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Gregg Popovich: "It would be very different without Tim Duncan"
Posted: June 9, 2003

Talk about the play of Tony tonight.

Tony's a special young man. I mean, to be thrown in this kind of a situation as young as he is, and to try to run the club, know all the players, some of whom or most of whom he's never played with, to handle that, I think is special. Once in a while, he's going to maybe go over the line and shoot a shot that's a little errant or he might turn it over or make a decision, but even the best of players do those sorts of things.

I'm really impressed with what he can do at this young age. He's really been great and he was good for us tonight, obviously.

Curious if you can explain with a kind of luxury it is as a coach to have a guy like Duncan when the Nets were double and triple teaming him, and didn't score many points but can do so many different things, what kind of luxury is that for you? Can you describe that?

Let me just say, it would be very different without him. I don't know what else to tell you. The guy is an amazing player, because it doesn't matter what gets taken away from him; he finds another way to be involved, whether it's getting rebounds, assists, blocked shots, he's really an all-around player and a team player. He tries to figure out what he has to do to help us win, and I thought he did a fine job of that tonight.

The Nets are lethal with Jason running and pushing it, he only had two rebounds tonight, what did you guys do to keep him out of the rebounding game?

We thought in Game 2, that was something that really hurt us. Jason really put his head down and went after every loose ball, offensive boards down the stretch and made some big shots. It was one of the big challenges we hit Tony with, and, the team in general, that we had to again, rebound, and we had to have all five guys on the board all the time. For a kid like Jason, he is going to figure out a way to get it. Tony, he put a special emphasis on that, but the team had to get that done.

Can you talk a little bit about the younger players on your team, what's it like having so many guys on your team having the NBA Finals be their learning experience?

It's fun for them and it's a life-shortening experience for me. I'm being honest. I think I have about a week left. (Laughter).

Are they learning from their mistakes?

Some nights you might not think they are learning from their mistakes but I think they are. It just takes time. It doesn't happen in one season. I just really felt maybe even in January, February, I could tell our local guys and say we are going to be a lot better the next year or year after. It's going to take us time to get to know each other and get to know the system.

I think they are doing a really good job. They are going to turn it over and no, we don't like it and you're going to ask why we have turnovers and that sort of thing, but that's the way it is. Hopefully over time, those will reduce. I don't know what else to tell you.

Because of the lack of flow in the game in the first half, what did you guys talk about at halftime as far as gaining control of the game?

Well, we thought our defense was pretty good. We thought we had made enough stops and limited them enough and rebounded pretty well, but again, offensively, it looked like nobody on the perimeter had any confidence when Timmy was kicking it. If I remember the box at halftime, we had about five guys on the perimeter 0 for 4 or 1 for 5 and that kind of thing. So we just talked about the fact that that's how we scored all year long. If Timmy is going to get doubled and sacked and all that stuff and chooses to kick it, you have to be aggressive. You can't worry about whether it goes in or not. Just let it fly, it either will or it won't and just move on. That's what we talked about. We had to loosen up offensively to get some guys to knock down shots, and obviously that began with Tony.

In the fourth quarter, it seemed like you guys made a concerted effort to get the ball to Tim and to have everything go through him, is that something you guys did intentionally?

Sure. When it gets to the point where you're going to have to make shots down the stretch, we'd like to go through Timmy. He's going to take it himself in a variety of ways, or he's going to kick it. We have confidence in that perimeter; they have been there all year long, and they have got to get it done and they know that.

I think they did a good job of that in the second half.

Can you discuss the future of your point guard position the next two or three years as you see it?

Well, I think the point guard position is really important on a team and I think it's a position we are going to want to keep on the team, at least for two or three years, I think we should have a point guard. That's definitely something that I think every team should have. (Laughter) Did I answer your question? (Laughter).

Who do you anticipate being your point guard?

I think that, like any position on our team, I don't play favorites. Whoever is playing the best at that time in the position, that's who is going to get the job. Stephen Jackson is starting at 2 right now because he did that. If Tony Parker is the guy that's playing the best next year, then he'll be the point guard.

