October 9, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 5: Pregame
Q. For a close-out game like this, do you keep it to the just about the game, this is what we have to do for this game, or is there any kind of overarching message that you want to send with the opportunity to close out?
FRANK VOGEL: Yeah, we want to stay away from all those other thoughts and keep our minds and our focus on the task at hand, and all the details that go into execution, all the competitive spirit, particularly, that we played with, the urgency that we played with in Game 4, our focus is still remaining in the moment and on the job that still has to be done.
Q. And I know you typically like to wait on the lineup announcement until necessary, but what did you see from the change in the second half going to that smaller group and how do you think that might match up with Miami?
FRANK VOGEL: Yeah, there's positives and negatives to both lineups. I really like Dwight's physicality. We will start him again tonight. He brings a lot to the table on both ends of the floor. We have the ability to slide Kieff [Markieff Morris] in there and play a smaller lineup. Like I said, there's positives and negatives to both lineups.
Q. What is the most memorable moment of this playoff run for you so far?
FRANK VOGEL: Probably the AD shot. I think that was obviously an epic moment in NBA history, not just our team's journey this year. But to see such a dynamic player have such a big moment in a big game like that, that's the first thing that comes to my mind.
Q. Obviously got you a win in the Denver series, but do you think something like that gave your team an extra bit of confidence or extra bit of, you know, we've got something on our side in this run?
FRANK VOGEL: Yeah, well, we've always felt like Kobe was with us; never more than that moment. You know, so obviously, it gave us that Game  win, and really two games from that series. Bron in the fourth quarter in that Game 5 in Denver was also probably right up there with the best moments of our playoff run.
Q. I imagine you're largely focused on the group here in front of you, but how are you keeping Avery Bradley involved as a piece of what you guys are doing?
FRANK VOGEL: He's been in touch mostly through text messages with me. I'm not sure what level he's been in contact with our guys, but we've kept him in the loop over text messages. Obviously he's a big part of our family, of this year's journey, and he's been missed in here.
Q. Kind of along that question, for AD, a guy who has only been in the playoffs two times before this year, I think everybody kind of knew what kind of player he was before this, but what do you think he's shown even more in this sort of run?
FRANK VOGEL: Well, the great ones raise their level when it matters most, and to this point, I think that's what he's shown during this playoff run. He's been spectacular for us on both ends of the floor, and you know, just proves, validates what everybody has always said about him, that he's a great player, but now has the opportunity to show it with a deep playoff run here.
Q. Is there anything to the notion that in a close-out, you have to be the team that hits first? Games, they are 48 minutes long either way, but is there a little bit of an edge to making the other team get away from what it wants to do first before you change a little bit of what you want to do?
FRANK VOGEL: We approach every game with that mindset. We want to be the team that gets the first loose ball, makes the first physicality play, makes the first hustle play, all those types of things.
I don't know if it's different in a close-out game. I think the team that's facing elimination is always going to give their best punch or biggest punch in the first quarter. So sometimes even if you're not the team that jumps out to a lead, the ability to withstand that first punch is something that you have to keep in mind through an elimination game.
Q. You talk about the most memorable on-court moment with the group dynamic seeming so healthy with your entire group as humans. Off the court, do you have a most fond moment you might be able to share with the way you guys seem to connect?
FRANK VOGEL: Off the court, I pretty much just stayed in my room and watched film. I would say just, you know, on a regular basis, we had team events for Monday Night Football or pizza parties, barbecues, those type of things. They come mind, you know, when I'm asked about off-the-court memories.
We had a fun night when we beat the Denver Nuggets and advanced to the Conference Finals. If we're going to pick one singular night that, would probably be the night.
Q. You mentioned a moment before about Dwight Howard starting again. What is it that he's done and what are you seeing and what do you want from him that's kept him in the starting lineup?
FRANK VOGEL: Well, he sets a tone for us with physicality. There's a lot of talk about hitting first and just having that physical presence to start the game is something I like. You know, I don't mind it throughout the game. I haven't had situations where I've come back to him but it's been on my mind throughout, especially with Bam out there. Without Bam, when they have five three-point shooters, it makes it a little bit more difficult.
But you know, he's one of those guys that gives you the lob threat at the rim. He's been a star in his role this year, with not demanding the ball in the low post, being a lob threat, being an offensive rebounder and being a defensive physical presence for us.
He's brought a lot to the table for us all year, and that's what I like about him in the starting lineup.
Q. When you played [Damian] Lillard, and later Jamal Murray, they were probably at the time as hot as anybody in the bubble. Did any of that prepare you for Butler, or is he just a different kind of challenge that his game is too different than guys like that? And did he ever make you a sale, or did he stop asking?
FRANK VOGEL: Did he ever make what?
Q. Did he ever make you a sale, a coffee sale?
FRANK VOGEL: No, I never followed up with that. You know, he's still -- as much as the offer was appealing to me, he still was a potential enemy, so I didn't want to go there, you know, but 20 bucks is a lot for a cup of coffee. I don't know if I would have spent that much, anyway.
The first part of the question was did Lillard and Murray prepare us for guarding Jimmy Butler? Jimmy Butler is very different than those guys but we have had the mindset and this is one of the things that I personally enjoy most about playoff basketball is the ability to attempt to game plan against the other team's best player, the biggest threat. Obviously Bam was a factor. Dragic was playing at a high level. With Dragic out, Butler gets more usage and touches.
So it's been a different type of challenge, but you know, he falls into the bucket of trying to slow down the other team's best player, which is, for a coach, that's what it's all about. That's the most fun part of the job.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports