Sunday May 28th : Practice Day Interviews

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by roscoe36, May 28, 2006.

  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [​IMG]

    Boy guys, is this ever a treat. We are gnawing our fingers down like LeBron James sitting sideline, and here come the practice day interviews with plenty of "pointed" questions to Flip, Ben and Rasheed.

    nJoy!
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    2006 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
    MIAMI, FLORIDA

    May 28, 2006

    COACH FLIP SAUNDERS


    FLIP SAUNDERS: We've got to find a way to get a win down here and try to get home court back at our place to get that same feeling.

    Q. Are you feeling a lot of pressure to get back to --

    FLIP SAUNDERS: Not really. I think we're, like I said -- no more pressure than ever before. Any time you're in a situation, you're ultimately -- ultimately there's 30 teams in the league and there's 29 that are unhappy. Ultimately the bottom line is you want to win the whole thing, and everything else becomes pretty much second fiddle. Miami felt that last year when they lost in the Conference Finals, and Detroit felt that way last year when they lost in the finals.

    Q. Is it different with this team, though, since they've been there before and you come in and basically you're the only difference?

    FLIP SAUNDERS: I don't look at it that way. I mean, like I said, every year is different. The challenges are different as far as every year. Teams are different. Even though we've got our same five or six guys, there's other guys on the team that haven't been there. I think you look at it that way. I don't look at what's happened in the past because history has no bearing on what's going to happen in the future, otherwise every team that won it in the past, they'd win it every year. That's not how it goes.

    You've got to live with what you have, and we're somewhat -- with Sheed being banged up, we've been a little bit different as far as in the past.

    Like I said, we've just got to worry about the game ahead and take one game at a time and try to put ourselves in a situation to beat Miami, get back home, try to take care of business and try to prolong the series.

    Q. Talk about Rasheed, what's going on with Rasheed right now? He seemed to be extra frustrated last night. Can you talk about that?

    FLIP SAUNDERS: I mean, Sheed -- I thought Sheed last night, he's playing definitely hurt with his ankle, there's no question. He's getting banged a lot and that's preventing him from getting good spots on the floor a little bit. I thought defensively he did as good a job as any of our guys protecting the rim. Last night they came out and they were extremely physical and aggressive, and I think that him and the other guys were somewhat frustrated given the effort -- he's okay, he got things going okay in the third quarter, and hopefully what we've got to do is we saw some of those things on the film, we looked today, and hopefully we can put them in a situation where we can have more success.

    Q. Tayshaun, was that great defense last night, or what can you do to help him out?

    FLIP SAUNDERS: Tayshaun is a guy -- we run things, and he's a guy that plays off other people. Last night's game, you can take Game 1, and it was almost the spitting image. They shot a high percentage the first half. We shoot 50 percent from the free throw line, they go to the free throw line, the first Game 1 time, last night three times. It's a lack of aggressiveness as far as protecting the paint. We had low assists and high turnovers. When you have low assists and high turnovers, Tayshaun is a guy that plays off other people and it negates a little bit the strength of what he really does.

    Q. What do you say to a guy like Rasheed to get him to regroup mentally to come back from a frustrating night like that?

    FLIP SAUNDERS: I mean, he's a guy that every day is a new day for him. He'll come back and he'll -- very rarely will he come back and have two poor -- what you might say not up to his caliber performance. As I said, he's one of our most intelligent players that we have. He'll look at situations, he'll look at the situation, and he's a guy that has the ability to adjust and adapt to situations pretty well.

    Q. (Inaudible).

    FLIP SAUNDERS: The biggest thing, we can't let them score as many points in the paint. They scored 50 of their 80 points in the paint, and those points in the paint were within about eight feet of the basket. We've got to try to get them out of their comfort zone. Last night they were very much in their comfort zone.
  3. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    BEN WALLACE

    Q. Statistics say if your team goes down 3 to 1, it's pretty hard to come back. How critical do you look at Game 4 coming up?

    BEN WALLACE: Don't tell me about no statistics. We go out there and play basketball.

    Q. How do you feel about Coach Riley going with the Hack-a-Shaq on you late in the game?

    BEN WALLACE: It don't bother me, just make the game long.

    Q. Does it motivate you at all, fire you up?


    BEN WALLACE: No, I can't get no more fired up, no more motivated than what we are right now.

    Q. Do you think it'll be effective?

    BEN WALLACE: It's part of the game.

    Q. People focus on you guys' offense, but do you think you're struggling with the defensive issue more than offense right now?

    BEN WALLACE: Any time you allow a team to come down and shoot 60 percent for the better part of the game, then it doesn't matter what you do on the offensive end, you can't win.

    Q. The rotations when they're lobbing with Shaq, it's like you're being forced to guard two people at once.

    BEN WALLACE: Any time you let teams break defense down and get to the basket, good things happen. That's what they've been able to do.

    Q. Talk about some of the frustration that went on last night?

    BEN WALLACE: Some of the what? What frustration?

    Q. Rasheed kicking over a chair.

    BEN WALLACE: Well, you need to talk to Sheed about that. You're going to ask me about it? Don't ask me. That's Sheed's frustration.

    Q. You weren't frustrated at all last night?

    BEN WALLACE: Next question, man. I just answered that question.

    Q. Are you guys having a hard time remembering what you're supposed to be all about?

    BEN WALLACE: You know, there's some changes this year. There are times when we go out and play the way we're playing, we look like unbeatable. When we don't play that way, anybody in this league can beat you. Until we are playing the type of game we want to play, then it's going to be tough, we're going to struggle.

    Q. Are you confident and comfortable with what Flip is doing out there?


    BEN WALLACE: We're all confident, man. Confidence ain't never been a problem for us.

    Q. Is there a different Flip from the regular season when he won 64 games until now?

    BEN WALLACE: Ask him. Don't be asking me these Rasheed Wallace and Flip Saunders questions, man. Y'all want to talk to me, talk to me.

    Q. When you talk about defense, is it an energy thing, is it a tactical thing? What do you think is happening to let them shoot 60 percent?

    BEN WALLACE: A little bit of everything. A team shooting 60 percent, there's a little bit of everything. There's breakdowns all over the place. We've got to get on the same page and do something special on the defensive end. We get stopped, it leads to easy baskets on the other end, but it's tough to score when you're taking the ball to the basket every time.

    Q. How important is it to have Dell help you out a little bit down low? He's been MIA a little bit?

    BEN WALLACE: MIA? He hasn't been in the game forever. He can't help it if he's not in the game.

