home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 21, 2007

Flip Saunders


Q. Coach, after winning three out of four regular season games with Cleveland, what can you take from that that can maybe help you at all in this series?
COACH SAUNDERS: Well, the biggest thing is that we were able to control the tempo of the game. Defensively pretty much in the three games we won we were able to lock in defensively and didn't give them a lot of opportunities, and probably more so than anything we rebounded the ball very well against them, which has been their forte. We were able to outrebound them. That's going to be a big key to the series, being able to control in the paint, both from a rebounding standpoint and being able to score in the paint.

Q. So much of sport and basketball is individual driven now and star driven, if you look at the individual award voting totals this season, there weren't many Pistons named on there. Can you talk about what goes into a team being successful?
COACH SAUNDERS: Well, I think, one, that was a philosophy that Joe had, Dumars, when he played, I think a philosophy back when he played in 1989, in those years, and I think it's a philosophy that he believes in, that it's better to have a team and play as a team and not as individuals, and that the success of the team is based on what the team does and not on the individuals. When Joe put together this team, it started when he took over, and as he put this team together, it was always with that in mind.
So sometimes when you do that, you get people that maybe are not as flamboyant or maybe they don't do maybe a lot of exciting things, but they're efficient. So I think that's the type of team we have, more of an efficient team than maybe a flamboyant team, and very similar when people probably look at San Antonio the same way.

Q. Tayshaun said the other day don't look for him to play 44, 45 minutes, especially in the first couple games of the series. Can you talk about what you think his workload is going to be? Obviously he's averaging 40 coming in.
COACH SAUNDERS: We'd like to get him below that a little bit, get him in the 30s. I think a lot depends on the tempo of the game and a lot is going to depend on just how -- like I said, the tempo of the game and the pace of the game, how time-outs are as far as like in a fourth quarter-type situation and also how we're playing, what kind of rhythm we're in, and if he's a guy that we have to use him a lot at times and we can't give him breaks defensively or we have to use him at both ends a lot, then he's going to exert more energy and we can't use him a lot.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Larry Hughes and what problems, if any, he presents for Chauncey because he's a little bit longer defender than what Chauncey is used to?
COACH SAUNDERS: Well, as you said, he's really kind of a combo guard, but he's long. I think his biggest thing is his ability as a team defender and to be able to jump out into lanes. He really looks to create a lot of steal opportunities himself and uses his length and his quickness.
I think the thing with us, we're geared so much as far as getting Chauncey, whether it be in pick-and-rolls or getting him freed by some type of screen, that I think we'll be able to release some of that pressure hopefully.

Q. There's been so much made in the last season really about how the NBA is becoming more geared towards the running teams and the small ball and all of that. When you look at the four teams left, what does that say about what's going on right now in the NBA?
COACH SAUNDERS: Well, I think as I've said all along, I don't think you can legislate a style of play to be successful in our league. I think no matter what sport it boils down to, that your defense takes priority at times, especially in playoff-type situations because when you're playing somebody five times or seven times in a two-week period, you start knowing so much what they're doing offensively that you're able to lock down more defensively, what happens is the games come at a slower pace sometimes.
So like I said, usually what happens in a series, the better teams win, and it's over a seven-game series.
Right now I can remember during the season, I told a lot of people from the beginning that I thought in the west you'd have to watch out for San Antonio just because of their style of play and how they play. I think something that what is happening is so many teams are trying to play so much of an up-tempo type game that the teams that play more of a defense in order to be maybe a more control type game that they don't see that every night, and sometimes it's easier to adjust to playing a faster team than it is to playing a slower team over a seven-game series.

Q. What did the Cavs show you maybe in the first couple rounds of the playoffs that maybe not surprised you but kind of piqued your interest?
COACH SAUNDERS: I think the biggest thing why they were able to advance and mature as a team is the support that LeBron got from other players, and not maybe one consistent guy but different people over different games, and that even though LeBron does a lot for their team, it's not a carry-over thing all the time.
I told someone earlier today I was more impressed with his ability in the amount of assists he had over these playoffs and the plays he made for other people than maybe the plays he made for himself.

Q. Another question about Chauncey, his offense. In the 15 games he's played against them in the last two years he's shooting 35 percent. Do you have any theories why he's had more trouble with them than any other team in terms of his shooting?
COACH SAUNDERS: No, I think Chauncey goes through stretches where he doesn't shoot the ball well and maybe doesn't take as many shots.
Chauncey is one of those guys, he can be 1-for-10 -- last game against Chicago, he had 25 points and tried to get to the free-throw line and be efficient that way. Chauncey is a good enough player that he's going to find a way to be efficient for us.

Q. I'm just wondering, do you think there's a rivalry between these two teams? Is there any bad blood after the series last year?
COACH SAUNDERS: I mean, I'm sure that rivalries, they always have a tendency to grow, especially in a series, as the series progresses and keeps on growing. But I think there's a respect, and there's no question that it was a very heated series last year. Whether it's a rivalry, I think we'll find out over the next 15 days.

Q. Talk a little bit about the Tayshaun versus LeBron match-up. Is it your goal to make LeBron really work defensively and maybe give Tayshaun the ball a little bit more, without giving away the game plan?
COACH SAUNDERS: Anyone that's watched us play knows Tayshaun is a big part of what we do offensively. Whoever is guarding him is going to have to play him. LeBron, you can't make him be an efficient player. You've got to try to limit his opportunities, both with the basketball and then when he's trying to create for himself and create for other people, as much as you can.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297