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June 14, 2004

Chauncey Billups


Q. Could you just talk about your team's ability throughout these four games to play at such a consistently high level. Other than the few seconds at the end of Game 2 in regulation, you guys have really been steady, and how you feel that may lead you guys to be able to do that tomorrow night and possibly close this thing out?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, one thing, we know what we had to do against this team is just play at a high, high level and be consistent in doing that. You know, you never control how your shots are going to go down and at what frequency, but you control your effort. We control our defense. That's one thing we have been able to control this entire year is the effort we put out on the floor and our defensive intensity. You can't control the offensive droughts and shots are going to go down. That's one thing we can control and we knew that coming into the series. Like I said all long, we've played this series with a chip on our shoulder.
Q. How do you think that will translate into Game 5 tomorrow? Do you think there's no way you guys could take a dip, knowing that you've got a two-game cushion? Do you just feel this is the same thing it's been for the first four?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Oh, yeah, we're going to have a -- we're not worried about coming out flat or anything like that. We know that we've got to come out with the same intensity. We talked in the locker room and we all said, we've got to play this game tomorrow like we're down 3-1. We've got to come out scrapping and playing with a sense of urgency, because we know that they will. So we are not worried about that. Like I said, we can't control if the shots go down or not but we can control our defensive intensity and hustle plays and things like that, that we've lived on all year and we've brought energy to our team all year behind stuff like that. So we can control that.
But obviously, we can't control if that ball goes in or not.
Q. Talking around, asking about you as a person, people have generally said that you're a pretty nice guy, and how do you contrast that with your cold-blooded approach on the court, because I think some people may not realize this, but you're one of the best clutch shooters in this league. Could you contrast that, how it changes from off the court to on the court and maybe where you first developed that instinct to go for the kill?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, well, I mean, I'm pretty much two different people, on the court and off the court. Off the court I'm just a humble guy. I just like to laugh and have fun all the time. You know, even-keel, just easygoing dude.
When I get out there on the court, I'm very, very intense, I'm very, very competitive. Like you said, I like to go for the kill, and I've always, since I've played, been like that. It's sometimes been to a fault, me trying to put the dagger in teams and looking to make plays in the clutch, and you know, like I've always said, the best thing about being a clutch player or a player that is not scared to fail. I've failed plenty of times in my career and I'm not scared of that. I may fail again, but I'm not scared of that. I have no problem with that.
But you've got to be able to take risks like that sometimes to succeed and I realize that over my career.
Q. What does it feel like right now to be this close to something you've dreamed about your whole life and still a lot to do before you can get it?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Yeah, it's kind of crazy, because you're this close, but we're still a long ways away, it feels like. We're playing against a team that you give them any momentum and they can beat you three, four straight times in a row and we understand that. Our focus is coming out and being aggressive. You know, it feels good but it's really nothing to celebrate right now. We haven't won a championship and that's the bottom line. That's what we came into this series saying, we've got to win four games, and we've completed our goal. We've won three right now. It's hard, you get antsy, you get excited, but you've got to channel it in the right direction, because this thing is far from over and we understand that.
Q. Considering everything you've been through in your career in the NBA, do you have any idea what this could mean to you to wrap this up tomorrow? Just personally what it would mean?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Personally, I mean, this is what it's all about. This is what you play this game for. When I was eight years old at the rec center, at Scotland (phonetic) Rec Center in Park Hill, I'm dribbling, going through the motion, saying, "this is for the NBA championship, five, four, three, two." This is where it's at. This is what it's all about. Just having an opportunity to do this is really a dream come true. It's a dream. I mean, I couldn't even sleep last night. I didn't even get my chance -- I ain't even lay down long enough to get that much sleep because I'm just so excited. We're so close, yet so far just like I said. This is a dream, man, for me personally. The trials that I've been through in my career, I'm 27 years old now, my seventh year in the League and I think I've played for seven teams, eight or nine coaches, different cities, injuries, just a lot of stuff. But that's the one beautiful thing about this team is I'm not the only one that's traveled those kind of paths. We have some undrafted players that are All-Stars. We have a lot of guys that are in that situation, and I think that's what makes this team so hungry because we know the other side. We know what it feels like to be traded, to be given up on and to be here. We don't take this experience for granted at all.
Q. Can a series like this vault you in the future to the next level as a legitimate NBA point guard, legitimate NBA All-Star? I meant and has it occurred to you, you could end up as the Finals Most Valuable Player?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, I think on a stage like this, anybody that plays well and plays well throughout the season and throughout the playoffs, not just have three or four good games and you haven't played at all during the playoffs or during the season, a player that's been there, that's done that, that just has not gotten that notoriety, I think on a stage like, that it can and should vault you to that level.
You know, I'm looking forward to that, because, you know, so many times I felt like because teams gave up on me early in my career; people just kind of wrote me off. They wrote me off and didn't really respect the game that I had and the impact that I make on my team. So hopefully it does. If we win a championship, God willing, we can win a championship, hopefully it does. I think I'm deserving. I do the same things that all of the other guys that are All-Stars do and lead my team, winning team. You know, I'm not really a stat guy, but my stats stack up with everybody else's, too, so I don't see why not.
Q. Has it occurred to you, you could be the MVP in the series if you guys wrap it up?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: I mean, the one thing about our team that I love, man, is we got so many guys that can hurt you in so many different ways. So I just think that whoever wins the MVP will feel like really we can just break that trophy up into 13 pieces and give everybody a piece, you know what I mean. That's how our team is. That's what's so beautiful about our team is we know that that's really not one superstar, but as a committee, we all do it. Nobody cares who scores or who gets alley-oops, as long as it's getting done, nobody cares.
Q. What has Larry Brown been able to do to get this team to the next level and now one win away from the title that Rick Carlisle couldn't do in the past?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, it's a different team than Rick Carlisle had. Last year we had a very good team, very experienced team, but this year, even before Rasheed, we got a lot more athletic at the start of this year. We lost two great veterans that we needed very much last year in Michael Curry and Cliff Robinson and Jon Barry, three actually. We replaced those two guys in the starting lineup with Tayshaun Prince and Mehmet Okur, we got longer, younger and more athletic. This year we played a little more up-tempo than we did last year with Rick Carlisle. It's two totally different situations. I thought Rick did a great job with what we had last year and I think Larry's getting the most out of us.
Q. Do you think Rick got a bad deal because he got you so far and he they decided to replace him with Larry?
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: Well, that's not really for me to judge. We're here to play. Joe Dumars and everybody else is here to make those decisions on who does what. But like I said, we did it. We had a great season with him. We had a better season with Larry. You know, I can't really compare those two.

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