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May 28, 2006

Antoine Walker

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

ANTOINE WALKER: Well, I think we've got a couple guys that can make plays; myself, Jason, Gary, Dwyane; we can make plays. When a play breaks down, we've got guys we can put on the floor and score, whereas those guys are more systematic. They run these fast plays, they either pick-and-roll or they run a lot of catch-and-shoots for Rip Hamilton. The only guy that really frees a lot is Chauncey, that makes a lot of plays for them. Tayshaun is more of a slasher, gets offensive rebounds, that slashes the basket. He's a lot more of a creator for everybody else on the floor. I think that's where we come in a little different, because we've got three or four guys that can make plays.
Q. Because they're so defensive-minded historically, in Games 1 and 3 has there been anything surprising to you or because you've been so sound offensively that you never really worry about that?
ANTOINE WALKER: Well, we're just trying to put them at their level. We've got the most dominant big man in the middle that causes a lot of problems, going to break down any defense. So we're trying to basically play off Shaq and play the way they play him. Obviously Dwyane is going to get his opportunities on offense, but we try to play off him. We try to move the ball to the opposite side, and if they're going to play behind him we've got to give it to him and let him work. We're basically just trying at that play our game off Shaq to be honest.
Q. Your responsibility, I don't know what you want to call it, if it's a third scorer, to be opportunistic, do you find that's the piece that puts them out of sorts the most, when they have to double team the other two guys in Shaq and Dwyane, that you or Gary or Jason is killing? Is that the mindset you have on your approach offensively?
ANTOINE WALKER: Well, coach wants us to be aggressive when opportunities come. We've got to take the shots when they're available but also just making plays. It's not necessarily about scoring, it's about making plays and getting opportunities for other people on the court. I think that's the biggest thing we've got to do if we want to be successful in the playoffs. We've got to make other plays on the floor and we just can't leave it in Dwyane's hands. We can't ask him to make plays for everybody, so when the opportunity comes and the ball swings, we have to stay aggressive and do what we do.
Q. You were kind of in attacking mode last night, hit, bait, getting to the basket. Conscious decision on your part or what the defense was giving you?
ANTOINE WALKER: Game 2 I felt like they challenged me, they charged me, ran out on me real good and made me take a couple shots that I really did not want to take. I just was trying to be conscious of those guys they were putting on the floor. It's all about adjustment and taking whatever they give me but just adjustments that I made personally.
Tomorrow it can be totally different. They can give me a shot, they might not rotate as fast on me, so whatever they give me, I'm just going to take.
Q. What do you see as the trickle-down when you attack, the lobs to Shaq and kicking it out and stuff like that? What happens to the team when you attack like that?
ANTOINE WALKER: Well, I think we give it to another playmaker obviously, but, I mean, it's tough to leave Shaq. When Ben Wallace wants to challenge my shot, the great thing about it, you can just throw the ball up in the air to Shaq and go, and he pretty much can finish it. We put them in a tough dilemma. When we scratch their defense and make them close out and rotate, that's what we want to do because when you try to be methodical and come down and just run your plays, they're too good defensively for that. We've got to get some guys moving. They're very long and athletic, so we've got to get Rasheed, Tayshaun moving and then attacking them that way because now you put a lot of pressure on Ben to make a decision whether he's going to help you block a shot or whether he's going to stay on Shaq. So we've got to keep attacking and going out.
Q. A couple of those guys, the Pistons guys, were questioning their strategies and questioning I guess their coach a little bit over there. Do you feel like you've got them shaken up a little bit about some of the things you guys are doing?
ANTOINE WALKER: I don't know. I mean, it's hard to say. It's hard, I think they've seen a different team. A lot of people don't understand the regular don't mean anything, and now you're in the playoffs. It's a big difference. I think they kind of expected us to be the same team they saw in the regular season, and we're a totally different team than we were in the regular season. I think we're just surprising them with a lot of things. They're probably seeing us be a lot more aggressive and guys that just take the basketball and play. We've got a lot of veteran guys that have been in this situation and guys are stepping up and taking their game to the next level.
Q. There's stats about teams that go up 3 to 1, like eight of 124 teams have gone on to come back and win the series, so it's not very many. How conscious is this team that winning Game 4 could really put the Pistons away?
ANTOINE WALKER: I mean, we're looking at it as a Game 7 type situation for us because obviously we didn't have home court advantage, and after we won Game 1 we kind of gained that so we don't want to lose that. Their team has been there before, they've been in a lot of different scenarios the last couple years. I'm sure they figure we get Game 4, we're going back home for the opportunity to go up 3-2. We've got to come out with the mentality that we have to come out and win at all costs. I think we've got to understand that and just keep saying that we've got to make the adjustments. Right now we've got to stay with our formula. What we've been doing, trying to pound the ball inside to Shaq and keep Richard Hamilton working on defense, keep letting Dwyane attack him as much as possible.

End of FastScripts...

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