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June 6, 2005

Larry Brown


Q. At times this series, it seems like you said your team lost composure in some games, how good did it make you feel the way they played in the fourth quarter today?

COACH LARRY BROWN: You know, I've been proud of my team a lot. But when they made a run and got the lead, I think they got it up to five, you know, we never panicked. We had so many guys step up. We've been through a lot together, and it's an unbelievable reward when you can handle situations like this and show poise and toughness. You know, when you coach, it's an honor to coach, but you're blessed when you have a group like that.

Q. Talk about how cool Chauncey was at the end, sinking those free throws.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, he's come up big in so many big games. You know, it did become a foul-shooting contest at the end. Big-time player. We had a lot of guys step up; Tayshaun got two huge rebounds, Rip hit a big baseline jumper we needed. Rasheed made about three or four unbelievable plays down the stretch. A lot of guys, a lot of guys stepped up tonight. This is a total team win. We beat a great team. I know Dwyane was less than 100%, but he was phenomenal. We just beat a great team and in order to do that, you have to have guys step up and make plays and we had that tonight, especially when they made that run, cut into our lead, got a five-point lead. From then on it was like Game 1. I thought we played kind of perfect down the stretch, like we did in Game 1.

Q. If there's ever a time that Elden Campbell would step up, I guess this is as good as any and he gave you some very key minutes in key situations.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Yeah, throughout the whole series, they did an unbelievable job of getting the ball to Shaq. We got in foul trouble a lot. You know, Joe (Dumars) got Elden, just for opportunities like this. We got Lindsey for opportunities like this, and we needed everybody because, you know, you can't guard Shaq, and they do a great job of getting him the ball. Pat's (Riley) done an amazing job just surrounding him with perimeter shooting, and then they have that young kid who is off the charts. So we needed Elden, we needed Dyess, we needed size. Rasheed got in foul trouble again.

Q. What impact did Dwyane have on the game especially in the third quarter?

COACH LARRY BROWN: He hurt us, didn't he? It was almost like Game 2, you know, we had a little trouble on that high pick-and-roll, but I thought he made four or five shots that I thought, you've just got to accept. You know, a great player is going to make great plays. We were talking about trapping it in the fourth quarter, and, you know, fortunately, the screen was set higher and we could do a little bit better job on him, but he made some shots that, you know, that's like Michael.

Q. Looking ahead to the next series, when did your friendship with Gregg (Popovich) start?


Q. Yeah.

COACH LARRY BROWN: When I cut him, trying out -- no. I was an Olympic trials coach in 1972, and he tried out for the Olympic team. His college coach hired Coach Smith at the Air Force Academy, and Bob Spear recommended Dean to Frank McGuire so there's been a relationship there. After his Academy stint in '72, he tried out for the Nuggets and he told me I kept David Thompson instead of him. But he was the best man at my wedding, he helped me at Kansas, and he's a phenomenal coach and person. My little boy said after this game, "If we win, we've got the best of everything; Pop is in the Finals with us, so nothing bad could ever happen." And my little girl said, if we win, you know, she'll be happy to see Pop. If we lose, she's going to the Hamptons. So a little different perspective.

Q. Everybody contributed, just talk about how that epitomizes what this team has been about the past two years.

COACH LARRY BROWN: You know, when I got the job, Joe told me, we had guys with unbelievable character and they wouldn't give up. They cared about all of the right things. You know, we made the trade where he got Rasheed last year and he got us over the hump. This year, we went out and got McDyess and Carlos Arroyo. We just got good guys in that locker room that have a lot of pride, and I think character has a way of, you know, handling obstacles and adversity, and that's what this team is about. We have a lot of guys that make the kind of contributions you'd like, and then like I keep saying, if we play the right way.

Q. Can you talk about your thoughts on the Spurs and also reflect on just how up and down the season has been for the Pistons.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Well, I thought the four best teams were in the Conference Finals. You know, Joe Johnson being hurt impacted Phoenix, but I still think that the Spurs are special. Certainly having Dwyane hurt really affected Miami, especially in the last two ballgames. But we have great respect for them. They have won two championships with Gregg and not very many people talk about it. And we're the defending champs and not very many people talk about that. As far as ups and downs, that's the way it is in basketball, pro basketball. It's a marathon. You know, we've overcome every obstacle with all the supposed distractions. We managed to show up and I think we helped the game the way we play. I think Miami and San Antonio and Phoenix, same way. That's what's so good about this.

Q. Can you just talk, obviously Rasheed had some ups and downs, particularly with fouls, he had foul trouble in this game as well, but when you needed him at the end there, he was right there. Can you talk about his resiliency.

COACH LARRY BROWN: Yeah, I'm so proud of him. You know, everybody paints a picture of him because he shows his emotions, and, you know, I always think he cares. You talk to anybody who has ever played with him or coached him, they will all tell you how much respect they have for him. He took it personal, you know, Game 5. He struggled. But he was right there. Two huge free throws, a huge offensive rebound, a huge jumper. Again, we would not have won the Championship last year without him. He's a big part of our team. I wish people would forget how silly he acts sometimes and ask his teammates what they feel about him. They would have a whole new perspective on this kid. Thank you.

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