Tim Duncan: "The pressure is on them"

On the offensive rebound after Tony missed two free throws, what happened?

I just went hard to the middle. Kenyon tried to block me out and I just kind of ducked behind him. Just a lucky bounce and I was there to get it.

You led the team in assists tonight. I don't know what you are most comfortable with, but they double and triple teamed you, do you feel at this point that your game is good enough and that you can do whatever they give you?

I've kind of changed my game just about every series throughout these playoffs. If Phoenix, I was more like I was tonight, more of a passer. In L.A. i was more of a scorer and Dallas it was a little bit of both.

So I'm just going to take whatever the defense gives me basically and just try to make my teammates better, and at the same time, continue to attack whenever I can.

That high screen is the most fundamental play in basketball. What is it about the way that you guys run it that gives everybody else so much trouble?

Tony Parker. The kid is good at that thing. With his speed and when he gets rolling a little bit, he can shoot the ball a little bit. His confidence rises. And if you go over the top of it, he's going to turn that corner and get that big fellow on his heels. He's gotten better and better over the years and that's one of his favorite plays. We love to run it, we get a piece of that guy and let him loose.

Can you talk about Tony's maturity. There's been so much talk about Jason Kidd and free agency and your relationship with Jason. Have you had a talk with Tony about it or is he handling it in his usual mature fashion?

He's been great about it. We haven't talked about it. It's not even an issue between us. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I'm very comfortable with Tony and I love what he's doing, obviously. It's never been an issue between us.

There was one play that you were taking the rebound and just running the court and you had a no-look pass. Are you enjoying those moments?

Absolutely. I love to be on the open court. It's fun to get up and down a little bit and not get beat out for a possession. Whenever I can get on the open court and get somebody to finish a play, it's great.

But a no-look pass from a power forward?

It was kind of like looking to the side a little bit.

Can you talk about coming here and stealing their thunder and what do you anticipate in Game 4?

Hopefully a lot of the same. Tonight offensively, we were a little bit sloppy in the first half. When you score 30 points in a half, that's not great. They stole one there. We didn't play very well at all. Defensively, they were very good. We really shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers and missed free throws. We felt very confident coming into here that we would have an opportunity to play well, make some free throws, keep our turnovers down. We didn't do that a lot in the first half but the second half we got better and better. We just played like that the whole way through, which was a difference from the game before, where we had long stretch where we didn't really do anything.

Talk about the way momentum switched, obviously coming off the game the other day and just the fact that now at least you have the home-court advantage back.

Yeah, it's a weird series because it goes 2-3-2. It's kind of like we don't have home court yet with the two games remaining here, but it was great to get back to this point.

As I said, we gave one away at home. We would have loved to come here 2-0 and really put the pressure on them, but we are right where we want to be. We have the opportunity to go into Game 4, get another one and really put them on their backs.

So, the pressure is on them. We are right where we want to be.

What is it that makes you guys such an effective road team? You have a young backcourt and it's supposed to be veteran teams that are better on the road than at home. You shoot better in every category on the road.

I think our focus is just better on the road. We have less distractions. We come together more as a team. We don't have the opportunity to sit there and listen to fans and try to get the fans behind us. We're focusing more on what's on the court and what's at hand.

I think because we are young, that's better for us. We can kind of block everybody out. We draw energy from each other. We focus more on each other and what we are doing and let everything else go.

Can you talk about the boost you got from Malik there in the fourth quarter and then Manu's play at the end of the game?

Malik was great for us. He had not been playing well all game and hadn't had a great series so far, but when he plays with that kind of energy, it gives us such a boost. He really had that fire and once he had that dunk, he took over for a couple of minutes there and made some good plays in a row.

And then Manu made his play. That team play is what we've been playing with in the entire playoffs. That's when we are at our best, when we get different guys, like Manu getting in the passing lanes and steals, Jack hitting 3s, Malik getting to the board and making plays, David blocking shots, we get a lot of people involved in the game and a lot of people feeling great about themselves, it's good for us.

