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May 29, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Another hard-fought game, a lot of swings in that game. I thought that we came out of the locker room very well to start the third quarter, which we had not done. I thought near the end of the third quarter, early fourth quarter we lost our composure, got frustrated when things were going bad, and they were able to build a lead. I thought the biggest shot of the game, I think it was 86-81, I don't have a play-by-play in front of me, Eddie hit a 3, sort of gave us some life. We were dying a little bit. And then from there I thought our guys showed great composure and toughness and finished out the game very, very well. Very difficult game but finished it well.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about the push that you made without Dwyane Wade early in that fourth quarter, late in the third.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: If you go back this year -- we didn't have to play, thankfully, too many games without Dwyane, but we won a couple, lost a double overtime out in LA. We've played without those guys from time to time, and as much as everybody wants to paint this as a two-man team and they're certainly our two best players, everybody in that locker room will tell you that, our other guys are confident that they can make plays themselves and that we've got other good players. You're right, it was a good run after he got his fifth foul. I thought we did a great job of increasing the lead. It was very, very important.

Q. Did you think when everything had turned around right there in the fourth quarter and the Pistons had taken a five-point lead and the crowd was going nuts, what was going through your head and what do you think was going through your team's mind?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: You missed the first part of my talk, but we lost our composure. We did. We lost our composure. We were getting frustrated, and we just kept telling them to calm down and keep playing the game and get their heads in. I thought the biggest play of the game was Eddie's three to take it from 86-81 to 86-84, gave us some life, made us feel like we were back in the game. I don't know what it was, eight minutes, we finished very, very strong.

Q. Can you talk about Shaq's free throws in the fourth quarter.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Outstanding. Until he missed his last two, he was 8 for 10. Obviously that's really key, when he's knocking down free throws. There were enough free throws missed in that game tonight. If you look, there were 31 free throws missed, so neither team was shooting them great. We actually shot a little higher percentage than they did. That's rare for us and we'll take it.

Q. What did you do so well for three quarters that allowed you to have a cushion going into the fourth, and then the defense in the fourth quarter, anything different, guys just playing harder?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: No, I just thought that -- Rip Hamilton had a great night. We had a lot of trouble getting him under control. I thought they executed real well. No, I mean, it was a strange game tonight. I mean, we played five low-scoring games against them this year and now it's 113-104. Just a different game. Both teams got good shots tonight, better shots than they had gotten in the series, and it became more of an offensive battle, but we got enough stops to get the job done, particularly where we came back and took the lead. Then we didn't get any stops, but we were making enough free throws to hang in there.

Q. Your team has proved a lot to you during the course of the year, but Dwyane leaves with eight minutes left, you're down five, he comes back four minutes later. What did they prove to you tonight?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: We've got a lot of guys that we think can play and have great confidence that they can get the job done. When one of those two guys is out -- we try to make sure we don't have times where they're both out, but we think we can play with one of them out. I think our guys know especially when one of those guys goes out that it's going to be harder offensively in a lot of cases and we've got to get the job done defensively and on the glass, and we were able to get some opportunities in transition. We found Rasual for a big three, all that coming off our defense and our rebounds.

End of FastScripts...

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