    Q. How much of last night was bad defense and how much of it was just Shaq and D-Wade being awesome, playing the best that they can play?

    BEN WALLACE: You don't play good defense, then everybody is going to be awesome. I think all the guys had a good game, from Shaq and D-Wade to everybody. They had a good game. I don't care how good you are, you can't allow teams to shoot 60 percent in this league and expect to get a win.

    Q. You guys have always been able to handle this one way or another through good and bad times. If you can't do that, what happens to you guys?

    BEN WALLACE: What happens is we struggle. You see it through the playoffs. When we don't play solid at the defensive end, forget what everybody else is talking about, Xs and Os, we've got to score. If you can't score, then you can't allow your opponent to score. If you can't stop them from scoring and you're not scoring, then that's a bad mix.
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS

    Q. Since last year you were down one game twice this series, is it that you sort of know this situation, and I don't think there's a comfort in it but a confidence that one game down in the Eastern Conference Finals is doable?

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, I mean, we've been one game down in a lot of tough series. We're confident in these positions.

    Do I like being down one, no, but, you know, we've been there before so many times and we're comfortable being in this position, and we know what it takes to get out of it.

    Q. Are you almost in their head in this position, that they were up one twice on you last year, and at the end of the day --

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: No, I don't think we're in their head at all. They came out and played a great game yesterday, and I'm sure they feel like they can come out and play a great one tomorrow. I don't think by any means we're in their head at all. We've got to come out and not worry about what they're doing and what they're thinking about, and do what we're good at.

    Q. What makes this Pistons team so resilient?

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: We just believe in one another. We've got confidence in one another at all times. Like I said, we never put too much pressure on ourselves no matter what situation we're in, whether we're up one, down one, down two. You know, we're always the same, know what I'm saying, we play the same. Maybe that's it.

    Q. No satisfaction I assume from you even though you play well and the team loses?

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, that don't mean nothing. That don't mean nothing.

    Q. You weren't struggling to shoot the ball, at least you looked more like the Chauncey of the regular season?

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, but this ain't got nothing to do with that, man. This is about wins and losses, and not, like I said a couple games ago, Chauncey Billups playing good against the Miami Heat. It's the Pistons and the Heat. We're down one. That don't mean nothing.

    Q. Chauncey, you guys don't have as much confidence in the offense and the system --

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, no doubt. We've got a lot of confidence in the plays that we run. We run a lot of different sets, a lot of different counters and things like that. I thought yesterday we ran some things sometimes that we probably shouldn't have ran at certain times of the game, but it's like that, and whatever play we run and whoever gets the shot, we feel confident that they're going to take the right shot and we're going to take advantage of it.

    Q. Rasheed was very frustrated over the Hack-a-Ben or Hack-a-Shaq. What's going on with that?

    CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Losing is frustrating, man. Know what I'm saying, nobody is happy about the way that you play when we lose the game. I can expect that.
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    RICHARD HAMILTON

    Q. You've been down to these guys before and come back and won the series. Does that give you confidence in this situation?

    RICHARD HAMILTON: Well, I guess, regardless, we've been in a lot of tough situations. We've been down before and we tend to respond better. But we can't keep doing it. Like I said, if we're down 2-1 it's not the end of the world, but we've got to come out here and get a win.

    Q. Do you ever think that you could be running out of your nine lives?


    RICHARD HAMILTON: Man, we don't think that way. Like I said, we've got to figure out a way. They came out on our court and got a win, so we have to try to come out here and get a win from them.

    Q. We know how big this game is, but talk about the difference between 3-1 and 2-2, how big a difference that is.


    RICHARD HAMILTON: 3-1 and 2-2. 2-2 is tied, we get to go home and try to get a win at home. Like I said, it's important for us to try to get home court advantage back.

    Q. Are you just focusing on Miami, they got a win at your place, you've got to come back and get one and even this up and make it an even series?

    RICHARD HAMILTON: We wanted to try to get two, but we fell short of that last night. It's important for us to try to come out here and try to get one tomorrow.

    Q. They shot almost 60 percent last night, had a lot of points in the paint. Give us your thoughts on that.

    RICHARD HAMILTON: It's a crazy thing. Like I said, in Game 1 they shot 60 percent and in Game 3 they shot 60 percent. We've got to figure out a way. We've got to be all on a string. Right now they're getting too many easy baskets in the paint, and we can't have that.

    Q. Talk about the resilience this team has. When people count you out, you guys always resurface and prove the skeptics wrong.

    RICHARD HAMILTON: It's fun. We enjoy it, proving people wrong. We enjoy that. I think that we're a team that really never got a whole lot of credit until we actually won it. Sometimes it's better for us when people talk bad about us, we kind of respond better.

    Q. How afraid are you that you might get in that position, that there's not going to be one this time and you can't get yourself out of it?

    RICHARD HAMILTON: You can't think that way. That game is over. You've got another game coming up, and we've got to try to get a win.

    Q. You and Chauncey got back into rhythm last night. Front court had their problems. How do you and Chauncey keep it up and get the front court resolved?

    RICHARD HAMILTON: Like I said, we've just got to get a better flow. We've got to figure a way to get the big guys more easy baskets and just try to get in a position where they can make an easy basket.

    Q. We've watched you guys play together for the last couple years now. It seems the last seven, eight games we've only seen that flash, that togetherness for spurts here and there. Is that a fair assessment and how do you snap out of it?

    RICHARD HAMILTON: It's a crazy thing, like I said. Before the playoffs everything looked good, everything was rolling, everything about it had a great rhythm, and now it is so stagnant. Usually we might go through a five, six-minute stretch in a game. We want to get back to playing how we play and have fun. When we're out there smiling, laughing and pulling for each other, then good things happen for us.
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    RASHEED WALLACE

    Q. What was frustrating you last night more than anything?

    RASHEED WALLACE: I ain't going to mention what was frustrating me.

    Q. Was it Coach, was it the team?

    RASHEED WALLACE: I ain't going to mention it.

    Q. Coach said every day is a new day for you, that you can look past it. What do you do to regroup?

    RASHEED WALLACE: You know, just watch a little film, come out here, have a good practice today, get a couple shots up and just try to clear our heads from last night.

    Q. Did you tweak the ankle again?

    RASHEED WALLACE: Yeah, a couple times, but I'm all right, though.

    Q. How correctable are these issues?

    RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, it's correctable, the things we did. We'll be all right.

    Q. Defensively, we're just so unaccustomed for you guys to give up that kind of shooting percentage. Is that correctable, as well?

