May 22, 2023
Game 4: Postgame
Denver Nuggets 113, Los Angeles Lakers 111
Q. AG, can you walk us through that final play where you and Jamal got obviously a really good contest on LeBron?
AARON GORDON: Everybody just wanted to stay home, stay together. They were bringing LeBron to the ball so he could get down to his left hand, almost like a fake hand-back. Everybody did a great job shrinking. 'Mal tied him up down low. I think it was 'Mal that tied him up down low, then got a block up top, and ballgame.
Q. How would you describe the way this team has struck a chord with talent and culture in the way you guys embrace each other?
AARON GORDON: It's just a great mixture. It's a great group of guys. The camaraderie is there, the chemistry is there, the talent is there, the IQ is there and the unselfishness is there. It's really a brotherhood. We really do it for the person next to us.
It's rare. It's rare in this league to find a team that has a bunch of unselfish guys that buy in and really do it for the man next to them.
Q. We just asked Jamal about his journey coming back from injury. Talk about your journey coming from Orlando and the Dunk Contest and All-Star Games and all that stuff to being traded here but no one really helping for a handful of Playoffs until this one. What's that journey been like?
AARON GORDON: It's been a lot of work, a lot of work, a lot of work. Days and days and two-a-days and three-a-days and four-a-days for years and years and years just so you can make maybe one big shot, make one big play or have one big game or one big series. It's been a lot of work.
I'm just ecstatic to come to an organization that plays the right way and has a brand of basketball that's just fun to play, fun to be around and keeps energy in the Ball.
The journey is not over. I'm going to continue to work. Yeah, I'm just enjoying the moment.
Q. Halftime, LeBron looks like he might be going for 50, and you're down 15. Talk about the chatter in the locker room and the attitude when it could have been easy to say, hey, we're going to finish it off in Denver.
AARON GORDON: Yeah, that's never been our mentality. That hasn't been our mentality all year, like to concede. We're not that type of team. We have great competitors on this team, guys with great pride.
We have incredible veteran leadership, guys like Jeff Green, DeAndre, Ish stepping up and really challenging guys in the locker room to play with more urgency, play with more physicality, play with more toughness.
Yeah, Bron was incredible. He is. But it took a collective unit of just coming together and trying to cut his water off to give ourselves an opportunity to get back into the game and then win it.
Q. People may see the sweep and think that was an easy series, but obviously people who watch the games know you had to fight off some comebacks, make your comebacks yourself. Talk about the resilience your team showed winning the series?
AARON GORDON: That team, the Lakers, have no quit in them at all, and we knew that. We knew we were going to have to play 48 minutes of focused basketball, and we're capable of doing that. We've been resilient all year long. We haven't let go of the rope or quit all year long.
It's standard for us, and that's just how we play. That's what it is for us.
Q. Do you remember how you felt or what went through your head when the game officially ended and the clock was at zero?
AARON GORDON: It's almost like shock a little bit. You're just like unsure, like are you sure we don't have more time on the clock? Are you sure we don't have another quarter to play or another game to play? It's just another chance at them winning. Then it's like, oh, no, we won. It's time to get up out of here.
Q. Do you think you could describe just how your relationship with Joker has evolved over the course of the last couple years?
AARON GORDON: You know, on the court it was really good from day one. We understand the game very well. He understands the game. Makes it really simple. He sees you all over the floor, ushers you to make the right play just by kind of a nod of the head or a look of the eyes. He's a maestro with the basketball. He's a savant. It's amazing playing with somebody like that on the floor that understands the game.
And then off the court, it's really cool. He's a guy that has a lot of depth. There's a lot of depth to him. He has a very dry sense of humor and absolutely hysterical. It's been fun getting to know him and building that bond and building that chemistry. Yeah, it's been great.
Q. What is it like for you personally to come up and help with that big stop at the end and get to The Finals compared to where you were last year at the end of that first round, which was frustrating for everyone? What has it been like for you to go from that point to this point?
AARON GORDON: It was a lot of diligence, and my approach to working during the summertime and up until this point, understanding the game and what I could have done better to help my team in that Warriors series last year.
But that was something that we needed to go through, not having Jamal, not having Mike, not having KCP and Bruce. That was something that we needed to go through to expose some of the weaknesses, so I could strengthen them and come back and have a chance at redemption and help my team win this year.
Q. Aaron, your perspective on the chemistry of Jamal and Nikola and how it's developed. They maybe don't get as much respect a duo in this league, but for them to be now performing on the greatest stage in the NBA, how have you seen them grow together?
AARON GORDON: Ooh, that's a bad duo. Those are bad boys right there. I mean, you could stack those two up with anybody. When I say anybody, I mean anybody. You put those two up against anybody, you're going to have a hell of a fight.
Those two together are an absolute problem. The fact that they can both use the pick-and-roll and both set and come off the pick-and-roll, they're both three-level scorers, they both can defend and they're just tough. They're just tough dudes. You could put that two up against anybody and they're going to give anybody you put them up against a run for their money.
Q. What does it say about your confidence level that earlier in the series they're daring you to shoot and in a close-out game on the road you hit three of five threes, stepped into them confidently?
AARON GORDON: It's about the work. The work works. I mean, I rep it. I rep it every day. It's something I work on every day. I'm not worried about whether they're going in or whether they're going out. It's a matter of just shooting them with confidence fundamentally, making sure that my shot is sound, and then the percentages will play out how they're supposed to.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports