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June 7, 2004

Rasheed Wallace


Q. Could you talk about the effect it's had on you, just changing cities, changing teams? A lot of people talk about players can use a change of venue as a fresh start, and just are you surprised at the open arms you've been welcomed with by your teammates, as well as the fans of Detroit?

RASHEED WALLACE: Well, no, not really, for the simple fact that one, I knew the majority of the guys before I got here to Detroit, playing against them and friends with others. So as far as the team goes, no, I wasn't too much surprised. As far as the city, the city has embraced me with open arms which is it all good. That's major love. But, you know, you figure, okay, if any good basketball player, you know, like say right now, Laker fans hate Tim Duncan, but if Tim Duncan was to come here to the Lakers, everybody would love him on the Lakers. You know what I'm saying? That's kind of sort of how I feel with it.

Q. How has it helped you as a player, your perspective about the burdens of the way things had happened in Portland had started to weigh you down a little bit, did you feel like some weight was removed from you?

RASHEED WALLACE: No, I wasn't feeling weighed down when I was in Portland. Just still going out there and playing basketball, even though we didn't win the way that we wanted to win, still going out there and playing basketball. And like I said, the City of Detroit has definitely welcomed me. There is not no type of beef or gripe or anything bad I can say about the organization or the city itself.

Q. Earlier today one of the Lakers, Gary Payton, did not come to the podium and he's probably going to get fined. What's your feeling, is it too much to ask of the players in these situations? Is it fair, what's your whole -- as far as dealing with the media in Finals situations and situations like that?

RASHEED WALLACE: I ain't mad at him. Probably y'all know how I feel about the media already over the last few years. So, you know, I'm not mad with him, and nine times out of ten, they probably will fine GP, but I'm pretty sure it ain't no sweat off his back.

Q. Do you think too much is asked of you guys during these playoff situations to meet the media every day? Do you think it's fair?

RASHEED WALLACE: Pretty much, it's crazy. What different questions will you ask from today and tomorrow morning? What's going to be different? Nothing too much. You only can rephrase questions but so many times.

Q. Can you talk about how the depth and defense that you guys have that gives you confidence in this series, because you're not a team that relies on one or two guys or your jumpshots to fall? What does this do for your confidence?

RASHEED WALLACE: It definitely lifts the confidence of everybody on the team. When the first five is out there, we have the bench supporting us, they are up cheering and everything. And then when a couple of guys from the bench go in there, it's vice versa, you know, they are coming off the bench, they are ready. They are just as hyped as we are when we go into the game so, the bench definitely plays a big part in this series.

Q. How about the defense?

RASHEED WALLACE: The defense is real critical because defense wins championships. You can go out there and score a million points, but if you're giving up a million and one, what good is it? So defense is definitely critical at this time in the series and this time of the season.

Q. If you win a championship here or come real close how tough is it going to be for you to leave, especially the way Detroit has embraced you?

RASHEED WALLACE: Well, there again, I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm just concentrating on this game tomorrow. That's more for sort of after the season or, you know, after this Finals round. Then I'll sit down and think about if I'm coming back or whatever.

Q. Does making it to The Finals change your thinking at all in the last couple of weeks?


Q. Larry Brown said earlier today, he complimented you on how last night, a lot of superstars would not have been able to stay on the bench for as long as you did and stay in the game and come back in and contribute as you did. Was that a maturation process for you from earlier in your career is that something you've grown into becoming?

RASHEED WALLACE: I've always been like that. It's up to the coach. If he even decided to start somebody over me, what am I going to say? What am I going to do? When he calls on me, what, am I not going into the game? It's the coach's decision. And he decided last night, I got into foul trouble, and obviously he had his thinking and his ways. So I sat pretty much that first half, but it wasn't no real sweat off my back. Even if we would have lost, I don't think I would have been upset or, you know, have any type of ill feelings towards LB.

Q. Do you think those attitudes are important to winning teams?

RASHEED WALLACE: Just good attitude, period, to have. That's something I've always had since high school is, it's up to the coach. Some players do that, and you know, you have other players who will complain their minutes or complain about their shots or whatever. But I'm like, hey, if I get out there, if I'm out there for two minutes or out there for 48 minutes, just try to go all-out.

Q. Karl Malone and maybe some of the other Lakers seem more inclined to talk about they missed shots and what they were not doing last night, as opposed to your guys' defense. Is that a surprise or confusing or disappointing to you at all?

RASHEED WALLACE: No, it doesn't confuse or disappoint me, period. If they feel as though that was the reason why they last lost Game 1, so be it. But we know what we done last night; we know what we have to do for tomorrow.

End of FastScripts...

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