    RASHEED WALLACE: Oh, yeah, definitely. They got a whole lot of points in the paint last night, and not just Shaq.

    We've got to make them shoot a couple more jumpers and keep playing the way we normally play that got us this far.

    Q. What's missing defensively? It looks like that's been going on for a little while, the other team getting points in the paint?

    RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, some games they do, some games they don't. Exactly what it is, I'm not sure. That's nothing that I can answer.

    Q. Why is this team so resilient? You guys have been in tough spots for three years now, and we keep seeing you win.

    RASHEED WALLACE: That's just us, just the heart of a champion. We're down right now 2-1, but we think we can overcome any deficit that's put in front of us.

    Q. When you were sitting on the end of the bench here, Ron Harper came over and talked to you. What did you guys talk about?

    RASHEED WALLACE: We were just talking about a couple plays in the game, that's about it.

    Q. It's a situation where it looks like when the ball goes into it and you're getting your spots and your getting your shots. Is it the simple fact of not getting enough of that?

    RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, I don't know. That's a question I think y'all should ask Flip more than me because I guess it's more of a coaching call. Either way, I've still got to go out there and play, rebound and defend. That's one of the things you've got to do. When your shots are not falling or if you're not getting a lot of shots, hey, there's other ways that you can get it, help the team out on defense. When I'm sitting on the bench cheering the guys on -- I'm not all about shots, you know that.

    Q. You mentioned points in the paint. You only had 16, which is just half your series average of 38. What do you have to do to correct that?

    RASHEED WALLACE: Go to the paint more.

    Q. That's pretty obvious.

    RASHEED WALLACE: Just getting a couple more post-ups for myself, Tayshaun, Ben; Chauncey and Rip driving to the paint. I mean, it's nothing major where, like, we're running around like chickens with our heads cut off or nothing, but we know what we've got to do.

    Q. I know you don't like that Hack-a-Shaq thing, right, that's a disturbing trend to you?

    RASHEED WALLACE: Yeah, it is. It never worked when I was in Portland, it didn't work now. So, I mean, I don't -- to me personally if I was a coach, I don't like that. That's just my personal opinion?

    Q. You're saying that you can do better, rebound more aggressively. What do you want to see from Flip in this game?

    RASHEED WALLACE: What he's doing, coaching. It ain't like he can come out there, throw some shorts on, lace his sneakers up and come out there with us. He's just got to do his thing from the sideline, that's all.
  7. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    TAYSHAUN PRINCE

    Q. Surprise you?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: Yes, it did, definitely. It surprised me a whole lot, because for one, if they're going to start double teaming or doing something, that's when you want to see if something is going to happen and then you can go to your counter options, but we went to our counter options before it even happened.

    Q. It didn't really seem like they were trying to get you the ball much in the post-ups?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: I caught one or two, and then the thing that we talked about before the game was we was going to really try and get the pick-and-rolls, me and Ben and Rasheed and things like that, but we never even came close to doing it.

    Q. Was it anything Miami was doing defensively or was it just going a different direction as far as play calling?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: I think the majority of it was -- I guess it just depended on how the game started. Like I said, yesterday Chauncey and Rip got going early in the first quarter, so that kind of made us go away from some of the stuff we did in the previous game. When Chauncey and Rip had the hot hand, we started calling their numbers, and later on in the game, we tried to do our things, there wasn't no rhythm at all.

    Q. Against the heat last year, you guys were down one game three times in the series and you got even and won the series. Does that give you confidence that against this team, a one-game deficit is something you can handle?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: Not just against this team, but what we've done against previous teams kind of gave us the ability to make it happen. We put ourselves in this position a whole lot. The most important thing about this series is that you don't want to be in a situation where you're going back to Detroit 3-1. We've definitely got to come out with a different mindset. I think the first three games, whoever came out with the most energy is the ones who won the game.

    We need to be able to top their energy in Game 4.

    Q. Why is this team so resilient? What is it about it?


    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: You know, it's hard to say. We don't give up and we just keep fighting. Like I said, we put ourselves in bad situations a lot, and how we try to find our way out of them, and that's what we have to try to do again.

    Q. (Inaudible).

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: Hopefully there's some still left. It just seems weird, but I think the reason why we put ourselves in this position a lot is because a lot of times we go to Game 6 and Game 7 and other teams be waiting on us to play, then we get ourselves back in that position again. Then you go into the next series and we do the same thing all over again. I think that's why it's been so tough for us.

    Q. If Wade keeps going off the way he's going off, would you say, hey, I'll take another shot at him?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: I mean, we're going to have to try different things. We're going to have to try different looks. I was pretty disappointed we didn't give Lindsey Hunter any action in the second half. Obviously he's our best suit for Dwyane as far as putting pressure on him. I know Dwyane can shoot off him, but at least he has the pressure and the quickness to be where he's at at all times. We didn't give him the opportunity the second half.

    Q. You guys defensively, that's what you've had the last four years is your defense. When that's not going, do you all feel kind of lost out there?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: No, we don't feel lost, but at the same time, when our defense is not -- we're not playing as well defensively as we normally do, that's when we have to be patient on offense and take the shots. If we take quick shots, then we're going to make it worse for our defense.

    Of course we always have trouble with Miami, keeping them off the paint, Shaq and Dwyane. Those guys, they find a way to get in the paint no matter what. It's always been a tough situation for us against this team as far as paint. But we've done a good job of trying to keep the other guys out of the paint. It's something that we have to do very well in the next game.

    Q. Talk about the difference between 2-2 and 3-1?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: There's a huge difference. I think the most important thing about it is when you give up one at home and you don't get one on the road in the next two games, it makes it a tough situation, especially when you're playing against a good team. When you're playing against a good team, it's hard to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

    Q. Was it a different situation for you last night when they were really focusing on trying to stop you?

    TAYSHAUN PRINCE: For me, no, I don't think it was a different situation.

    Like I said early on, like I said previously, Chauncey and Rip had it going early, and we were trying to feed through those guys. That was basically pretty much it. That's why I couldn't get in a rhythm. Those guys are hitting baskets left and right, not just in the first half but throughout the game. They were carrying us pretty much throughout the game. Myself, I never really got in a rhythm at all.

    Also, you know, some of the things we did in Game 2 from the standpoint of putting me in pick-and-rolls and doing those type of things, we never did go to that in yesterday's game.
  8. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    COACH PAT RILEY

    Q. Pat, when Antoine is attacking the basket like he did last night, can you talk about the pressure that it puts on the defense, the decision-making like for Ben Wallace, whether he leaves Shaq?

