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May 23, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


Q. You said that they guarded your guards well. What was it specifically that they were doing to Dwyane to close the space around him?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, I mean, Tayshaun Prince has great, great length, which allows him to play off of Dwyane, probably play him with a bigger cushion than anybody else in the league plays him with and still get a hand up. It makes it tough to get room to go to the rim. He can bother shots. I think that we can make some adjustments hopefully to help Dwyane. I think Dwyane can take a look at it and make some adjustments and he'll come back strong. It's been a trademark of him over two years to make those kind of adjustments the playoffs. It's his fifth playoff and he's done it in every series and we have great confidence he'll be able to make tomorrow adjustments and play better in this series. I'm not sure I did much to help him tonight. We've got to try to take a look at some things and try to get him in some better spots and with a little bit more room.

Q. You mentioned Shaq not being as good in the second half. Did you feel that -- you said he really gutted it out. Did you feel it was an endurance and conditioning issue or that it was attributable to the leg?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: You'd have to ask him. I know he got off to a great start. He was playing really, really well. I didn't think he ever played badly. He just had a little bit more trouble getting the ball in the basket in the second half. I think he was 1 for 6. But he was out there, he was contesting shots at the rim, battling hard. I have a lot of respect for what he did tonight because it is tough for a guy, and I've seen it with other guys, it's tough for the great players to go out there in games like this when they know they're not at their absolute best because they don't want to look bad. He went out there and did it for the team tonight. I mean, he's given us everything he has. Our other guys saw that. He was very effective. I think he will continue to be effective in the series, and we've just got to get some better performances out of other people, but we can't worry as much about the offense as -- we've got to defend better. They shot a very high percentage tonight. Any time you're giving a team above 45 percent, that's just not going to get it done and we can't get out-rebounded by seven. If you look, 15 to eight on second-chance points is huge.

Q. Can you just take us through before the game how you guys made the decision for him to play.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: He said he was going to go, that was it. He was determined he was going to try to play on it tonight. We were told to play him in shorter stretches, five, six, seven minutes at most and also not to sit him for too long so it wouldn't tighten up, so we did that.

Q. You talked about the high shooting percentage and rebounding. Rasheed Wallace was the big factor in both those departments. Talk about his impact on the game.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Rasheed was tremendous. Obviously going 4 for 5 from three, I think we can do a little bit better job closing out on him, but at the same time you've got to give him credit. He knocked down 4 out of 5. The guy is a 31 percent three-point shooter. Ben Wallace made points in the third quarter. He was able to knock down shots, did a great job on the boards and obviously had a great presence defensively at the rim, also. I really think looking at it, those three guys were the difference in the game, along with their defense on our guards.

Q. I saw you using Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille in the lineup at the same time. Do you think as the series progresses you're going to give this combination a lot more extended time to try to offset the two Wallaces?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, it's possible. A lot of it comes down to, again, how many minutes each of those guys can play, but you'll certainly see them in there together. How much, I'm not really sure.

Q. This is your first playoff loss this year. How do you change -- do you change anything for Game 2?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: You always make changes, and obviously we need to go back and take a look. I'm not sure -- as a coach, that we gave our guys -- had our guys prepared or gave our guys what they needed from an offensive standpoint tonight or a defensive standpoint. We've got to go back and look and make adjustments. It's not a matter of your first loss in the playoffs. This is all new, a brand new series. We're not concerned with the eight games before this. We've got to get back in this, and Wednesday night obviously is a huge game for us.

Q. How much did this particular game come down to Detroit finding a mismatch in its favor, being patient with it and using it to its advantage?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, they executed extremely well offensively, and at various times in match-ups, and I thought there were certainly some shots in there. The big thing, Rasheed's shots were not going in in match-ups. He was getting threes on pick-and-rolls. He got a jumper on a pick-and-roll. They had 15 second-chance points. Ben Wallace, only one time of his were they trying to go to him. Rip Hamilton hit the big one shot and so did Chauncey Billups, they weren't isolating there. They did a good job finding some match-ups, I'm not taking that away, but what they did more was had great patience and execution and got great shots. We did not. We took off too many times, broke play, which at times we're able to do, but against a great defensive team got ourselves into some very bad spots on the baseline and ended up with very difficult shots at crucial times. They defended better than we did and they out-executed us and I certainly have to take a look at that. That's coaching.

Q. How much frustration did you see from Dwyane when he was trying to drive to the hoop and every time he tried to drive it looked like he was wrapped up by two, three guys?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Their help was good early. It was nothing different than what we had talked about, prepared for and shown. We know that's the way they're going to play him, that's the way they played him in the regular season, and it's a matter of making adjustments and making plays, and also we've got to try to get him in some different spots the next game, where it's a little bit tougher for them to load up on him, and I don't think that I did a good job of that tonight. I've got to go back and make those adjustments. I think our players have to make some adjustments and do a better job, but so do I. I didn't do my job tonight.

Q. Talk about patience on shots. Late in the game Dwyane Wade had a three pointer with about 40 seconds left. Were you comfortable with that?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I didn't think it was a very good shot. Again, that's not getting on one guy. I think coming down the stretch, after Eddie's three pointer, which was a pretty good look I think to tie the game, after that, we did not do a good job of getting shots. They defended very well. I should have on the one that Udonis got blocked, that was sort of a semi-break where we didn't have anything. I should have been able to get our guys to pull the ball out or called a time-out right then. That was a key possession and a bad coaching mistake. But we didn't execute down the stretch and we did not get great shots.

End of FastScripts...

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