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June 2, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


Q. We obviously know it's there's no miraculous recovery with Shaq, but can you tell us how he is and is there any improvement at all?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I have no idea. We haven't done enough to be able to tell. He did go through the walk-through today. That's what I can tell you.

Q. The schedule being the way it is, is this almost like regular season where you're traveling so much every day and are you almost approaching that way or is it still different?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: It's still different because you're playing the same team over and over. I think the players like it this way. I do, too. We're eight months into this. Let's play. We don't need a lot of time off between games at this point.

Q. During the season when you've had games where the perimeter guys didn't defend particularly well or keep guys in front of them well, how have they responded to that in games after that and how well do you expect them to respond tonight?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I expect them to respond well tonight. But again, it's not an easy challenge. You know, it would be easier if the guys you were trying to keep in front of you weren't very good, but they are obviously very good players. It will be a great challenge. I think our guys will take that challenge and we'll see how well they do.

Q. With Detroit single-covering Shaq, is there a ripple effect on Damon and not getting as many open jumpers, do they stay on him more and does it affect him at all?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Absolutely. I think it's more than just the way they play Shaq. They are basically staying home on Damon period, all the time as the ball gets driven into the gap, they have got such athletic big guys back there that they will let the ball go by. Chauncey, who is on Damon most of the time, will not come off to help. He will let it go by and go to their big guys because they have so much faith in them. They are making, at least it appears, watching them play, that they are making a very concerted effort to stay home on Damon and really the only looks he's got and good ones have been in transition out on the run.

Q. How do you get him more looks in transition out on the run?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: We've got to run more first of all and to do that you can't have the other team shooting 48 percent and, you know, killing you on the glass and getting second-chance points. So we've got to stop them and rebound and we get out on the run. But the threat of Damon's threes are still big for us because it does open up gaps for other people. As with anything, you have to make a choice, and if you're going to stay home on him, that should open up more space for the guys with the ball to get in and make plays.

End of FastScripts...

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