    PAT RILEY: You know, going to Dwyane and going to Shaquille and how they load up on him defensively, we need other players when the ball has to go away from them, and the two of them to make the play have to be players and have the skill to put it on the floor and attack the basket and score, make kicks, and Antoine has been doing it. He's either been making shots, or now putting it on the floor and making plays, not always feeling like he's got to force the shot.

    Yeah, it's crucial for him to make those kinds of plays. He's not really involved in first option things that much. We give him maybe half a dozen primary looks a game or whatever it is, but he's doing very well playing off those guys.

    Q. Last night, was that all his decision?

    PAT RILEY: That's what he -- a ball swings, closing on him, he's fronting Shaquille, and he's driving by guys. He's got Wallace closing out on him when he's at the 4 spot and he can take him off the dribble.

    Q. This whole notion of when a team is up 2-1, the other team comes up you think rear and we've seen it through the playoffs, why?

    PAT RILEY: That's an age-old question. It's human nature. Must be human nature. That's what I said to him this morning. I was listening in my office for at least 45 minutes, I could hear the glee, and they're just a bunch of guys in the locker room talking about the game, and there's a lot of levity, but that's how you feel after a win. I walked in and I said, "I know you're happy." I said, "you were happy after Game 1, too. Are you hungry?" That's my thing. "How hungry are you going to be tomorrow?" I rattled off the numbers and that's the hunger factor, our effort numbers, the number of shows. When we need a win, they're up here, and when we don't need a win, for some reason they drop 15 to 20 percent. I don't know, I'm trusting that they know what's at stake, and tomorrow is a great opportunity just to sort of close the door.

    Q. One of the things the Pistons were talking about is they maybe didn't go to Rasheed enough and he might have been able to do more damage. How much more do you expect to see of him?

    PAT RILEY: You see all four of them. When all four of them starting, last night it was Rip and Chauncey at the beginning and then Rip and Rasheed at the third quarter. I mean, if you go at guys and try to give them equal touches all the time, sometimes that's hard to do with four guys that are on the court a lot. But they might do that. We're aware of them wanting to post him up and trying to get the size advantage. We're working hard to try to keep that away from him.

    Q. This morning we talked to Flip if they'd try to get into a spiral and try to double team a guy and make sure a third guy is not wide up. They said the most difficult thing is when Dwyane makes plays when there's no play, be it a transition or a broken play. He said there's somewhere between 12 and 16 points last night that he had that happen. I know you don't want to orchestrate those particular moments, but talk about his level of specialties all the time. How huge is that?

    PAT RILEY: Well, when we came out of the time-out at 74-73 he made that transition three-point play. He was on the break, and he loves it out there in the open court and sees the floor. There's a lot of things that we run for him where we just allow him to make the decisions, and sometimes when you try to run too much offense and too many screens for him and too many things for him, the defense can load up on him even more instead of putting him in situations where -- go to Shaq on the strong side and then any time that Shaq is posting on the strong side, if we call weak, then he's on the weak side because there's defense that's not loaded to him, it's loaded onto Shaquille and he just goes. We have a couple of options that we run for him in those situations. Players are very aware of how to play with him, either get out of his way or screen him, flat screen, side screen.

    Q. So you could plan unscripted moments for him?

    PAT RILEY: Yeah, there's a lot of them. As a matter of fact, he'll wave off some calls. He'll wave off, and we know -- when we isolate him at the high post, there's a lot of thought in the isolation where players are, and we know who they're coming off of. But he has the ability to come around players and get into the paint and make plays. That's part of his greatness.

    Q. How did what Shaq and Dwyane did last night exemplify what you hoped when you brought them here together?

    PAT RILEY: First of all, last night I thought Shaquille is who we feed off of. If he comes with the kind of energy that he had last night posting up and rebounding the ball, and he was really, really good on pick-and-rolls, a lot of energy in his defense, and our players see him playing real hard with a lot of energy, they feed off his energy. Some nights when he's a little bit slow or fatigued, then they get that way, too. But when he's going, our guys are at a higher level.

    Obviously having both of them is a blessing for us.

    Q. How does how they've been doing or in a game last night exceed your expectations?

    PAT RILEY: A 24 for 32, they had to be that good for us to only be ahead by one. If they're not that good and you're not making the effort, then we're fighting from 12 down like we did in Game 2. In order for us to beat the Pistons we have to play at a very high level, they have to play at a high level, we have to have a real high effort level to be close, so we might have a chance to win. I think that's the way it is.

    Q. A veteran guy like Alonzo Mourning, what does he lend to this team besides what we see on the floor, maybe making your job easier or easing the team in tough situations? What is his role?

    PAT RILEY: His role is that he's a leader, he's backing up Shaq, sparing him minutes. Right now he's not getting long runs. I want to give Shaq nine or ten minutes in the first quarter, then I want to start him at the top of the second quarter. I'm not going to keep him out for six, eight minutes like I did during the regular season. I'll try to give him another rest maybe at the five-minute mark and have him go out. So Zo is playing segmented minutes and probably three minutes or four minutes at the most. He's capable of making plays for us, but he's just been a leader, a great leader for us and a great backup center right now for Shaq.

    Q. Does Dwyane Wade have the same effect on the team that you just described with Shaq?

    PAT RILEY: If you've got both of them playing like they did last night, then I think our guys are very confident. I think Dwyane brings out a lot on his own because he's young, he's enthusiastic and it's just the nature of how he plays. But when Shaquille brings that level of energy, I think that amps up our team a little bit more.

    Q. With the exception of a short stint in the third quarter when McDyess was guarding Shaq, Shaq was able to get into the paint and post-up very easily. Was it just a matter of Monday night he has to bring something else to the game?

    PAT RILEY: Yeah, he's got to work at it. When they do certain things now in fronting him, front and back him, when they start doing things to double team him before the pass, then he just can't accept that because we can't get him the ball. He's got to then play with a lot more energy, he's got to get down the court quicker, he's got to get his head under the rim, he's got to offensive rebound the ball. He's got to run the design plays that we've run for them when they front him because we can't just accept not getting -- let's get to the weak side. He has to expend more energy when they are beginning to gimmick him. It's all about energy with him.

    Q. Do you notice anything about the intensity of this Pistons defense compared to last year? Is it a case of Dwyane playing at a higher level and Shaq being healthy?

    PAT RILEY: I think Dwyane played at a high level last year. I think one game he had 40, didn't he? The third game he had 40 or something.

