HoopsHype.com Interviews

Brent Barry: "Ready to go to war"
by Steven Koek / April 11, 2002

How will you approach the remaining games of the season now that you have clinched a playoff spot?

Brent Barry: We need to keep going out and playing. We’re not going to treat the games like exhibitions and throw a bunch of crazy lineups out there because some of the guys who play a lot of minutes have to keep their rhythm, but I think we’re going to try some things and make sure that we execute some things that possibly we’re going to have to use in the playoffs, so we have three games to do that.

Two of those last three games remaining are against potential playoff opponents (Dallas and the Lakers). Will you prepare any differently for those games knowing you may play them in a playoff series shortly?

BB: We could say we’re not going to approach them any differently, then you go play against a Don Nelson team and he starts five guys from Iceland, so we don’t know what’s going to happen with the other teams and how they’re going to play us because their playoff position might be secure. We’ll just see what happens, just three to go. We just need to iron some things out for us and then we’ll look forward to the second season.

Now that the question of whether you will make the playoffs is over, can you afford yourself the opportunity to look at the pairings and look at whom you might be playing?

BB: You can’t really look at that because it’s such a cluster up top and you don’t know, probably until the last day of the season, who we’re going to face. It’s just a matter of focusing on what we need to do and playing some of our guys who have been hurt and haven’t had a chance to get in the rhythm of the game. This next week will afford them the opportunity to do that.

The most common phrase among playoff teams this time of year is “we don’t care who we play, we’re just happy to be here”. Do you have any preference at all?

BB: We’ll worry about that when we are done (with the regular season) and find out who we are up against. Then we’ll get ready to go to war.

Will this playoff appearance be more meaningful in light of missing out last year?

BB: It’s just nice this year because we weren’t expected to be there. We have a chance, depending on who we match up against, to really cause some problems. We’ll just look forward to the opportunity, like we have all year, of just trying to continue to do some of the things on the basketball court that some people don’t think we’re capable of.

You personally have had a solid year statistically, what do you account for the rise in your production?

BB: Just playing. The difference between playing 22 minutes and 38 minutes is fairly significant in this league and I’m just getting to a level of (comfort) out on the court and having the opportunity and on top of that taking advantage of it.

What are your thoughts on the job Nate McMillan has done in his first full year as Head Coach?

BB: I think he’s done a great job. People who are not familiar with what the Sonics had to start the year, we were relying on Calvin Booth, a big free agent signing, we were relying on Vin Baker to have a comeback year and he sat out for over a month, we have Rashard Lewis get injured a couple of times, (so) we had to play a lot of rookies who hadn’t had any NBA experience and we were able to make the Western Conference playoff race. It’s a pretty solid coaching job by Nate and I know that he’s very happy for the guys in the locker room that they’ve achieved something like this.

Steven Koek is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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