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May 24, 2006

Flip Saunders


Q. Your players are saying you just need to get back to having fun.
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think the one thing, when we've gone through -- let's face the fact. We had two elimination games in 6 and 7. You're playing pretty much every other day, and as the series progresses they do become kind of grinds. We have to get back to having fun, we have to get back to playing the way we were playing as far as moving the basketball, being more aggressive as far as offensively and making basketball plays. We were just kind of in a situation where we haven't made as good of basketball plays, almost thinking too much, trying to overthink the game instead of just relaxing and take what's given to you.
Q. (Inaudible).
FLIP SAUNDERS: I'm not a big iso guy. We got into that because that's how the guys have read that on the floor, and that's something we watched a lot of film and we talked about, but that's not who we are. Even though that might present itself a lot in a series or in games, you're taking away basically our strength over 82 games, and we're playing a different way than how we play. We've got to get back to playing just how we play.
When you watch our team, the way we play, it sapped the energy out of our building, too. Our arena has not been as loud as it was during the regular season, and I think part of it is because how we have kind of played. It's been a very monotonous offensive game at times.
Q. Chauncey seems to be out of rhythm. He said the shots felt good last night, but he's not shooting well.
FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, I think it gets back to how we played. I think that when we've played more iso basketball lately, so there's more standing around. When you stand around, it's a different shot than when you're in rhythm, so we've got to get into more sync where we have five guys doing some type of movement at the same time so he's not standing around, or the shots come when he doesn't expect it.
I think right now sometimes, as you see, regardless of some iso situation, you don't know when your shot is going to come and you're not moving as much, so you can't get into that rhythm. We've got to get back into a rhythm.
Last night we didn't play well at times, and yet we still had opportunities. That was the thing that I think looking at the film was most disappointing.
Q. What's the key to getting your shooting back?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Like I said, shooting slumps happen for a number of reasons. The number one is sometimes you just lose a little bit of your confidence, sometimes because you're getting shots you're not accustomed to, which is I think more the case with us, or you're getting more contested shots. We've gotten into situations where we've forced some things.
Now, they've got a good defense and that serves a little bit of credit, but also I think we played a little bit out of character, so that's why we had an extended film session, to go through, and we could even see more so the things that we weren't doing.
Q. You talked about guys standing around. Is that a product of Rip and Rasheed being injured or tired?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I don't know either one. We've made decisions on the floor at times to go at my mismatches than usual. When we do that, sometimes other players have a tendency to stand around and watch.
Q. On the opposite side, how did you think the defense performed?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think in the first quarter it was not bad. I thought we started well, and I always believe that sometimes how you start is going to how you finish. When you fall behind like that, it's a lot of energy to get yourself back into the game, and when they establish something they gain confidence.
Q. (Inaudible).
FLIP SAUNDERS: Running drill penetration, let Shaq get some easy looks as far as inside. We just did not give enough resistance to start the game.
Q. Do you expect Rasheed to get better with this every other day playing?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think the one guy that played pretty well last night was McDyess, so we're going to have to start trying to ride him a little more and use Rasheed in certain situations, depending if it's loose or not loose. His last two games were two tough games. Not just even the ankle but all the preparation he's done to get the ankle ready, everyone knows Game 7 he's there three hours prior to the game and all the rehab he goes through. That's also -- you don't get into the routine you're used to getting into as far as your rest time and all those things.
Q. Despite the ankle, his game could still be better than it was last night?
FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, he was not Rasheed last night. They made a very committed effort that they are not going to let him get the post-up. So that's why there are some adjustments we have to make to take advantage of that.
Q. (Inaudible)?
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think they played how -- we had good games against them. All our games were very competitive. I didn't see that much of a difference.
Q. They seem to be getting more out of the other guys.
FLIP SAUNDERS: I think there's no question that last night I thought that the difference maker was probably Payton. He came out and was very aggressive defensively, was very aggressive offensively.
As I said going into the series, I talked to people and said usually when these games happen, there's somebody unexpected that comes in and ends up being a difference maker. There's no question that he played well on Walker. I mean, for their team, as you say, that's the one difference, but the game they beat us down at their place, Payton played really well against us, and so that's usually what happens.
Q. Did you guys just do film today or did you practice?
FLIP SAUNDERS: We just did film.
Q. Was that just to see what you were doing wrong, or did you really want to rest the guys?
FLIP SAUNDERS: A combination of both. I mean, I think we were a little bit more worn than they were. We played a lot of games over the last seven days and they had seven days off, so we thought it was more of a mental day today than anything else.

End of FastScripts...

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