    But their defense, I think, is very intense. Their full court pressure, they're into Dwyane, they're into the ball. They haven't changed much. I think they've kept a lot of the same principles that they had there last year. Dwyane has seen it now two years in a row. He's familiar with it.

    Q. How happy were you with the fact that you made it clear you wanted the team to play Tayshaun as a great player, and last night his impact offensively was different?

    PAT RILEY: We were more conscious of him, but I think he got lost in the shuffle. They didn't go to him a lot. But I still think he's such an opportunistic player, even the shots he did get last night, he missed them. He just didn't get a lot of them. But an awareness of his driving ability, his offensive rebounding and the fact that he will make open shots, you've just got to be really aware of that. You don't want him to drive it to his left, and he's still very good at going to his right, but he really wants to go to his left.

    At one time he was a player that a lot of teams would slough off on, and you can't do it so we're not going to.

    Q. You mentioned offensive rebounding with Shaquille. He got four early. Talk about the impact it made energy-wise?


    PAT RILEY: Keep his head under the rim, keep his head down under the rim. If he can't get the ball a lot of times on post-up -- he's got to get two to three baskets in transition, he's got to get two, three baskets on offensive boards, and he's just got to do it. We can't rely on just always throwing it to him and having him score.

    Q. That's exactly what he said last night, he's got to do it.

    PAT RILEY: He's got to do it, got to go get it.

    Q. There are certain players that rise to a certain level where opposing coaches and player might fear him but they're concerned, even if they have a lead. Has Chauncey Billups risen to that level of a player?

    PAT RILEY: Yeah, he gives me hives (laughter). Right here, right now I've got an itch. I don't know what's going on on this side of my jaw.

    Any time he's -- he gets in a very offensive mode where I don't care how aggressive you are on him or how good you are on him, he's going to find a shot or a drive, and so hypervigilance with him is -- even last night I was telling Gary, he pulled up on him on threes, and I said you can't give him that kind of airspace. If you take away his airspace, he puts it on the floor, but I'd rather have him put it on the floor than just raise on him. He had five jumpers last night coming off pick-and-rolls, or four, and then he hit another long jumper off a pick-and-roll and then he hit another long one or just raising. In those areas weapon can't give him looks.

    Q. The fact that Walker went 5 for 11, Haslem 5 for 10, Jason Williams was 3 for 4, how much did that play into the good shooting for Shaq and Wade, the other guys who are --

    PAT RILEY: Just like we did in Game 2, we didn't make shots. A lot of those guys didn't make any shots, and last night they made shots, timely shots, and it's going to be the story of our season and our series with the eight guys that are playing. When Shaq and Dwyane are not, it gives Rip or Chauncey or whoever they're going to over there, other guys have got to make plays.

    Q. How difficult for any opponent to overcome the type of dominance you had in the paint last night?

    PAT RILEY: That's not their game I don't think. We're a post-up team and an attacking team. I think we're plus 40 in the three games in the paint, something like that. We're plus 24 on the boards. We're playing with fire with the turnovers. Numbers play a big factor. I think it's almost a push on free throws. But turnovers really bother me with this team and the fact that they can get on a real roll offensively. Shooting the ball bothers me.

    Q. Do you go into a game with a plan of strategy of when to foul Ben Wallace?

    PAT RILEY: There's a time, yeah. There's a time, if you need to do it, you'll do it.

    Q. What circumstances bring that up?


    PAT RILEY: I don't want to tell you because then you'll know. But he knows because he does it. We all sort of have the same kind of plan. When you're down or up -- if you're up and you're worried about a team coming back, you might do it. If you're down 46 points, you might do it. Dead balls, free throws, things like that.

    Q. When you think of the different players you've had on your rosters over the years, the duo of Shaq and Dwyane when they're playing well, how dangerous or potent are they compared to other duos?

    PAT RILEY: I mean, Magic and Kareem I think is equal, but I also had Worthy and Scott and Cooper and McAdoo. You talk about a great team, but I think that they're similar. So I've been very fortunate. Tim and Zo were great here, Patrick and John Starks --

    Q. So are Dwyane and Shaq, Magic and Kareem?

    PAT RILEY: I wouldn't say that one is better than the other. I love those guys in LA. I want them to talk to me when I get old. These guys will always talk to me because I'm paying them (laughter).

    Q. Is there something about Dwyane's personality, coach, that allows him to sort of meld with Shaq the way he does? They've been extremely talented teammates in the past where the relationship wasn't as symbiotic.

    PAT RILEY: The first thing that Shaquille did when he came here was met with Dwyane, talked to him. I'm sure that everything that went on in Los Angeles there with Kobe was exposed and everything. So I think the genuine respect level from Shaq to Dwyane, Dwyane to Shaq right in the beginning has made those guys a perfect duo. They really have a great feeling for one another and a great respect for each other.

    I think the fact that Dwyane was coming, young, coming player, had not really established himself. I think we all saw that there was something there. Last year was the breakthrough year for him, and Shaquille just sort of gave the platform -- he really did, he just -- go get it, it's yours. I think when a player like Dwyane who's young knows -- Shaquille knows that he has this kind of greatness in him, I think he feels very confident. I think a lot of his confidence comes from Shaq.

    Q. If Mitch had insisted on Dwyane, if he had said I will not trade you Shaq unless Dwyane is in the package, what would you have done?


    PAT RILEY: He did.

    Q. But at some point he relented and said, okay, we won't.

    PAT RILEY: Right.

    Q. If he had kept saying, no, no, I wouldn't do it.

    PAT RILEY: I wasn't going to do it. I thought the deal was fair. I mean, giving him all three of those guys -- I don't know. Dwyane was the one guy that we didn't want to let go of because we really felt that -- not that we had a crystal ball, but there was something there that might have been better than what it even was then. I won't tell you the story, but there's an interesting story.

    Q. Come on, tell us the story.


    PAT RILEY: No, I won't do it. It's a funny story. My conversation with Shaquille about -- "who did you give up?"

    Q. You're telling it to yourself now.


    PAT RILEY: I don't want to get into that. We're very fortunate to have both of them.

    Q. Certain guys are just inherently alpha male type personalities. Does Dwyane have that personality?

    PAT RILEY: Yes.

