now, how young do you feel and why?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I feel pretty young. This is like the first time I haven't had knick-knack injury, so I'm feeling pretty good. It was a different role for me playing with the great Dwyane Wade, but it's a role that I've accepted, and Dwyane is a great player. It would be foolish to have me shoot 40 times and let him shoot ten shots. Dwyane is going to do the bulk of the shots, I'm going to get the second amount, and we all accept that and roll with that. My numbers are going to be different, but it's all about winning.
Q. Some of the shots that he makes like that reverse layup where he was falling, do you say "wow" sometimes?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No. I mean, he's a great player. He still has a lot of room for improvement, and it's my job to make him the best player to ever play the game before I leave. I think I have that ability to do that, and I think he has the ability to become that.
Q. Do you feel like sometimes you have to try to show people, hey, I can go back to back-to-back, these games, as far as proving to people that you can?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, I mean, if I get the opportunity to do what I do, I'm going to do that. I'm much older but I'm much smarter. When teams don't double me, I'm just going to high percentage shoot. When they're doubling and tripling, I'm going to be looking for my teammates. It's a better game when everybody is involved.
Q. Talk about your aggressiveness or their over-aggressiveness.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We were just moving the ball, staying aggressive, playing with a higher energy. We knew how they were going to come out, and we were ready for that. We stepped up to the challenge and played our game today.
Q. Especially in this series they have been going more and more to you. In Game 2 you worked so hard and then lost, and you guys came down here and right from the first possession they were looking for you more.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We're an inside-out team, especially if the team is not going to double, I always tell the guys to look for me. Sometimes we get cute and shoot a lot of jumpers, but most of the time when we play like that, it's not a good outcome. We just have to stick to the script, inside-out.
Q. After Game 3 Pat said the team feeds off your energy. Do you think that was true tonight?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah.
Q. Is it something that's just contagious, that they look at you as the leader?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: When you feed the big dog, he does whatever you tell him to do (laughter).
Q. How difficult is it to win a fourth game in any series?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's very difficult, but we just have to be focused. We've just got to play our game. It's a great win today, but we don't want to get too high and mighty. The job is not done yet, so we just want to stay focused, come in tomorrow, look at some film and practice, make adjustments. We know they're a great team when their backs are against the wall, so we're going to have our hands full, but if we do what we're supposed to do, we'll be fine.
Q. You guys have closed out well this postseason. Obviously last season, as well, was a great series. But when it comes down to it, for lack of a better phrase, is it nice to have a couple of those let-downs to tell you what not to do?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Like I said, we don't want to get too high and mighty. We still have to make some adjustments. They're still the best team in the east, and they play great at home, and their fans are going to be in the game, and we just have to be ready. We're going to have our hands full, so we almost have to play a damn near perfect game.
Q. Can you talk about Pat's motivational techniques and about the bowl in the middle of the room? Can you talk about how much fun it is to see Pat unveil his motivational techniques before the game?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Are you seeing things? Where's the bowl? I don't know what you're talking about, sorry.
Q. The one with the logo in the middle of the locker room. How good is Pat at it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Pat is a great speaker, he's a great motivator and has a great resume, but he does an unbelievable job, and that's why he's one of the best to ever do it. I have no idea what you're talking about, a bowl.
Q. You're not drinking the Kool-Aid?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, I don't drink Kool-Aid. I drink Propel.
Q. The last series you brought up the Lakers losing to the Suns, the Red Sox motivation. What do you think is going to come up this time?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I don't know. He's great. He's a thinker. He has a lot of quotes in his head. We know what we have to do, and like I said, we have to play a damn near perfect game on Wednesday because we know we're going to have our hands full.
Q. What do you see from Dwyane?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I always tell him just do his thing. Early when they were doing the little travel, I just told him get off the ball and come to me and see what all the other guys want to do in the third and fourth when we force him to back off that track, then you do what you do. He's great because he listens, he's very unselfish, and he does it like Magic Johnson used to do it, very unselfishly, but still puts up his numbers.
Re: Game 5 Postgame Interviews
Q. You only had two points the first couple of games, now you got ten. What's been the difference the last couple games?
UDONIS HASLEM: Just trying to be more aggressive. First time I shot for a lot of jump shots and nothing really went in. You try to get a rhythm and just shoot a jumper. I tried to be more aggressive every game, and also tonight I got to the free throw line.
Q. What does that do to the rest of the team when Dwyane is on a roll like that, energize everybody else?
UDONIS HASLEM: Yeah, he's our guy. We understand that. We're going to go to him and Shaq early. It makes our job a lot easier as far as making shots that we don't get so much attention offensively.
Q. What is it going to take for you guys to go up to Auburn Hills and close out?
UDONIS HASLEM: Everything we got. We understand what type of situation we're going into. They're a veteran team, obviously returning champions. We're going to come out fighting, going to be a full court fight, and we've got to understand that.
Q. Did any of your teammates talk to you after the first couple of games, keep your head up, give you advice, anything like that?
UDONIS HASLEM: Yeah, nobody got down on me. We've all been through ups and downs this season. They get behind me 100 percent, told me, "keep fighting." You've got to keep making shots, I tried to defend, keep rebounding and make myself as useful as possible.
Q. I know you guys were confident in winning the series, but did you think that you would be in this position after four games, up 3-1?
UDONIS HASLEM: We never really looked forward to being up 3-1 in this position. We just thought we'd take it one game at a time. Every game go out there and give maximum effort and just leave everything out on the court and see where we go from there. We've done that, and we've got the series 3-1 right now.
Q. Can you also talk about what Posey did for you guys, especially his defense on Prince and a couple big threes?
UDONIS HASLEM: He's been our top perimeter defender all season. From holding down Vince, a little bit, and we pride ourselves on team defense. When we've got a guy on the other team who's a great scorer, we try to put five guys on that guy. When we've got Sheed, we try to make Tayshaun drive right instead of left. We try to play defense, we don't just leave one guy out there by himself.
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