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June 8, 2006

Avery Johnson


COACH AVERY JOHNSON: Well, obviously we're glad to get this game under our belt. It was a game whereas we didn't get off to a great start, we were fortunate enough to be pretty steady throughout the whole game defensively. We were fortunate that they missed some shots. This wasn't one of our better games, especially offensively.
But, again, it's the Finals and you take them however you can get them. And we had some guys really out there battling, it's been the first time in a long time we've lost the rebound game, so we're going to have to be stronger and tougher on the boards as a team.
Again, we take the win, we've got something on film now that we can look at. By no means are we satisfied, because we know we're playing against a terrific team.
Q. Was this more of a game that they seemed like they were kind of feeling each other out a little bit and no rhythm really got going?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, it wasn't obviously the prettiest game. And again, there are things that we wanted to do coming into this game offensively and defensively and it just didn't happen. Both teams had a little layoff, and so whether it's just feeling them out or a little rust on both of our parts, we know we're going to have to have a much better overall team effort as this series moves on.
Q. Wanted to ask you what you thought about Damp and Diop on Shaq tonight?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: We tried to get them in and out, tried to save the fouls. You know, we knew that we needed a lot of energy from Damp and he was close to getting a double-double tonight, and his experience and energy. As you saw tonight, we pretty much had our whole team guarding Shaq. We've seen how he's really exploited single coverage.
So we've just got to mix it up. I think on any good player, whether we played against, you know, Gasol with Memphis or Duncan or Parker or Nash, I just think you've got to give these guys different looks. Any steady diet, they are too good.
Q. It didn't seem like Dirk had a real good night starting out shooting and his night just kind of just leveled, how do you take that to the next game to be able to get the whole team to pick themselves up?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: It wasn't one of his better nights. It wasn't one of his better nights, but Dirk is a warrior. It will be interesting to see on film tomorrow kind of how he moved and what he did and I'm sure he's going to be happy with the win now. But I think from an individual standpoint, you didn't really see the real Dirk.
Q. Of all of the guys you tried on Wade, were any of the combinations to your satisfaction?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: Well, he burned us bad early. It seemed like he had 20 points in the first quarter.
But, again, we knew all along coming into this series that multiple guys were going to take him. We've seen some other situations where a team has only used like two guys on him. We'd like to have a minimum of four guys guarding him, because we think he's that good. And we think we have different guys that defend in different ways.
Q. Throw out the box score, we know what Dirk didn't do, what J.T. did, but going into the game, how much did you need Jason Terry tonight to step up and be the second option to Dirk?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: Well, we've been asking for the real J.T. to come back to us. We thought he was going to have a breakout game in Game 6 against Phoenix but he got two quick fouls and three fouls in three minutes and he came out, I told him he was going to sit out the whole half. He didn't have a backup and we saw the real Jason Terry and we need this Jason Terry.
This Jason Terry makes us a pretty special basketball team because on a night like tonight, when Josh and Dirk go 7-for-28, you need to get some offense from somewhere, which are not many nights. Josh and Dirk normally don't have nights like this. But, again, you know, I don't think either team necessarily played their best game. I think there's better basketball left in both of us.
Q. Was there a specific adjustment you made after the first quarter defensively, or was it just them doing a better job of rotating, helping recovering, or was it just missing shots?
COACH AVERY JOHNSON: Yeah, we had some bad rotations in the first half. We let Walker get away from us a little bit for a couple of open threes. He looked like he was out there by himself and that's not normally our defense. You know, we always try to take pride in making it look like it's more than five guys out there, and it just didn't look that way.
We showed it at halftime and we thought our rotations were a little bit better in the second half, but again, you know, no flawless game for us. But we did what it took to win this basketball game. For them to score 36 points in the second half, when this team has been shooting 55 and 58 percent from the field and getting in the 100s consistently, we'll take it.

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