    Q. He does. So it's a conscious effort on his part to suppress that in order to work within the team framework with Shaquille obviously --

    PAT RILEY: He understands. As much as he knows, I think at times he knows it's his -- he talks about this all the time. I'm one of the leaders, my teammates trust me, they give me these opportunities, they put the ball in my hands, they allow -- I think deep down inside, he also suppresses it enough to know that Shaq is the leader of this team. I mean, he's strong enough, he really is as a person, in his makeup, to be able to do both those things. I think it's important that he doesn't try to just dominate the whole presence of this team.

    I think his game does it, but I think what he says is true.

    Q. When you made the roster changes last summer, a lot of people questioned it, maybe too much talent, too many egos. Did your experience in LA, you mentioned all the players you've had, did that kind of convince you that it could work with that many good players?

    PAT RILEY: I never thought about that when I -- I mean, I knew all of these guys. I've coached against most of them. I read all the articles about them, and in LA we never had any problems, and we haven't had any problems this year at all. There's not been any problems.

    There were times that I think the team was being judged very harshly, and the expectations of certain players, it wasn't working and all of that, and I think they felt bad about that but never to the extent where there was any kind of dissension or anything like that. I think we had one exchange -- there was an exchange between Gary and Dwyane in the playoffs that was nothing minor, but this team is working right now. It's working. We will find out if it has worked or will work one day. That's our goal.
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ALONZO MOURNING

    ALONZO MOURNING: My time on the court has got to be productive time because I play the game very hard. Things just fall into place naturally.

    Q. How excited were you to sort of have Coach Riley back, the bond you guys have and the attitude you both share, it seems to me anyway.

    ALONZO MOURNING: Very exciting because I know what he brings to the table from a knowledge standpoint. I'm very excited because I know what he brings to the table from a knowledge standpoint. I mean, he's the only coach that has coached as many playoff games as he's coached in the history of the game. So that alone will bring a certain level of knowledge that will enable us, especially since he's seen so many different playoff games and situations and what have you, that level of knowledge will help us accomplish the goals that we need to accomplish collectively as a team because he's our leader.

    The decisions that he makes out there on the court, the adjustments that he makes at the games and everything, adjustments flowing out of what he's seen before, and then when you compile that with the fact that you've got a team full of veteran players, some of which have played in the finals before, some of which have been in the Eastern Conference Finals, NBA Finals and what have you, then all of that knowledge alone can carry over to a pretty high success rate when you have that type of knowledge and experience on the team.

    It's pleasing to have Pat Riley here because of that knowledge alone, you know, and I think as long as we continue to stay healthy, and guys already -- to tell you the truth, we've fallen into our roles. If we bring an effort each and every time to start games, it's going to be hard to beat us.

    Q. Was last night an example of that?

    ALONZO MOURNING: Perfect example. If we would have brought the type of effort in Game 2 as we did in Game 1 and Game 3, it's hard to beat us, very hard to beat us. I think our effort alone gets us going. It gets us going on the right foot. In regards to what the other team does, our collective effort -- I'm talking about bringing the energy, the defense, what have you, no matter how the other team is playing, there's no rules to how much effort you can bring.

    There isn't anything in the rule book that says, hey, you'll be penalized if you bring this certain amount of effort. There's no rule with that. The thing about Game 2, we didn't bring it. Just watching the tape, it was too late, and it was like a Jekyll & Hyde type of team. Somewhat. It's just a matter of what team is going to show up tonight.

    Q. When you started in this league, your job was to simply score 20, get ten rebounds. When you put that uniform on now, what is your goal that night, specifically, when you go out there?

    ALONZO MOURNING: To make sure the minutes that I'm out on the court continues to enhance the level of the play of the team, and when I step out there on the court, the team continues to get better. Our play does not decline.

    I don't want my time on the court to be wasting minutes. I'm going to go extremely hard. I know there's going to be limited minutes because Shaq will be back in within the next four or five minutes, so I try and make them very productive.

    Q. Do you just go out and give everything you've got?

    ALONZO MOURNING: I give everything I've got. It ain't a matter of pacing myself. Only if I know that Shaq is not playing that evening, then yeah, I might have to pace myself and pick my spots here and there. But backing him up, it ain't about pacing myself. I've got six fives, I've got a limited amount of time-out there, so I just go as hard as I can and try to continue to try to make sure the level of the team increases.

    Q. From your playoff experience, how big a difference is it between being up 3-1 and being tied 2-2?

    ALONZO MOURNING: Well, it's a big difference, a huge difference. Up 3-1, I think it's basically common sense, guys, for me to sit here and explain that. You're in a better situation. I know for sure that we're capable of being in that position if we approach the game the way I expect us to. At the same time, you've got a team that generally plays well at home, the Detroit Pistons. So therefore, if you go up 3-1, you have a little bit better control of the situation from the standpoint of obviously the series than being 2-2 knowing they have home court advantage.

    We've got a great opportunity in front of us, and the guys here understand that, so it's just a matter of taking advantage of that opportunity and not letting this opportunity slip away.

    Q. Talk about Pat Riley and other playoff runs. What have you noticed about Pat Riley in the middle of this playoff run that's different or the same?

    ALONZO MOURNING: About Pat?

    Q. Yeah.

    ALONZO MOURNING: I don't notice anything different to tell you the truth.

    Q. Has he changed?

    ALONZO MOURNING: I think the only thing that's changed is that a day like today, he would have gone extremely hard in the past. I think he has admitted to you all, he's admitted to us that from that perspective he has had to make an adjustment and a change because he doesn't have to do that anymore. That part of the game, of his approach to all of us is unnecessary. Looking back on it, he can honestly say that that might have been a detriment to some of our success in the past. I totally agree because I was playing 40-something minutes a game (laughter). I think his approach from that standpoint, from a practice standpoint, has been different.

    But his knowledge of the game I think has just totally improved even more, especially with the adjustments of the game. His knowledge of the game in addition to the experience that we have on this team, the guys that have played in conference finals, the guys that have played in NBA finals, the combination of all that has definitely put us in a position where our knowledge has helped us overcome a lot of different situations out there on the court.

    Q. When you said that you played a lot of basketball and seen a lot of different duos, where do Shaq and Dwyane rank in the duos that you've seen? How would you qualify them?

    ALONZO MOURNING: You've got to put them up there in the top five, seriously, in the history of the game. I mean, you've got to put them up there.

    I think the combination of them, what they bring on both ends of the court, not just on offense but on defense alone, I think the combination of both of them adds even more value to any of the combinations that you've probably seen in the past, in the history of this game. Obviously Shaq and Kobe, they were incredible together. And then there's some others like Hakeem, Drexler, those type of guys. But like I said, you look at their defensive presence as well as their offensive presence, it makes a huge impact on the game and it changes the game tremendously.

