September 13, 2022
Game 2: Postgame
Las Vegas Aces 85, Connecticut Sun 71
Q. Becky was just saying that she thought Kelsey being able to get downhill was a huge difference between Game 2 and Game 1. How did you see that impacting the game and just get the Aces going offensively?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, I thought they made a concerted effort to get the ball in the paint. Their schemes to get people didn't hurt us as much as just tremendous one-on-one play that got into the paint all night, and they shot 71 percent inside the arc for the game.
You know, they flipped points in the paint and just dominated that area, and it was mostly off the bounce. There were some slips and other things but it was mostly off the bounce and a lot of times, not every time, but a lot of times it was just one-on-one, and Kelsey led the charge there just was relentless in the paint.
Q. Curious how you thought the jumbo lineup worked, you went on a 12-4 run and the Aces seemed to adjust. What do you think they did?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, I thought there were stretches where our big-big lineup did some good things. Changed some of the matchup, our physicality at times. We had a nice stretch when the chess match and we scored a couple of possessions in a row against their zone, which they have gone to and we have got them big and got them out of their zone. But there was runs back at us with that big lineup, also.
Again, it just -- we just felt like we were playing catch up all night because we couldn't string together consecutive stops. And again, we are trying to find disruption. We are trying to keep this high-powered offense out of rhythm, and tonight we really struggled to do that.
Q. You've played against A'ja for years. What is different about the level that she's at right now?
CURT MILLER: First, I just have great respect for how her fitness, nutrition, I mean, she is -- she just can log minutes and play the same way from the start to finish, and she's so explosive right now, so physical. She plays through contact. And it's just been really impressive.
Q. So in the second quarter, you guys were able to draw even at 22-22 heading into -- well, 22-22 specifically in the second stanza. What specifically was it that allowed you guys to get back into the game in that stretch and what was it that showed up in that specific part of the game that didn't show up in the second half?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, I thought in the second quarter, more than most of the game, we settled in and got some stops and found some rhythm. We played with the big lineup. Our three All-Star post players shot 63 percent from the field tonight. They did a lot of really good things. They got to the foul line between those three All-Star post players 16 times alone with those three players. So we had stretches when our bigs had good moments. It was hard to sustain when we were inconsistent with our guard play again.
Q. You've talked through the postseason about managing pressure and not letting things get too tight. How do you manage that going into an elimination game at home?
CURT MILLER: You can't think big picture. That becomes overwhelming and daunting and feels, at times, bigger. It's too big.
So you've got to drill it down and we'll get back to work with our preparation for Game 3, and all we talk about is Game 3, and in particular, all we are going to talk about is the first quarter, and that's our approach. I think if you start thinking we have to win three in a row, we have to do those kind of things, it becomes big. So we are going to talk about Game 3 and Game 3 only and be ready for that first quarter.
Q. What has been the difference for Chelsea Gray? She has just been a completely different player in these playoffs and you all seem to be able to contain her a little bit in the first half and then second half she just did what she's been doing all playoffs. What did you see different in the first half and second half and what have you seen her do differently these playoffs?
CURT MILLER: You know, it's just I've said this a few times. There are a ton of really talented players in this league that make open shots, a ton of really talented players that make open shots. Chelsea Gray makes contested shots. She makes incredibly difficult contested shots. It's a skill that she can be guarded and closed out on and hand in her face and has the -- you know, separating her from a lot of people in this league that she can make those kind of shots.
Again, tonight, of her nine baskets, we got a hand up. We got into her space as well as we could, and still a high percentage of those nine baskets that went in tonight were really well contested. Other players that you play against, you know, would not make nine shots like that. It's just really separating her right now.
Q. It looked like the Aces' spacing was better in Game 2 compared to Game 1. Is there anything they did to manipulate that spacing better or were there game play things that weren't executed on your side?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, I think at moments when they did get penetration, we got deflections and got turnovers. It doesn't -- we need more. We need more than eight against them. It only equated into six points. I have to go back and look at the film and see, did they improve their spacing a little bit? I mean, Kelsey Plum and company just got off our hips all night one-on-one and more discouraging was they got to their strong hands a lot. We have to take away their strong hands.
Q. When you look at the first two quarters, do you think when you look at the first couple quarters of the first two games, the first quarter is always one of the most difficult ones and I feel like Vegas gets off to such a strong start, it's rather frustrating. What do you need to do in Game 3 in order to stop that?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, win the jump ball and make the layup again. That was nice.
Again, first quarter has been a big part of our entire three series and it sets the tone for the game. We have to find disruption and string together some stops early in the game. They were terrific in that first four to five minutes in Game 1. Tonight again they shot a really, really high percentage for most of that first quarter.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports