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June 2, 2005

Damon Jones


Q. Damon, can you talk a little about what your mentality was coming into this game. You were much more aggressive, taking shots, challenging, can you just talk a little about that.

DAMON JONES: Well, I wanted to come out and be aggressive, help Dwyane out as much as I could. In Game 4, it seemed they was throwing the whole kitchen sink at him and it was tough on him to get great opportunities at the basket so, I just wanted to come out and try to get in the paint, create for Udonis and some other guys, and shots was there for myself, try to complete them.

Q. It seemed like Shaquille was moving around better tonight and came out dominated early. Did that ease your minds that the Big Fella is back?

DAMON JONES: He's been getting better with every game. I think tonight he came out and he's moving better than he's moved in probably a month now. That's definitely good for us to see that he's moving without the limp. He's making aggressive moves in the paint. Defensively, he's making his rotations and he's coming to contest shots.

Q. What was the mentality on the court when you guys saw Wade when he took that offensive foul and hit the ground?

DAMON JONES: It was a tough situation because at any point in time you never want to see anybody get injured. You really don't want to see anyone leave the court because of injury. Being he's one of our key parts to what we do here, it was a sight for sore eyes. He's been able to step up for us whenever we need him and he gave us some positive energy. Udonis, did a great job, double figures, rebounding, points, and a lot of other guys came in and filled that void.

Q. Zo was saying that it gets to a point with a player that sometimes you say "enough is enough" and he said basically that you told Chauncey "enough is enough" so to speak. Did you come into this game knowing that you were going to be aggressive, that you were going to challenge him?

DAMON JONES: This is not about Damon Jones and Chauncey Billups. It's about the Miami Heat against the Detroit Pistons. Like I said before, I wanted to be aggressive and help my teammates out. That was my mindset going into the game. It wasn't that, you know, Chauncey was scoring a lot of points and I wasn't. I just wanted to take advantage of some opportunities that I thought I had watching the game tape from Game 4 and earlier in the series.

Q. What did it mean for you guys to go down the stretch without Dwyane, knowing there is the possibility he might not be available for the next game?

DAMON JONES: It was good. We were very confident with what we were able to do down the stretch. We made plays when we needed to offensively. Defensively is an area that we needed to improve on from Game 4 to Game 5 and we made those adjustments. I think they shot somewhere around 38 percent. We kept them off the offensive glass, which was very important. Those are the keys to our game. We want to keep the basketball out of the paint, do the best job we can of standing in front of their guards because they are very aggressive and block the athletic Wallace boys off the offensive glass. I think we did that for the most part. Offensively, we shot 52 percent again, shot a decent percentage from the three-point line. We shot well from the free throw line and it was a total effort for 43 and a half minutes.

Q. Talk about Shaq and D-Wade picking up their second fouls in that first quarter and your big shots to stabilize things and their ability to avoid that third foul in the second quarter.

DAMON JONES: It was tough. We want to be aggressive defensively. They got two quick fouls and with what was happening, we have to be able to make plays. Those guys are the keys to what we do. We go inside to Shaq, we try to create space for Dwyane Wade and with those guys saddled with fouls, it kind of took away some of their aggression offensively. Like I said, I just wanted to be aggressive, get into the paint, make plays, either for myself or for my teammates and it seemed to work very well tonight. Hopefully we can go down to Detroit with the same effort that we had defensively. That's the key to our game, having a lot of energy and effort defensively, and keeping those guys off the offensive glass.

Q. I know it's almost 48 hours away, but how do you think Dwyane and the team will deal with the uncertainty of his availability for the next game?

DAMON JONES: We have a great training staff and all season long they have been doing a great job of keeping me able to play games. I know they will do the best job possible to get him ready for the next game and hopefully he's ready to play. Similar to Shaq, 50 percent of Dwyane Wade is better than no Dwayne Wade at all. That's our focus.

Q. What are your expectations for Game 6? Do you feel Detroit has taken their best punch tonight and conversely you expect theirs on Saturday?

DAMON JONES: We go in with the mindset that we have to play defense first and move the basketball offensively. The crowd in Detroit, they showed us in Game 4 that they are an integral part of their basketball team, so we want to try to take the crowd out first and see what happens.

End of FastScripts...

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