Emanuel Ginobili: "Anybody can get lucky once"

Can you talk about the steal late in the game?

I just saw a pick and roll and I tried to jump it. I knew he (Kenyon Martin) was going to try to shoot it, but I saw the hole there and tried to get it. It was a fortunate play.

What about the runner you made?

There’s not much time to hesitate. I think that the shot clock was running down. I knew that Kenyon was coming, so I just tried to get it high.

Did that shot deflate them?

I don’t think they expected it, especially from me. Anybody can get lucky once.

Stephen Jackson: "We tried to make them shoot"

What was the difference tonight?

We just kept our composure. We wanted to make sure we played hard for four quarters and not get caught up in their crowd and in their runs. We countered their runs and kept our composure.

How were you able to get their big guys in foul trouble?

They have to guard Tim Duncan; they’re going to get in foul trouble. We just going to keep giving the ball to Tim and hopefully the outcome will be the same.

How much better are you guys when Tim is finding the right people in the halfcourt?

We’re a totally different team, especially when Tim’s got it going. If we can get him the ball, and they’re not doubling and letting him go to work, we can be tough to beat. That’s our game. We want to play inside out. When we’re knocking down shots, we’re tough to beat.

Can you talk about that zone defense tonight?

They don’t have too many shooters that want to shoot from that zone. I think Kerry (Kittles) is their best shooter. I think the zone worked well for us. We tried to make them shoot, so we could get our running game going.

Tony Parker: "A lof of things can happen in the summer"

Tony Parker talk about the way you've handled the situation, three games into the NBA Finals and having another big game tonight.

I try to not put too much pressure on myself. I think about my matchup against Jason Kidd, the main thing is, it's the Spurs against the New Jersey Nets and just try to run my team and try to be aggressive. Coach Pop wants me to be aggressive and that's what I'm trying to do.

Talk about you and Manu, international guys, young guys, come in here and make most of the crucial plays of the game.

Well, Manu, he's a very good player. All season long he made some big shots. In Europe he played some big games, won the Euro League and some MVPs, so the NBA Finals is the same thing for him, a lot of pressure, a lot of attention, all of the media so I don't think it's going to affect him.

For me, it doesn't affect me at all. I'm still concentrating on the game.

What has Pop told you and talked to you about this season, especially going into the Finals, about free agency and how to handle that uncertainty?

Well, he never talked to me, not much about free agency. A lot of things can happen in the summer. I read everything he said in the newspaper, and he just told me that I was mature and he needed to talk to me. He didn't tell me nothing.

He's not giving you any assurances?

No, not at all. You know, the NBA is a business and I can't let that affect me. I still have to play my game and the only thing I control is to try to make my team win. I can't control what the Spurs are going to do this summer if they are going to take Jason Kidd or if I'm going to play with them.

Timmy led you guys in assists, tonight they double and triple teamed him and obviously he found a way to help you win. How do you stop him?

He did that all in the playoffs. He's our quarterback. They can't stop him so they try to double and triple team him. He's got a lot of confidence in me and Jack and Manu, so we have to be ready to knock those shots, those big shots. Timmy, he's a great player, he's our MVP and he's very smart. He knows when to shoot the ball and when to pass it.

The high screens is one of most fundamental and oldest plays in basketball. What is the way that you run it that gives all of these other teams fits?

I don't know. I just try to read how they are going to play me, because they are going to stay on Timmy, because Timmy is very dangerous. Obviously, he can hit the outside shot and that can hurt you if he rolls to the basket. I try to play out of it, that's it.

You said you try not to get caught up with the Kidd matchup, but do you see it as whoever gets the better of the matchup between you two, that team is going to win the game?

Not really because you've got some other matchups that are key, too. Kenyon against Tim, our bench against their bench. It's a team, team basketball, and you can't say that our matchup is going to win the series.

Did Pop tell you guys anything right before the game? What did he want you to do?

He didn't say nothing special. Just to play our game, and that we worked hard to be there all season long, and just to be aggressive. He didn't say nothing special.

