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June 10, 2004

Chauncey Billups


Q. Could you talk about the morale of the team after Game 2 and the way you responded tonight?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, you know, it was a heartbreaker to lose that game, being in control with 30 seconds left. You know, we've lost some tough ones this year and come back that next game and played a little flat, and today -- you know, we learned from that. We wanted to come out, we came in yesterday and watched the film and let it go. We came in and just let it go. We learned form our past experiences earlier in the season and we came out very aggressive. We knew this team would come on our first home game and be very aggressive and try to push the tempo a little bit. They did that, we had them scouted well. It was just a combined effort from everybody. Tayshaun was phenomenal doing a defensive job tonight in limiting Kobe to really only 13 shots.

Q. You guys controlled pretty much the majority of the minutes in the three games this series. Do you guys feel like you guys are the better team thus far?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, you know, we know we're playing against a great team. We just don't want to give them too much momentum. We feel as a unit, we are a great unit. We play together, we know that they have got some great individual players that are almost unstoppable to play one-on-one. But for us, you know, we've just got a great unit. We can hurt you in so many different ways, you know, Rip can get going. Rasheed can get going. Tay hits big shots. I can get going. Our bench is very good. Just as a team, I think we are just a very, very good basketball team.

Q. Talk about the big guys, Wallace and Wallace, and the job they are doing in causing that kind of confusion for Shaq and some of the other players up front for the Lakers.

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: I think Ben and Rasheed and Elden, Okur, I think as a whole, they are doing a great job. They are fighting very, very hard down there. You know, they have got a tough task, man, playing against that big guy. He's immovable, so we try to just change up our defense and play him in different ways and just not let him know how we're coming, when we're coming, where we're coming. Sometimes we play head up, sometimes we front, sometimes we come from the back side. We are just trying to mix it up and I think those guys are doing a great job of battling. Even when he does get a shot up, not letting him get another shot, you know, boxing him out. I think those guys are really just going a great job. On the other end they are looking to be aggressive and attack when they have opportunities. I think they are doing a great job.

Q. You seem to be striking a balance now between when to shoot and when to pass. Do you feel like you're in your groove that way now as a point guard?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: You know, I'm just trying to be aggressive. When I'm aggressive, you know I'm looking to make plays. Whether it's for myself or somebody else, if I can come off a screen-and-roll, then I've got a shot, I'm going to take it. If I come off and they take me, I'm going to make that pass. Might not be the scoring pass, but it's a pass to get it to the other side of the court. I know they will probably make some adjustments and things like that, but, you know, I'm feeling good.

Q. Coach Brown said he was not happy with the number of assists you guys dished out on the first half. What did he tell you at the half?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, he just said that, you know, we weren't sharing the ball, and I don't know if it was that, we just couldn't make shots, you know, it was 39 points. There wasn't that many assists to be had. That's usually a telling stat for us. When we don't have a lot of assists, that means we're really not getting the ball from side to side and not getting out and getting fast break points. So, you know, today we didn't have that many, but we played good enough defense where we was able to get by in a convincing win. Usually when he says something, he's right. You know, he's right. It's just different ways to get assists. Sometimes it's not an assist, the ball might be moved from side to side and two or three people touch it, but it's not that assist for that guard. You know what I mean? It all works out at the end.

Q. Can you talk about the challenge the next two games, knowing if you can do it here possibly?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, we're not thinking about Game 5 right now at all, man. We've got to think about Game 4. We've got to take this thing, really, one quarter at a game. People talk about one game, but with a team like this, who can get the momentum, it's very hard to stop. You look at what they did, Kobe shot that shot at the end and they rode that momentum and really blew us out in overtime the other day. We are taking this thing one quarter at a time. You've got a chance, you look down the road like that, but we can't look down the road. This is a team that's been battle tested, that's been in these situations time and time again, with some great players with a lot of experience, so we can't look at that. We've got to worry about how we are going to play Game 4, period.

Q. You've been around the league, you've had a lot of coaches, Pitino, a big crew, you guys are in unbelievable shape. What did Larry Brown do differently throughout the season that other coaches didn't do?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, you know, we practice hard. We practice hard. In practicing hard, even if you play a lot of minutes, nobody on this team sits out of practice, ever, unless it's a bad injury. So you look at other teams that I've been on, and it's easy to fall out of shape during the season if you're not playing a lot of minutes because you're not practicing that hard. We practice hard. We go through things very hard in game-like situations. He emphasizes that. He doesn't allow you the opportunity to fall out of shape a little bit, slip out of shape a little bit, because we go so hard.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Tayshaun Prince, a young guy playing against Kobe Bryant, a guy he admits was his idol. Do the veteran players talk to him about settling him down or do you just come to this Finals with a mature attitude?

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, Tay, he's a younger player but he's very mature for his age. If you look at this year's playoffs, he's had some very tough match-ups. The first round he had Desmond Mason, second round he gets Richard Jefferson, third round he gets Ron Artest and now he gets Kobe. He's had some tough, tough matchups and he just steps up to the challenge. His length and his athletic ability I think bothers a lot of people. I think it really bothered Kobe tonight. Tay is a guy who you really don't have to -- you don't have to sit down and have talks with him, because he's really a mature player for his age and he knows what it takes and he knows how to get it done. I think he's playing great.

End of FastScripts...

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