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June 6, 2005

Stan Van Gundy


COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Whatever you want to ask.

Q. The last couple possessions there, Damon basically kind of got stuck and Dwyane seemed like rushed shots to you when Shaquille was going well for a while?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I didn't think we got what we wanted down the stretch. There were about four possessions there, we had a fast break where we didn't get anything out of it. We got the one, and went into Shaq. Damon's shot you were talking about, the ball was into Shaq; he threw it back at him. Then we had Dwyane coming off a pick-and-roll, he went the other way and missed a pull-up jumper and he got caught in jumped ball, so we had four pretty tough-fought possessions down the stretch. With the game that close, it happened to us in Game 1 also, with a game that close you have to execute down the stretch. We didn't. That's why we are where we are now.

Q. What are your feelings right now? Can you just put into words the sense of disappointment you're feeling?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I don't think from a professional sense, from a basketball sense that I've ever been more disappointed. I just think, you know, Mickey Arison, Pat Riley and Randy Pfund and Eric done did an unbelievable job putting this team together and turning this team around from where we were two years ago, 25 and 57. I thought our group of players that we had this year did a great job, they were very professional, a very mature team. There were not very many nights, you guys have covered us know, we didn't lose very many games we shouldn't have lost. This team didn't take nights off. We got up 2-0 in both playoff series and finished them off. This were no nights off. And they battled through a lot of things in this series and fought very hard and valiantly against a very, very good team. I'm not disappointed in my players. I'm just extremely disappointed with the result. I mean, you fight all year to get this seventh game at home. I thought we were the most professional teams in the East in terms of taking care of business night in and night out, and that's to get the game here, and then to not be able to come through with a 7-point lead in the fourth quarter, I don't know, it's going to be months of thinking about that and going over every play. It's just very, very difficult. I feel for my players and I feel for our ownership and our front office and my staff.

Q. Did Wade show you as much tonight, under the circumstances, with how much he was able to do as he has maybe all year?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: I thought that, I mean, when somebody is having to stick a needle in your chest just so you can go out and play, he got us back in the game in the third quarter. I thought he was phenomenal. I thought Damon gave us a valiant effort. He rolled that ankle very, very badly and came back in and played. Our guys fought through a lot of things. I'm extremely proud of them. We just didn't get the job done down the stretch and the Pistons did a better job of executing. Two pretty even teams, they did a better job down the stretch and they move on and we deal with the disappointment.

Q. Just talk about the total team effort that Detroit used and how difficult that is to deal with when you're getting big contributions from a variety of people.

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Yeah, they do. They spread out. But I thought we got contributions from a lot of people, too. You know, they are a great team. They obviously played very well in the series and I give them a lot of credit, but I'm also not in the mood right now, to be quite honest, Mr. Nance, to sit here and go on and on about Detroit.

Q. What did you allow yourself to expect Dwyane do for you tonight?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: Again, you know, you've heard me say this many times on many subjects, I'm not big into expectations. I put him out there and we see what we're going to get. I thought he had a lot of trouble getting going, he was very slow early in the game and then he picked it up. His third quarter was phenomenal I thought and got us back in the lead. I thought Shaq played well. We played the game very well until the last few minutes and we just couldn't -- we broke down on the defensive rotation on pick-and-roll. Just didn't get good enough shots. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody. I thought our team fought very hard and lost a very close game. It's just extremely difficult right now.

Q. How much do you think injury contributed to the result of the series?

COACH STAN VAN GUNDY: You know what, you heard me after Game 6, two teams went out and played tonight. The Pistons won. I'm not -- those kind of things happen in every sport, and you know what, I can remember in a lot of sports, I'm a pretty big fan, I can go back quite a few years and tell who you won World Series and who won NBA Championships. I can't tell you who was hurt and who wasn't. Nobody cares. It doesn't mean I don't have pride in my guys and what they fought through; I do. I give them a lot of credit for what they fought through, but I'm not -- I'm not making any excuses. The Detroit Pistons played better than us tonight, particularly down the stretch. They deserve to move on to the NBA Finals and, you know, that's the way it is.

End of FastScripts...

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