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June 6, 2004

Rasheed Wallace


Q. How good was Tayshaun's defense on Kobe tonight?

RASHEED WALLACE: Tayshaun did a good job on Kobe. We thought, you know, there was a couple of tough plays for Kobe, either got by him or hit the jumpshot, but, hey you've just got to stay consistent with it and that's what Tayshaun did.

Q. This has to be a satisfying win for two reasons for you: You are booed by the L.A. fans, remember your Portland days, and then everybody seems to write you guys off before the first game, so what was the atmosphere in the locker room and it must be an enormous amount of satisfaction on the team's part?

RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, you know, we're excited or whatever, but can't get too excited. It's only one game. It's a race to four so we can't sit up here and get overzealous over one win. That's how teams lose. That's how you go out there in that second game and playing lackadaisical and you lose or fall apart. We just take it one game at a time.

Q. How did it feel to sit so long in the first half, and did you feel you were getting taken out of the game a little bit and how come you were so active today on offense as usually you are so much more passive?

RASHEED WALLACE: Well, I mean, just as far as the first half goes, it was so many things you've got to deal with as far as foul trouble, I had to sit, what, for mad minutes, I missed all the second quarter. I missed three minutes of the first quarter, so, I mean, I was still kind of fresh a little bit in the second half and just came out and tried to supply the team with energy. They were out there busting their butts while I was on the bench. I had the energy and had to leave it on the floor.

Q. Was this the game plan or just the way it turned out?

RASHEED WALLACE: No, just the way it turned out. I just took what they gave me. Rip was curling, he ditched a little bit, Chauncey got me, I just took what they gave me.

Q. In pregame, one, it looked like you were having a good time and joying yourself and then you got in the game and put yourself in the zone, the first game of the Finals, Lakers' home floor, how do you put yourself in that zone?

RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, you just got to play. You can't think of it like, oh, it's the Finals or whatever. We're excited because it's the majority of the guys' first trip here, but like I said, we've still got to play. We're not happy just to be here, like some people would be. Everyone in that locker room is hungry. Before the game, you joke around or whatever, but once that ball goes up, it's all business.

Q. You opened up both halves with 3s, your perimeter game seemed better physically. Do you feel good? No lingering effects?

RASHEED WALLACE: Like I said, I was sitting down for that first half, you know, what, five, six minutes, maybe, tops. So my legs was fresh. I tell what you, guys was out there busting their butts. I knew what I had to do once I got back in the game.

Q. You played against Karl Malone a lot in the Western Conference. Have you ever seen him not making the shots like he did tonight, and is it something you're predicting for the rest of the series?

RASHEED WALLACE: No, we are not expecting that the rest of the series. Karl, he didn't store them 32,000-33,000 points nothing. I think what it was, he just didn't have the opportunities. Usually when he was in Utah, he was getting the ball four out of every five possessions. Here he's limited a little bit. He just wants to win. Out there talking to him, he just wants to win.

Q. Was it your defense?

RASHEED WALLACE: I wouldn't necessarily say it was my defense. I think it was a team effort tonight. So not one particular person was smothering the ball or whatever. It was team defense.

Q. Talk about the performance of Chauncey Billups.

RASHEED WALLACE: I think Chauncey did pretty well tonight. I didn't get a chance to see the stats, so I'm not sure what his assist/turnover ratio was tonight, but, I mean, you know he kept things together pretty well, and in crunch time when they were trying to come back in the game, Chauncey just slowed it down, make sure we executed the plays.

Q. How important is it to be aggressive in the Finals against a team like the Lakers?

RASHEED WALLACE: You've got to be aggressive, period, in the Finals no matter if it's us, no matter if it's the Lakers, it could be whoever. It's the last few games of the season, so you've got to be aggressive. If not, you're going to kick yourself in the butt all summer saying, I coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Q. Winning Game 1 in such convincing fashion, how do you guys make sure the emotions do not get the better of you going into Game 2? Shaq said it's a must-win in Game 2 for the Lakers, how do you guys address that issue?

RASHEED WALLACE: We've still got to go out there and play. Just try to do some of the things that we did tonight, and just go out there and play.

End of FastScripts...

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