You're obviously quicker than Jason. Is it a combination of that, and also the fact that they are trying to dig back on Tim that's giving you a little more space to operate?

It's definitely helping to have Tim Duncan on my team. It helps definitely because he draws so much attention. It helps me to try to penetrate and get some easy baskets, some open shots. It's like Kobe with Shaq, or Magic with Jabbar; it helps.

Were you looking at the score wondering if it was an NBA game, and why were you so you successful if everyone else was struggling in the first half?

It was like a European game. Everyone was struggling. It was all defense. In the second half, you know, everybody made a couple shots and I think that we made a pretty good run in the fourth quarter and got a hold on our lead.

Jason has shot poorly in two of the three games. What are you doing that's making him shoot poorly?

I don't know. I don't know. Just try to play aggressive defense and try to pressure him, try to get inside. That's it.

How do you feel about playing the entire second half?

I'm happy. If I'm on the court, I'm happy. They didn't change nothing at all. Pop played me a lot of the second half against Dallas, against the Lakers. It doesn't bother me at all.

David Robinson:"It was really ugly"

You guys seem to attack their big people more tonight. Was that an adjustment you guys made?

Well, after seeing last game and how they wanted to play bigger, I think we did a good job of attacking. Tim (Duncan) made some great moves in there and a lot of times he doesn’t get those calls, but he got some tonight and that helped us a lot in the second half. In the first half, it kind of seemed like it was going the other way. For us to settle down and get the shots we wanted was important.

Why so ugly tonight?

It was really ugly. We had a rhythm for about five minutes and then we kind of held on. It was an ugly game. Both teams missed a lot of shots. We turned the ball over again a lot. It was just an ugly game. It’s always a lot better when you’re making shots and things are going your way, but it’s good too when you can grind it out and get a win on a bad night.

Do you think that you grabbed some momentum back?

A little bit. Obviously, winning the game was important. We definitely want to play a lot better than we did, but this was a big win. But we still need to get back to what we’ve been doing. This isn’t close to what we’ve been doing all playoffs long. We don’t have that good groove, that good rhythm. We’ve got to get back to it.

How much better are you guys when Tim’s finding the right people?

It makes a huge difference. But it’s not just Tim. It’s the other guys getting good movement and making the right cuts. Manu’s a great cutter, Bruce is a great cutter. Usually we can get some of that stuff. Over the last two games, I don’t think we’ve gotten the motion we like to have. I thought it got better in the second half and we had better activity. But Tim is so good down there, he knows how to find guys and knows how to be patient and take his shots. We have to take advantage of that and make the game easier for all of us.

Byron Scott: "It's a minor setback"

You guys came out doing what you wanted to do, but what wound up happening in the end? Where did it go wrong?

Just so many things, I guess you could probably point to. As far as we're concerned, we had way too many turnovers. We can't turn the ball over like that. That's not our team. We probably pressed a little bit, but that was probably the biggest difference, the fact that we had 20 turnovers. If we keep that down to a minimum, obviously it gives us more opportunities.

And then you have to give them credit. They made big shots and big plays, big stops when they had to. It's going to be like this the rest of the series. Both teams are physical, both teams are aggressive, both teams take a lot of pride in their defense, so it's not going to be a lot of high-scoring games. But I was proud of the way our guys competed. Obviously we made some mistakes at the end, not blocking out at the free throw line and getting second chances like that. In a series like this, those type of things kill you.

How damaging was it when Tim got the offensive rebound on the second miss by Tony Parker and how did you see that was able to happen?

I don't know how it was able to happen, to be honest with you. I really didn't get a good bird's eye view of what was going on. I'll get a better look, obviously, on tape when I get a chance to look at it.

Tim Duncan is one of those guys, he assumes every free throw is going to be missed and he goes after every one. We just didn't do a good job of keeping him out of there, for whatever reason. He gets that back and then they get another foul or whatever the case may be, I know they scored and that right there was probably the difference.

Can you talk about Parker taking over the game in the fourth, what he did to do that and how big of a setback is this, losing the first game at home?

Tony played great. He had a great game. He made some big shots for them. He had 26 points so he was knocking down shots on a consistent basis tonight.

Setback, it's a minor setback. We have two more games at home. We have to focus in on Game 4. We want to get this thing tied up, and then we'll start talking about Game 5.

You know, it's not a major setback right now. They did what we had done last game. They took back home-court advantage so we have to make sure that this thing goes back to San Antonio.

What were the factors of controlling the tempo?

I thought we got into our style, in the first quarter. Obviously, the second quarter, we didn't. Third quarter, we got into it a little bit. Fourth quarter, we kept trying to push the tempo and get it into our tempo, but we just never could sustain it. I don't know what the reason is, to be honest with you. Again, I would have to look at the tape tonight. But you've got to give them credit again. They did a good job of getting back.

Like I said, when we have 20 turnovers, we are not going to win a whole lot of ballgames. We were trying to press the issue, which is good because that's what I want us to do, but we have to make sure if there's nothing there, we have to bring out the offense.

It seems that Tony has had a very consistent Finals. What are the things that he's doing that are difficult for Jason; what is Jason not doing? It seems when Jason is not playing a good, consistent game, you guys don't have success.

They are doing a real good job of setting good picks for him, basically, and he's doing a real good job of exploiting it. He's knocking down shots. If he's not doing that, he's trying to get to the basket to create shots for his teammates.

Tony is a good player. You've just got to give him credit. He's doing a good job out there.

Do you sense that Jason is pressing too much?

No. No, I don't.

I know you said not a major setback, but is it a blown opportunity in that you had a game pretty much sort of in hand going into the fourth quarter and it gets away?

I don't think we had it in hand. We were not up double digits or anything like that. We had a lead but at one point in time, I never thought the game was in hand either way. The biggest lead we had was 8 points in the first quarter and I think going into the fourth quarter was three or four points.

It's not a major setback. It's a minor setback right now. We have to make sure we stay focused and come back ready to play for Game 4.

Jason Collins: "We couldn't get on the break"

How frustrating is it to lose this game when you play so well in the paint?

It’s tough, but we have to bounce back. We had a good opportunity to win tonight, but we just didn’t get the job done, didn’t finish well in the fourth quarter. We have to give them a lot of credit. We’ll bounce back next game.

What was the problem setting the tempo?

We really couldn’t get on the break, their zone really made us slow down. We just have to do a better job of attacking it, and we will in the next game. That first half was really a defensive ballgame.

How important is the contribution of Richard Jefferson for these upcoming games?

It’s very important that all of us play at an extremely high level. It’s going to take a team effort to beat a team like the Spurs. I’m sure everybody will have a great game next time.

How important was it to them to start the fourth quarter hot?

They did a good job of coming out in the fourth quarter. They made a run at us and we really didn’t respond well to it. We’ve got to give them a lot of credit for coming out strong in the fourth quarter, and we know what we have to do is stay aggressive and keep playing solid defense. We did a good job at the defensive end tonight. It was just offense, missed a lot of open looks, missed a lot of easy baskets that we should’ve and could’ve finished. We can’t think about that right now; we just have to go on into the next game and bounce back the next time out.

Richard Jefferson: "I have to find a way to be effective"

Was sitting on the bench for the last 4 ½ minutes tough?

This is a team effort. If I’m struggling that’s when you need your teammates. There are going to be nights when I can’t put it in the hole and that’s why it’s key to have a bench. I’m on the bench rooting for whoever is in the game just like they are rooting for me.

How tough is it when Kenyon gets that fifth foul?

It’s tough. That’s the whole momentum of the game, but, again, everybody has to pick up the slack. If Kenyon Martin is in foul trouble or if I can’t hit my shot … that’s why we are a team and everybody has to pick it up.

What are they doing to slow you down?

