May 30, 2005
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Game Four
Q. How much was this you guys just getting back to doing what you did all year, but playing a little tougher in the stretch?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think we came out, played strong defense for the most part. We had Joe (Johnson), he stepped up, had a wonderful game tonight. Shawn (Marion) came and played strong. That's what we needed.
Q. You are not known as a defensive player, but you made two defensive plays down the stretch on Duncan. Talk about that?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Those are plays that needed to happen down the stretch. We needed some stops and I stepped up and tried to make that block on Tim (Duncan). And stayed aggressive on the offense, on the defensive boards, offensive boards as a matter of fact, kept the ball alive.
Q. You were everywhere, making blocks, securing offensive rebounds, scoring. Was that just about survival, basically keeping the series alive?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Pretty much. When you are down 0-3 it's not easy to play extremely strong. We showed a lot of heart, as a team we did. Played it great down the stretch.
Q. One of your coaches suggested that maybe you had heard some of the criticism and you were aware of it coming into tonight?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Not really. As my years progress I am pretty sure I can become a better defensive player. Right now I am just trying to do the things I am capable of doing.
Q. Just getting the win here and extending this one more game kind of serves as vindication of what you did all season?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think regular season we played great basketball. Here in this series the Spurs are playing great as well. Plus to get this win tonight, we take it back to Phoenix and try to get another one. We we're still alive.
Q. Just in terms of your defense on Tim Duncan. Having Joe Johnson there to help double team, how much did that make a difference for you compared to earlier in the series?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think with Tim he's such a threat offensively, he's tall and he gets great position on the offensive end. It's not always easy to double team him, but Joe is a 6' 8'' 240 guard and that helps a lot.
Q. Because Tim was missing so many free throws, do you feel that took away from his aggressiveness on the offensive ends because he wasn't in any rhythm?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I don't think so. I think he still came out and tried to carry his team. But I think we did a great job of just double teaming him and made him shoot some free throws.
Q. You had a long week with these guys. You come out and play pretty well in the first half and then Manu hits you with that shot at the end. What are you thinking at that point?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think halftime we were -- you know, I thought we found some optimism in the fact that we had a good first quarter and a good start. We were doing some of the things that we hadn't done in the series. Kind of get a rhythm back and some balance and some success at some of the things that we're known for. I think that gave us a lot of optimism at halftime even though they did make a run at the end of the half.
Q. What are some of those differences that you all did that you all hadn't done earlier?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think we got some deflections and steals and blocked shots and got us in transition, got some fast-break points, got the ball moving when we get out in transition. It's more difficult for them to set up their defense.
Q. What is it like to watch Amare (Stoudemire) make all those great plays down the stretch final two minutes?
STEVE NASH: Unbelievable two minutes or whatever it was for him. Even as a teammate just were in awe. He was all over the place. Obviously the block was incredible, he had one finish down the lane where I thought Tim tried to foul him and they didn't call it and he stilled finished the play. And then beyond kind of the spectacular plays he made, it was the loose balls and the rebounds and he was all over the place from one corner to the other and just an incredible toughness mentally, physically. I think he really raised his game a level tonight. He's very young player. I think we'll continue to see him do that.
Q. How much was it the entire game of you guys just returning to what basically you played throughout the season but playing maybe a little tougher, a little more physical?
STEVE NASH: Yeah, I think I thought we have played well this series other than Game 3. I just thought in Game 3 we kind of let our guard down for periods of time. Tonight we learned our lesson and we just we refused to give away easy plays. We were going to scrap. If we didn't get it done, we didn't get it done. But we weren't going to have stretches where we sunk our heads and pointed fingers, or got down on ourselves. We really just talk with it tonight, win or lose. I think that was the lesson we learned.
Q. Your point numbers weren't as high as they have been the first couple games. But your assists were back where they belonged. Talk about that?
STEVE NASH: It wasn't really my focus. I try to take what is there. That just happened to be what happened tonight. But I think a lot of that had to do with us getting out in transition, loosened up their defense. Obviously the passing goals are clear-cut and more obvious in transition. I think it was a big part of us getting our confidence back and getting a bit of swagger back.
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