    Q. Dwyane said that you wear your resume on your sleeve. The one thing that's missing from that resume obviously is that championship. At this point in your career how much do you kind of talk about it with your teammates, and how much more intensified is it to get that on the resume?

    ALONZO MOURNING: I don't talk too much about it. I think my play speaks loudly, my effort out there on the court speaks loudly of how I feel about the opportunity that we have in front of us. I just try to play the game as hard as I can. I don't think that this is a team where you need to talk to them about it a whole lot because this is a team that has been scarred -- guys, individuals that have been scarred and cut up and put in very tough situations in the past to where they're bruised mentally and thinking about situations where they could have done it. Gary, I'm sure you can talk to him; it was a great situation, we could have done it. Myself, Shandon, I mean, the list goes on. Antoine, man, we could have done it.

    So we've been battle scarred. That alone is enough knowledge for us to get through the obstacles that we've been confronted with thus far. So it's not a lot of talk.
  10. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    ANTOINE WALKER

    ANTOINE WALKER: Well, I think we've got a couple guys that can make plays; myself, Jason, Gary, Dwyane; we can make plays. When a play breaks down, we've got guys we can put on the floor and score, whereas those guys are more systematic. They run these fast plays, they either pick-and-roll or they run a lot of catch-and-shoots for Rip Hamilton. The only guy that really frees a lot is Chauncey, that makes a lot of plays for them. Tayshaun is more of a slasher, gets offensive rebounds, that slashes the basket. He's a lot more of a creator for everybody else on the floor. I think that's where we come in a little different, because we've got three or four guys that can make plays.

    Q. Because they're so defensive-minded historically, in Games 1 and 3 has there been anything surprising to you or because you've been so sound offensively that you never really worry about that?

    ANTOINE WALKER: Well, we're just trying to put them at their level. We've got the most dominant big man in the middle that causes a lot of problems, going to break down any defense. So we're trying to basically play off Shaq and play the way they play him. Obviously Dwyane is going to get his opportunities on offense, but we try to play off him. We try to move the ball to the opposite side, and if they're going to play behind him we've got to give it to him and let him work. We're basically just trying at that play our game off Shaq to be honest.

    Q. Your responsibility, I don't know what you want to call it, if it's a third scorer, to be opportunistic, do you find that's the piece that puts them out of sorts the most, when they have to double team the other two guys in Shaq and Dwyane, that you or Gary or Jason is killing? Is that the mindset you have on your approach offensively?

    ANTOINE WALKER: Well, coach wants us to be aggressive when opportunities come. We've got to take the shots when they're available but also just making plays. It's not necessarily about scoring, it's about making plays and getting opportunities for other people on the court. I think that's the biggest thing we've got to do if we want to be successful in the playoffs. We've got to make other plays on the floor and we just can't leave it in Dwyane's hands. We can't ask him to make plays for everybody, so when the opportunity comes and the ball swings, we have to stay aggressive and do what we do.

    Q. You were kind of in attacking mode last night, hit, bait, getting to the basket. Conscious decision on your part or what the defense was giving you?

    ANTOINE WALKER: Game 2 I felt like they challenged me, they charged me, ran out on me real good and made me take a couple shots that I really did not want to take. I just was trying to be conscious of those guys they were putting on the floor. It's all about adjustment and taking whatever they give me but just adjustments that I made personally.

    Tomorrow it can be totally different. They can give me a shot, they might not rotate as fast on me, so whatever they give me, I'm just going to take.

    Q. What do you see as the trickle-down when you attack, the lobs to Shaq and kicking it out and stuff like that? What happens to the team when you attack like that?

    ANTOINE WALKER: Well, I think we give it to another playmaker obviously, but, I mean, it's tough to leave Shaq. When Ben Wallace wants to challenge my shot, the great thing about it, you can just throw the ball up in the air to Shaq and go, and he pretty much can finish it. We put them in a tough dilemma. When we scratch their defense and make them close out and rotate, that's what we want to do because when you try to be methodical and come down and just run your plays, they're too good defensively for that. We've got to get some guys moving. They're very long and athletic, so we've got to get Rasheed, Tayshaun moving and then attacking them that way because now you put a lot of pressure on Ben to make a decision whether he's going to help you block a shot or whether he's going to stay on Shaq. So we've got to keep attacking and going out.

    Q. A couple of those guys, the Pistons guys, were questioning their strategies and questioning I guess their coach a little bit over there. Do you feel like you've got them shaken up a little bit about some of the things you guys are doing?

    ANTOINE WALKER: I don't know. I mean, it's hard to say. It's hard, I think they've seen a different team. A lot of people don't understand the regular don't mean anything, and now you're in the playoffs. It's a big difference. I think they kind of expected us to be the same team they saw in the regular season, and we're a totally different team than we were in the regular season. I think we're just surprising them with a lot of things. They're probably seeing us be a lot more aggressive and guys that just take the basketball and play. We've got a lot of veteran guys that have been in this situation and guys are stepping up and taking their game to the next level.

    Q. There's stats about teams that go up 3 to 1, like eight of 124 teams have gone on to come back and win the series, so it's not very many. How conscious is this team that winning Game 4 could really put the Pistons away?

    ANTOINE WALKER: I mean, we're looking at it as a Game 7 type situation for us because obviously we didn't have home court advantage, and after we won Game 1 we kind of gained that so we don't want to lose that. Their team has been there before, they've been in a lot of different scenarios the last couple years. I'm sure they figure we get Game 4, we're going back home for the opportunity to go up 3-2. We've got to come out with the mentality that we have to come out and win at all costs. I think we've got to understand that and just keep saying that we've got to make the adjustments. Right now we've got to stay with our formula. What we've been doing, trying to pound the ball inside to Shaq and keep Richard Hamilton working on defense, keep letting Dwyane attack him as much as possible.
  11. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    DWYANE WADE

    DWYANE WADE: These are the Conference Finals, so I don't really see a problem tomorrow. I think both teams are going to come out and go at it, and it is going to be a team to make the best plays going down the stretch that's going to win the ballgame. It's going to be a close game, both teams are going to really come out and know that both teams really want the game.

    Q. When you were up 2-1 last year and then 3-2, does that teach you a lesson of you've got to sort of stomp when you can and not just keep playing it out to 2-2 and 3-3 like last year?

