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May 31, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I obviously thought the Pistons played extremely well, particularly in the second quarter. I was very, very disappointed in our defense, particularly in the first half, just gave up too much going to the basket. We were undisciplined, and for most of the might, their four main guys that they looked to offensively, we didn't do a decent job on any of them. That was disappointing. I thought they did a great job taking advantage of Shaq and Zo both being on the bench with fouls in the first half. About the only defensive stretch we had in the first half was when Zo was blocking shots. When he went to the bench, they really took advantage, got a big halftime lead. I thought our guys fought hard to get back into the game, but you know, we got it to four but every time we did, they had an answer. Just a great, great game by them. I thought their four main guys played well offensively. Ben Wallace was a monster on the boards. I thought they defended us well for most of the game. Just a complete effort on their part. They played extremely well.

Q. Can you talk about the impact it had on your team, only eight minutes from Shaquille in the first half.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, obviously you want your best players on the floor and we didn't get that. He was in foul trouble and, you know, that's not good for us, obviously. But you know you have to deal with things like that, and we dealt with it and we had a big halftime deficit and we're able to come back and close it in the second half. We were close enough to have a chance, we just couldn't get the job done when it counted.

Q. For much of the game you only had like 12 assists, did you feel like you didn't share the ball enough or what was the problem?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, I don't know, I just think their defense in general was very, very good. You know, they played Shaq one-on-one in the post, so you're not going to get a lot out of that. We had trouble getting the ball in Dwyane's hand; he had six assists. Our ball movement wasn't great. I think their pressure had a lot to do with it. I know you're not supposed to say that, that the other team had anything to do with it, I noticed that in the series. But I will say that they did have a lot to do with it tonight. I thought they played extremely well, and we didn't execute real well against it.

Q. It seemed like they were face-guarding Dwyane when he didn't have the ball a lot of times and they just seemed to be swarming him whenever he did come off a pick-and-roll?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: They were, but he got some opportunities. Again, I think we'll attack it a little bit better on Thursday night, but we've got to get some stuff out of the other guys. I think, you know, I was guilty tonight of probably trying so hard to get the ball in his hands initially on the first pass where we probably could have run some stuff with other guys and let it come to him at the end of offense, and if they want to leave one guy out denying him and it opens stuff up or other people. I always second guess myself on things like that and hopefully he'll do a better job on Thursday night.

Q. Talk about the defensive effort in the fourth quarter. Seemed like they turned it up a notch.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: You talking about ours or theirs?

Q. Theirs.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Again, I think their defense when we got the game back close, they went back and did a good job defensively, particularly inside on Shaq, we went in there three or four times, they were doing a pretty good job. But again, you know, we were 1 for 6 our first few free throws in the fourth quarter, and when they are going in, like they were the other night, their defense isn't looking as good and you look up at the scoreboard, it's 1 for 6, it looks like their defense is shutting you down, in the reality, it's five or six. I think their defense was good all night. I think in that stretch, what made it look more dominant than it was was the fact that we missed five of our first six free throws in the quarter.

Q. The Pistons had no turnovers in the first half and only six for the game, does that reflect their execution or is it a lack of defensive intensity?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: No, we are not a team that forces turnovers. That's low, obviously, and they did a great job but we are not a team that forces turnovers. We are not a team that puts any emphasis on forcing turnovers. That's not our game. What I was disappointed, to be honest. Our game is to try to keep the ball out of the paint. We didn't do that in the first half at all. When you play the defense we play, you're not going to force turnovers but you should be able to keep the ball out of the paint. You should be able to rebound. We didn't keep it out of the paint. We were undisciplined on some guys, we missed rotations, we just were not very good defensively in the first half. But, at the same time, I give them a lot of credit, I thought they played with a great deal of energy. They made the right plays, and obviously with 27 assists, moved the ball extremely well. I thought they were very aggressive and executed extremely well.

Q. Taking fouls out of the equation, are there two or three things that you guys should have done tonight that you didn't do?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, I thought we did an absolutely poor job of containing the ball off the dribble, both individually and off the pick-and-rolls, and we didn't get any help on the pick-and-rolls to make guys, you know, kick the ball out. The ball was turning the corner and into the paint all night breaking us down. You cannot be a good defensive team if the ball is breaking you down and getting into the paint all the time. It's just impossible, and that's where we were tonight. You know, again, give them a lot of credit for their aggressiveness in execution, but we need to do a better job defensively against it.

End of FastScripts...

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