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May 28, 2006

Alonzo Mourning

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

ALONZO MOURNING: My time on the court has got to be productive time because I play the game very hard. Things just fall into place naturally.
Q. How excited were you to sort of have Coach Riley back, the bond you guys have and the attitude you both share, it seems to me anyway.
ALONZO MOURNING: Very exciting because I know what he brings to the table from a knowledge standpoint. I'm very excited because I know what he brings to the table from a knowledge standpoint. I mean, he's the only coach that has coached as many playoff games as he's coached in the history of the game. So that alone will bring a certain level of knowledge that will enable us, especially since he's seen so many different playoff games and situations and what have you, that level of knowledge will help us accomplish the goals that we need to accomplish collectively as a team because he's our leader.
The decisions that he makes out there on the court, the adjustments that he makes at the games and everything, adjustments flowing out of what he's seen before, and then when you compile that with the fact that you've got a team full of veteran players, some of which have played in the finals before, some of which have been in the Eastern Conference Finals, NBA Finals and what have you, then all of that knowledge alone can carry over to a pretty high success rate when you have that type of knowledge and experience on the team.
It's pleasing to have Pat Riley here because of that knowledge alone, you know, and I think as long as we continue to stay healthy, and guys already -- to tell you the truth, we've fallen into our roles. If we bring an effort each and every time to start games, it's going to be hard to beat us.
Q. Was last night an example of that?
ALONZO MOURNING: Perfect example. If we would have brought the type of effort in Game 2 as we did in Game 1 and Game 3, it's hard to beat us, very hard to beat us. I think our effort alone gets us going. It gets us going on the right foot. In regards to what the other team does, our collective effort -- I'm talking about bringing the energy, the defense, what have you, no matter how the other team is playing, there's no rules to how much effort you can bring.
There isn't anything in the rule book that says, hey, you'll be penalized if you bring this certain amount of effort. There's no rule with that. The thing about Game 2, we didn't bring it. Just watching the tape, it was too late, and it was like a Jekyll & Hyde type of team. Somewhat. It's just a matter of what team is going to show up tonight.
Q. When you started in this league, your job was to simply score 20, get ten rebounds. When you put that uniform on now, what is your goal that night, specifically, when you go out there?
ALONZO MOURNING: To make sure the minutes that I'm out on the court continues to enhance the level of the play of the team, and when I step out there on the court, the team continues to get better. Our play does not decline.
I don't want my time on the court to be wasting minutes. I'm going to go extremely hard. I know there's going to be limited minutes because Shaq will be back in within the next four or five minutes, so I try and make them very productive.
Q. Do you just go out and give everything you've got?
ALONZO MOURNING: I give everything I've got. It ain't a matter of pacing myself. Only if I know that Shaq is not playing that evening, then yeah, I might have to pace myself and pick my spots here and there. But backing him up, it ain't about pacing myself. I've got six fives, I've got a limited amount of time-out there, so I just go as hard as I can and try to continue to try to make sure the level of the team increases.
Q. From your playoff experience, how big a difference is it between being up 3-1 and being tied 2-2?
ALONZO MOURNING: Well, it's a big difference, a huge difference. Up 3-1, I think it's basically common sense, guys, for me to sit here and explain that. You're in a better situation. I know for sure that we're capable of being in that position if we approach the game the way I expect us to. At the same time, you've got a team that generally plays well at home, the Detroit Pistons. So therefore, if you go up 3-1, you have a little bit better control of the situation from the standpoint of obviously the series than being 2-2 knowing they have home court advantage.
We've got a great opportunity in front of us, and the guys here understand that, so it's just a matter of taking advantage of that opportunity and not letting this opportunity slip away.
Q. Talk about Pat Riley and other playoff runs. What have you noticed about Pat Riley in the middle of this playoff run that's different or the same?
Q. Yeah.
ALONZO MOURNING: I don't notice anything different to tell you the truth.
Q. Has he changed?
ALONZO MOURNING: I think the only thing that's changed is that a day like today, he would have gone extremely hard in the past. I think he has admitted to you all, he's admitted to us that from that perspective he has had to make an adjustment and a change because he doesn't have to do that anymore. That part of the game, of his approach to all of us is unnecessary. Looking back on it, he can honestly say that that might have been a detriment to some of our success in the past. I totally agree because I was playing 40-something minutes a game (laughter). I think his approach from that standpoint, from a practice standpoint, has been different.
But his knowledge of the game I think has just totally improved even more, especially with the adjustments of the game. His knowledge of the game in addition to the experience that we have on this team, the guys that have played in conference finals, the guys that have played in NBA finals, the combination of all that has definitely put us in a position where our knowledge has helped us overcome a lot of different situations out there on the court.
Q. When you said that you played a lot of basketball and seen a lot of different duos, where do Shaq and Dwyane rank in the duos that you've seen? How would you qualify them?
ALONZO MOURNING: You've got to put them up there in the top five, seriously, in the history of the game. I mean, you've got to put them up there.
I think the combination of them, what they bring on both ends of the court, not just on offense but on defense alone, I think the combination of both of them adds even more value to any of the combinations that you've probably seen in the past, in the history of this game. Obviously Shaq and Kobe, they were incredible together. And then there's some others like Hakeem, Drexler, those type of guys. But like I said, you look at their defensive presence as well as their offensive presence, it makes a huge impact on the game and it changes the game tremendously.
Q. Dwyane said that you wear your resume on your sleeve. The one thing that's missing from that resume obviously is that championship. At this point in your career how much do you kind of talk about it with your teammates, and how much more intensified is it to get that on the resume?
ALONZO MOURNING: I don't talk too much about it. I think my play speaks loudly, my effort out there on the court speaks loudly of how I feel about the opportunity that we have in front of us. I just try to play the game as hard as I can. I don't think that this is a team where you need to talk to them about it a whole lot because this is a team that has been scarred -- guys, individuals that have been scarred and cut up and put in very tough situations in the past to where they're bruised mentally and thinking about situations where they could have done it. Gary, I'm sure you can talk to him; it was a great situation, we could have done it. Myself, Shandon, I mean, the list goes on. Antoine, man, we could have done it.
So we've been battle scarred. That alone is enough knowledge for us to get through the obstacles that we've been confronted with thus far. So it's not a lot of talk.

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