    DWYANE WADE: You can't really worry about it. You've got to play each game for what it is, take it game by game and you try to win. That's all we're going to do. We're in Game 4, we're just trying to win that next game. We're not worried about what can happen or what could happen and what did happen. We're just trying to win the game tomorrow. We're at home, we're trying to hold things at home like we're supposed to in the playoffs, and if we do that, we'll be fine.

    Q. There's a lot of superstars that sort of play on -- two guys on a team, and sometimes they click and sometimes they don't. What works with you and Shaq playing together?

    DWYANE WADE: From the getgo it clicked. I'm a guy who I drive to the basket, and when I do that, I draw a lot of attention so I'm able to ditch off to Shaq, and as I'm able to do that, he gets easy buckets, and then he's dominant, man. It's easy to play with Shaq.

    Q. I know that you were looking forward to playing to him when he first came, but what's it actually been like now that you've done it?

    DWYANE WADE: It's been great, man. I wish I could have started my rookie year with him, and I wish he could have been younger when I played with him. But I'm just happy that I got the opportunity to do it, and hopefully as long as he plays this game, we'll be a dominating duo together. I'm looking forward to the future with us.

    Q. Some of these guys went off last night. What do you have to do to make sure they slow down on Monday?

    DWYANE WADE: Man, you can't take everything away. You've got to do your best job. I think we did a great job on the other guys, and Chauncey had a big game. He really was aggressive from the getgo. When he's shooting the ball like that, all I can do is just try to do your best job defensively. You cannot take everything away, you can take away what you can. I think our big guys did a great job with not letting the inside guys go up.

    Q. You shot lights out last night. Would you say you were in the zone? Did the basket look bigger?

    DWYANE WADE: No, no. I just hit some shots, got in a groove. That's the kind of player I am. If I get into a groove, then I can go for a couple of buckets in a row, and that's all I did. I was very aggressive, but it wasn't like one of those zone nights, I just hit some shots. I was concentrating on hitting my shots, and I did.

    Q. I know you're focused on your team. Did you sense any frustration from them, hear anything as far as any of the players?

    DWYANE WADE: No, no. I don't pay attention to that.

    Q. (Inaudible).

    DWYANE WADE: I think when I don't have the ball they do a good job of denying me the ball, so it's kind of hard for them to -- even if I bring it up the court to stop me from getting it unless they run two guys at me and then we've got somebody open. They're a powerful team. They're a good defensive team, so they're not going to totally go away for what works for them the last couple years.

    Q. The one game they won, they did a lot of trapping. Were you surprised you didn't see it last night and do you think you're going to see it on Monday?

    DWYANE WADE: They did a little bit of trapping, I don't think they did a lot. They still did some last night where I was bringing the ball up and they brought guys at me at half court. The only difference was yesterday I got off the ball and guys made plays, and in the other game we didn't make the plays we needed to make. We'll be ready tomorrow if they come with it.

    Q. Are you surprised how easily you've been able to get in the lane, your guys 50 points in the paint last night?

    DWYANE WADE: No, that's our game. That's what we do best. We're not at our best when we're settling for jump shots. We're at our best when we're attacking, getting the ball down to Shaq and I'm penetrating. That's when the Miami Heat is at our best. We're playing to our strengths right now.
  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    UDONIS HASLEM

    Q. Pat brought it up again today, going back to this theme of energy and efficiency and all those infamous percentages now and how when you guys need a win, the numbers are up. When you don't necessarily need a win, the numbers drop. How do you prevent that tomorrow night?

    UDONIS HASLEM: Just got to be a veteran team. Everybody has been here before. This is my second year being in this situation. Obviously Shaq, Gary and those guys have been around a long time. We should know by now what it takes to be in the game at the end or have a chance to win. It's up to us. It's nothing Pat can draw up. It's not about Xs and Os, it's just about going out and doing it.

    Q. Detroit has had a problem when you guys are freelancing or scattering. When you go back to the last couple minutes of Game 2, talk about when you guys were capitalizing on the broken play last night. Pat said that he tried to orchestrate some of those moments where it may start with Dwyane and end up in your hands as a jumper or a dunk. How much is that important for you to continue to roll to Detroit can't anticipate what you're doing?

    UDONIS HASLEM: It's very important because for instance when they trapped Dwyane up height, last night we tried to run isos, everybody knew exactly where it was. It was like clockwork. We got a dunk out of it, we got a foul for Posey, he got to the free throw line and he made two shots. Everything was like clockwork. We're prepared for things like that.

    I think that's very important, especially coming down the stretch when you know teams are going to throw a couple traps and a couple defenses at you.

    Q. Is that the best weapon against Detroit because obviously their defensive intensity?

    UDONIS HASLEM: They're a great defensive team, and when they turn it up, they turn it up on you. The thing about them is they can play at one pace for four minutes, and the last eight minutes of the game they can turn it up on you, and before you know it, like they did last night, they're on an 11-0 run. It's great to have things like that that we can bounce back and go to.

    Q. You've played on lots of teams with lots of different caliber players. What's it like in a game like last night where you can just be like we have Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

    UDONIS HASLEM: I've been blessed to be in that situation the last two years, and both of those guys have made my job a lot easier offensively, just getting open shots, and I try to do my part and make their job easy on defense.

    Q. How much fun is it to play with both of them?

    UDONIS HASLEM : It's a lot of fun, not just on the court but off the court. They're great guys. No egos, no big heads. We have a great time off the court, as well, and I think that's one thing that since I've been here in three years, even though I've been on three different teams, we've always had great guys on and off the floor.

    Q. Early on if Shaq can get those offensive rebounds like he did, what does that create, what kind of impact?

    UDONIS HASLEM: He's going to go back and dunk it, so it's usually two points. If he doesn't dunk it, he's going to get fouled and get to the free throw line. He's probably going to get a foul on one of them bigs, Rasheed, any one of those guys.

    Q. When Pat came to start coaching the team, what were the differences that he made when he took over?

    UDONIS HASLEM: Actually I think even though he's legendary, he's been around the game a long time, I think he was kind of just trying to fit in a little bit, asking us kind of how we were doing things and asking the assistant coaches how we were doing things. That lasted about a week.

    Then he put his touch on it, tweaked things a little bit, and we've taken off from there.

    Q. How is the Pat Riley-coached Heat different than the Heat before he was coaching you guys?


    UDONIS HASLEM: I think we're just a lot more together, but I don't think it has to do with coaching; it has to do with us being together longer, going through ups and downs. Whoever was coaching, we had to go through those ups and downs to get to where we are now. Based on the fact we went through those things, that's why we're at this point now.

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