It’s a man’s game out there, but taking that into consideration, I’m a slasher, what I do is I get to the hoop. I get free throws. Tim Duncan and David Robinson are a great pair down there, but when you get to the line two times one game and don’t get to the line at all the next game, it’s tough to be effective. That’s what I do. My teammates tell me to continue to be aggressive, but when you go to the hole you get like a piñata out there, get beat up, tossed around, it’s tough to finish. But it’s a man’s game. I don’t complain to the refs. I’m not one of those players. I go out there and play hard, but I have to find a way to be effective.

Jason Kidd: "We're not supposed to win"

That high screen is one of the most fundamental plays of basketball, but the way the Spurs run it is giving everybody trouble in the playoffs this year. What is it about the way they run that high screen that's so problematic?

Well, you're going to have two guys to execute it to start, and with Tony and Duncan, you're talking about talented guys. They have been running it all season, and it's giving everybody trouble. It's giving us trouble and we've got to find some way to defend it, because Tony runs it extremely well.

When Kenyon gets that foul and comes back in, can you see the difference in the way he plays and how that affects you guys?

Well, I think K plays extremely hard whenever he is out on the court, and for him to pick up his fifth foul, it's going to be tough for him to kind of play that soft and not pick up, foul-out. We need K out on the court as much as possible. He had a heck of a game and it was a wasted effort because he definitely played his A Game today.

When he gets in a little foul trouble that definitely hurts us, so we've got to find a way to keep him out of foul trouble.

Are you surprised at the composure of the young backcourt that the Spurs have and are displaying in the last moments of the game? And how hard is it for you guys handling the zone defense by the Spurs?

Well, they are young, so they have handled themselves quite well, from the first round against Phoenix and then the Lakers and Dallas. They have seen it all and done a great job of keeping their composure. For us, we have to find a way to be aggressive in the zone and not so much -- I thought we were passive and taking the jumpshot instead of trying to explore and trying to get into the seams.

Can you talk about what's happened in general, you had 30 points last game and this game you had trouble again getting into a rhythm. Is it the zone and the way they are changing up their defense on you, like tonight, does it make it more difficult for you to get into that rhythm?

Well, I think I had some great looks, and unfortunately, they just didn't go down. I had some great looks, so, you know, unfortunately, they didn't go down for me tonight. I was trying to get my teammates going, Kerry, get him the ball, get K the ball. I just had some layups and wide-open looks that just didn't go down for me tonight.

Are the turnovers a product of you guys trying to push the ball too much? You guys want to run and you have not had much success trying to run in the series?

I don't know how we finished up on the turnovers -- we had 20, wow. That's just too many turnovers. If you're going to try to beat a team like San Antonio -- if you are not getting shots, that plays right into their defensive scheme of things. And also, pounding it back on the other end with Tim Duncan.

We've got to take care of the ball, especially down to crunch time. We had a chance, we were down four, Kenyon got fouled; maybe that might change the game, and then Lucious, we lost the ball down three.

So, anything can happen, but unfortunately, San Antonio came in and won the ballgame.

Any pressure on you guys in Game 4?

There's no pressure on us. We're not supposed to win. So we'll just have to go out there and play and hopefully we can come out and defend the home court. But the big thing, there's no pressure because we're not even supposed to compete. We're just supposed to lay down.

The big thing is for us to go out there and try to get a win in Game 4 and continue to keep playing the way that we've played. We gave ourselves the chance to win a ballgame tonight and unfortunately, we came up on the short end.

You guys saw their zone in Game 1 and they went away from it in Game 2. Was there anything different about what you saw tonight and why was it seemingly so effective?

I think because we were playing with the ball on the perimeter instead of catching and penetrating and finding the gaps.

And then, also, maybe we were more pass and shoot, because it is inviting when you're open and then if you don't make that shot, that, again, plays right into their scheme in the sense that they are going to get the rebound and come back. We just have to be patient, and again, attack the seams and take the shots when it's open. Even if it's off the first, we have to be aggressive in the zone and we'll see a lot more of that.

At the end of the game, Aaron Williams on the high post in the cut, this is the first time in the series you guys have had a backdoor-type play, is there something they are doing to cut that lane off for you guys?

No, we're just saving it. (Laughter).

