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June 2, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Obviously a good, hard-fought win for us. You know, we primarily did it with our defense, I thought our guys fought real hard. I thought they fought through some foul trouble in the first quarter, and then I thought that, you know, we fought through losing Dwyane in the second half, only got nine minutes out of him and hung in there and played well. Really pleased with all of them and particularly just very happy for Rasual. He's been through some tough moments. He started the year starting for us and then it was a blow to him to come out of the starting lineup. Then he saw his minutes diminish a lot, wasn't even getting minutes a lot early in the playoffs here, but kept working. Now we've decided to use him, which some people keep questioning me on, you know, why he's playing and the whole thing. But he had a big game in Game 3 hitting three threes and he had a big game tonight, and it's really a credit to his perseverance and I'm very happy for him. So we will move onto Detroit. We know it will be very difficult up there, and we're going to have to play extremely well and at least as hard as we played tonight.

Q. What was going through your head when you saw ten minutes in, Shaq and Dwyane both on the bench with two fouls and can you talk about their ability to play most of that second quarter without picking up that third foul?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, I think that was key, that they stayed out of foul trouble in the second quarter. And again, you know, I said this after Game 3, when we made the run at the end of the game without Dwyane, we don't like playing without him, we don't like playing without Shaq, but our guys have been through enough of those times. Our other guys are very confident in their abilities, and I think they are also highly motivated at those times. No. 1, they know, you know, they are short-handed without one or even both of their stars out. They know they have got to fight harder and they know they have to do it at the defensive ends. They have really got to play together and I think they are also motivated because, you know, a lot of you try to paint this as a two-man team and that obviously gives the other guys a great deal of motivation when they have moments and opportunities to step up.

Q. What is Dwyane's condition, I know it's only 48 hours away, but can you anticipate him playing? Will it be a problem?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I have absolutely no idea. I was told what his condition is. I'm not smart enough to remember and be able to repeat it with all of the medical words, but it's a strain in the muscles in the rib cage area, very, very painful. Feels like he's getting stabbed when he breathes. He tried to go. I give him a lot of credit for that. Went up and down the court about three times and said he couldn't go. We'll just have to wait and see. You'll probably get more from Tim Donovan, our trainer either tonight or tomorrow, but I don't have any more information right now.

Q. When he walks off the court and goes into the locker room, what are you thinking at that point?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Obviously you don't want to have him out, so I don't want this to sound like I don't care, because I care a great deal. I said the same thing when Shaq went down in the Chicago game early in the year, everybody said, "What did you think?" I didn't know how bad it was. At that point you don't have time to think about it. It's who is going in the game and how we're matching up and what we're going to run. I didn't really have a lot of chance to think about it, other than "is he there or not there?" until the game is over. There's too much other stuff to think about at that point.

Q. Did Dwyane tell you when he sustained the injury, because before the Rasheed offensive foul, it looked like --

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: It was not on the offensive foul that. That might have aggravated it. All I know is our trainer told me he did it on a shot earlier in the game. I'm not really sure exactly when, but it was not on the offensive foul.

Q. How did the other guys respond, in your opinion? You kept that lead up and sustained it.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, the lead came down right away. We went from 20 to ten like boom, boom, boom, then our guys fought through it and I don't think it got any closer than that. Again, I think the players, it's a lot like me, now that it's over they will think about it and they will probably wonder and worry a little bit on whether or not he's going to be able to play on Saturday. But while the game is going on, I mean, you take Rasual off the bench, say, "You're in for Dwyane," and he's ready to play and the other guys do their job. I don't think it makes a difference whether it's foul trouble or injury or anything else. They have a job to do and, they are NBA players and they have great confidence in themselves. They are not going to spend their time lamenting the fact that one of their guys is out.

Q. Talk about Shaq's impact in the game and how he played overall tonight.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: He got off to a great, great start. I think he got us off to a great start. Obviously that was key. He had a big first half, and then in the second half, I think they started to come on him a little and give some help, and he made some very good passes. Unfortunately we didn't knock down shots on those plays, but I thought he was a big, big impact in the game and again, he's gotten off to good starts for us. He's been responsible for us getting off to good starts, and I think that's really key for our confidence in games.

End of FastScripts...

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