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February 18, 2005

P.J. Carlesimo


P.J. CARLESIMO: I thought our guys played with a lot more purpose in the first half than the Sophomores did, whether they thought it would be easier or whatever, but I think our guys defended more, played more aggressively and it was a good game for a half. Those guys rose it up for a level in the second half and we had a little difficulty, particularly guarding their All-Stars. It's obvious why some of those guys are also playing on Sunday night. I think this was a great -- Luol said it was a great experience for them. Some of these guys are going to move from the Friday game to the Sunday game in the future, and that's great. For them to have to play their good guys, I think was a compliment to how our guys played and that's a good thing. It is instructive. When these guys go back to their teams they need to know that you just can't go and just play. You've got to play and you have to play with a lot of purpose and you have to play aggressively, and I thought for most of the first half, our guys did that. I thought some guys did a real good job of that in the second half. To learn, and what Luol is talking about, that bonding is a great thing because these guys are going to be together in a lot of All-Star Weekends in the future, and they are going to be playing against each other, not just in the regular season but in the playoffs for a long time.

Q. Luol Deng and Ben Gordon, you coached two key components in the renaissance of the Bulls, do you see these guys --

P.J. CARLESIMO: I don't think there's any question. Already, what they have done for Chicago is more impressive and more indicative of what they are capable of than what they did tonight. Not that they didn't play well tonight, but the way they are playing for Scott (Skiles) tells you. They turned a horrible start just completely around, and that's really impressive to everybody in the League, watching the young guys and what they are going to do across the board, a lot of good young guys, but these two in particular. I like Luol's versatility and I like Ben's confidence and the fact that he makes and takes big shots and he comes off the bench, and he understands his role and does a great job for them. I think not me, the whole thing is, I'm very impressed with those two.

Q. Dwight Howard didn't seem to get the ball much. Is this game built for smaller guys?

P.J. CARLESIMO: Not as much as it probably wasn't good coaching on our part. We probably should have insisted they throw it in a little bit more than they did. I think when Dwight and Al in particular, got touches down under, they did some good things and Josh did some good things also. That was probably as much me as them. But yeah, an All-Star Game usually by its nature kind of flows up and down, and you don't want to forget -- I'm sure the East will not forget Shaq on Sunday, and I doubt very much we're going to forget Timmy and our big guys on Sunday, either. But we probably should have insisted. It's not a cop-out. Maybe with a couple more time-outs and a couple more times to call guys over and talk to them. If I was going to change one thing, I would say throw a couple of 20s in, and maybe you don't need three-minute time-outs, but give them a couple more 20s where you could just kind of remind guys. I think when we understood what we were doing and we made passes and shared the ball, we were fine. Then we would get caught up in the up-and-down and get the game get a little ratty. But that's as much me. We should have controlled it more and got the ball to our big guys more than we did.

Q. Do you expect to coach again as a head coach in the NBA?

P.J. CARLESIMO: I hope so, but I've got a great situation right now. I really think that coaching in San Antonio with Pop is a great situation. I think it's a better job than a lot of the head coaches have in the League, and I'm not being smart, I say that sincerely. If I get an opportunity again, yeah, I would love to. But I've learned, it needs to be a good opportunity, too. It's really special to play or to be involved with a group that you know every single night you've got a chance to win. And when you start the year and you say you hope to be playing in June and you're playing for that trophy, it's not just lip service; that you really have an opportunity. So I'm very grateful for the opportunity that Pop's given me and I'm not going to leave that opportunity unless it's a very good situation and a very dumb owner somewhere, I don't know if there is one.

Q. Do you worry about your coaching fraternity with guys like Hubie Brown and Rudy T. (Tomjanovich) and some of those guys stepping down, you've been on both sides of that.

P.J. CARLESIMO: Yeah, I do, and it's sad in one sense -- it's very sad. Because I think that's two guys that have meant so much to this game. And obviously they are both here; we're talking about them like they don't exist anymore. It's sad to see it drain people because it can drain people. But there's a lot of other guys that still have the tremendous energy and still do it. Head coaching in particular, in this league, is a terribly demanding, most physically and emotionally -- it really is, it's an incredible job. That's the only negative to Pop being here this weekend. More so than the players, Pop needed these three or four days off because of all he's been doing in the summers and all of that. It's unbelievably fulfilling. As fulfilling as it is and as frustrating as it is, particularly when you have a good situation, it's a great, great job. It's one of the best jobs you could ever ask for. But there's a couple in the league, you have to have a little bit of ammo, too. It's a very long year when you don't have some ammunition.

Q. If you could go back in time and see the young P.J. Carlesimo that took over -- what was it, Portland? Would you have advised yourself to take it or were you ready?

P.J. CARLESIMO: I don't know if I was ready. I'd like to think I was. I'd like to think we were good. We had three winning seasons. We went to the playoffs three times. We had good players. I think that it was a great, great opportunity. People ask me that all the time, you know, "Do you wish you'd stayed in college? "No, absolutely not. I've loved every day I've been in the NBA and I've had very, very enjoyable ones, and I guess I've been a part of six or seven winning seasons and I guess I also had three losing seasons. No, I enjoyed my years in Golden State just as much as I enjoyed my time in Portland and my time in San Antonio. I think this is the greatest basketball in the world and I love being in this league. I don't regret leaving college at all. I loved college, but I don't regret leaving it.

End of FastScripts...

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