They get out on the passing lanes and I think we just called the right play at the right time and we took advantage of them being aggressive.

Is there something they are doing defensively the rest of the time to cut off your backdoor cuts? It was a surprise to go see you guys get one.

Yeah, they have got 14 feet back there, they have got David waiting for you, and then if you get past him, you have Tim to contend it. They can get out of the passing lanes because they know they have two seven-footers back there to protect them. You have to find something in the mid-range, you have to have a mid-range game in this series if you're going to have any success.

Kerry Kittles: "It was frustrating"

It has to be frustrating, considering the game was there for you.

Yeah, it was frustrating. The fourth quarter was right there. They did a good job late in the game of making plays and we didn’t.

How do you create more offense?

It’s frustrating to a certain extent. We were trying to move the ball against their zone, but they did a good job of matching up against us and contesting jumpshots. Then, if you put the ball on the floor and try to drive in the paint you have a tough shot over their seven-footers.

Is it hard to get shots when you are working so hard on defense?

You’re working hard on defense, you are spending a lot of energy over there and concentrating really hard, but on the other end of the court you really want to come over and get some quality possessions. We always talk about trying to make our teammates better and passing the ball. Tonight, we didn’t do a good job of that.

Kenyon Martin: "We have to be more aggressive versus the zone"

Tim Duncan, you have tried all different things, double teaming, triple teaming and tonight he led in assists. At what point do you shake your head and think maybe you can't stop this guy.

When the series is over.

What happened on the rebound after the second Tony Parker miss?

Just slipped out right out from me. I thought I had a body on him, he just slipped right off from me. Bottom line. I thought I had it. Our bodies rubbed but he slipped off and got a rebound, so that kind of hurt a little bit.

Byron calls it a minor setback. You lost home-court advantage, you have a lead in the fourth quarter that gets away, is it a minor setback or is it more significant than that?

For me, I want to win every game, so. We played well at stretches, but this one hurt a lot, we thought we had it. But like Coach said, we have to focus on Game 4 now. We have to come out and put our focus and attention and energy in Game 4 and try to get that one and see how it plays out.

You guys haven't really got on track offensively in any of these three games. Is that 3-2 zone robbing you guys? Is that tough to play against?

No. We have a zone offense. We're just not making shots like we do on a consistent basis. We have guys that can knock down shots and we're missing a lot of easy shots. We just have to be more aggressive versus the zone, penetrating the ball, different things like that.

Could you talk about the tempo of the game and the scoring going on, it really is suiting you guys, do you have a sense that because of the series going the way it is, that you are right there and that it's not going to take much to gain control of it?

Right there, ain't going to get it done. The tempo favored us in the first quarter a little bit but it favored them the rest of the game. We got up and down the first quarter and we didn't do a decent job of that in the second, third and fourth quarter.

The scores, I think they want the score like it is, but we want the score a little higher. They are doing a decent job of getting back and stopping our fast break and things like that, so we have to find other ways to score.

Dikembe Mutombo: "The fourth game is going to be a must win"

What went wrong tonight?

I don’t think anything went wrong. Both teams played great defense. We just didn’t make our shots. We just didn’t finish some of the opportunities that we got tonight.

How does this team create more offense if you can’t get it going on the break?

I think it is something that we have to look at. We’ll talk about it after the game. The adjustment will be there quick. I think we have to go a little bit big and throw more body on them and make them see what they are going to come up with on the outside. We were small a little bit when they went zone on us and then our shooters were having a hard time shooting against their bigs, so we should have went big as well.

They raised their intensity and you knew they were going to come back strong.

I think the only intensity I saw there was they stayed on our shooter. They didn’t give us the chance to get an easy basket out there down the stretch. Every time one of our shooters had the ball they were all up in his face. So we’re going to try to go inside more and that can open up more outside.

Game 4 is a must-game now.

Yeah, the fourth game is going to be a must win. There’s nothing we can look at right now. The only thing we have to do, we have to come and jump on them from the beginning, be very aggressive and try to win the game.

The transcription of the press conference is provided by the NBA

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