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 27, 2007

Flip Saunders


Q. Just the obvious of what you expect back in their building coming out, and particularly from LeBron James?
COACH SAUNDERS: I think the big key is any time you come into a building in the playoffs after you've played two at your place, you come into their place and you expect they have urgency and there's going to be a lot of energy and emotion. Yeah, our big key is we've got to be able to match the urgency that they're going to have, the emotion that's going to be in the building. You've got to play with composure. Sometimes those three things don't go together, especially as far as on the road.
I think LeBron will be extremely aggressive. There's no question. At home they run a lot more, they try to get easier buckets. They feed off their crowd. We've had success on the road, and part of the reason we've had success is our ability to not turn the basketball over and our ability as far as to control tempo, at least through this series, and part of the Chicago series, we have turned the ball over, so that's going to be a concern being able to hold our turnovers down.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about if you've talked to Tayshaun any and just what you've said to him about his problems shooting?
COACH SAUNDERS: I very rarely talk to our guys about shooting. Our offense, we talk about defense. I think he's done as good a job as we could ask him to do and our team has done as far as defending Cleveland and what they're trying to accomplish and what they're trying to do. I think what you see in this series, and I think a lot of times it happens not as individuals but teams, when you put a lot of emphasis defensively on trying to stop an individual or a team, what happens is your offense suffers. I think you've seen that both in this series with individual players, and I think you've seen it as a team that both teams have really put a lot of emphasis on trying to take away other teams' main parts of their offense, and in doing that both offenses become stagnant at times. And also because both teams have exerted so much energy defensively, it's like you've got an offense and they're always trying to catch their breath from what's been going on at the other end defensively.

Q. You've coached in the West, now you're in the East, the last couple days I've heard TV types refer to the first two games as brutal, I'm just throwing out adages, brutal, unwatchable, you've probably heard. Is beauty in the eyes of the beholder with games that are 79-76?
COACH SAUNDERS: Well, I think a little bit. I think a lot just depends on the personnel you have and the style you have and what's effective for the personnel that you have.
The East has always been notorious for being maybe a little bit more defensive oriented, a little bit more slow down, not as open, and maybe the personnel -- because what happens when you get a team that's successful and they're playing that way in your conference, you try to get players that can beat that type of team. So what happens is that usually when your teams become good, whatever team is good, the personality of that conference takes the personality of that team at times. I think that's what you've seen a lot as far as in the East.
A little bit as far as in the West changed, but San Antonio is still more of a defensive team as far as out West. But I wouldn't say from a basketball person watching an entertaining games that maybe our games haven't been the most entertaining because there hasn't been a lot of runs in the game, hasn't been a lot of dunks in the game, hasn't been a lot of those type of plays that might lead to the average fan watching and saying that's exciting-type basketball. From a purist standpoint, to see how teams go out and how they're basically working defending and playing defense and playing hard, that's maybe a different story.

Q. Since Chauncey Billups sort of got on the national radar during The Finals, teams have paid a lot of attention to him, and defenses can read these sets and they jump the pick-and-roll, why do you think you haven't had more success in exploiting that?
COACH SAUNDERS: We've had success, we just haven't had shots. Our team is not built on one guy. Chauncey has had some right plays. He's had some unforced turnovers. We play, Chauncey gets rid of the ball, our ability is for either Tayshaun, Rip, Chris, Rasheed, McDyess, those guys in particular to make plays off of two guys trapping Chauncey, and right now as we've seen, Tay is 1-for-19 in two games but he hasn't made some shots.
I think in order to take any kind of pressure off traps, whether it's a low-post trap or it's a trap on a guard or it's a trap on LeBron James, other guys have to make plays, and if those guys don't make plays at a high level, people are going to continue to trap and take that individual out of maybe what they want to do.
For us, we're geared to other guys making plays. So I think our other guys when they make more plays are going to ease things up for Chauncey. The one thing that's happened is Chauncey has made plays in the fourth quarter which notoriously he's known for, making fourth quarter plays and getting to the free-throw line. So that's been a positive. The positive is also he's not taking bad shots. He's shooting a high percentage so, he's not playing -- he's obviously out of character from that standpoint.

Q. Is this one of the bigger games that you've coached in Cleveland? You have a lot of family and friends here. What's it like?
COACH SAUNDERS: Probably the biggest game and the most nervous I was was the first time I coached in Cleveland. My first time I ever coached was in Cleveland. I think right now, I think when you get this far, as far as in the playoffs, you exert so much energy as a coach, players, media, everybody, you're so much attuned to what's happening in the series that everything else becomes kind of second-nature.
So it was good to get home, it was good to go see my mom and dad, and good to have some pierogies and do those things, so it was good coming back to Cleveland for sure.

Q. You've been able to win the first two games, but do you have any concerns that you haven't been able to put up your best effort so far?
COACH SAUNDERS: As coaches we've got concerns whether we win by 2 or whether we win by 20 because you can always get better. I guess I have concerns because we offensively haven't played as sharp as I would have liked to. We've turned the ball over more than I would have liked to, but I can't fault our guys because defensively we've been locked in, and when you hold a team to 35 points one half and 36 in the second half, they're doing something right. We've been very consistent in most of the games that we've played where we've had very solid second halves and have been able to ratchet up a little bit.

Q. The Cavs are drawing some confidence from the fact that they lost the first two last year, then came back here and won three in a row. Do you see a difference in your team's mentality from last year that may convince you that they're more guarded against that happening again?
COACH SAUNDERS: Yeah, you're always going to try to hang your hat on something, no matter what it is. You know, they've done some positive things defensively through the first two games. But our guys, we know that if we go out and play the way we're supposed to play, we're going to have a chance for success. We know it's not going to be easy tonight. It's never easy when you go on the road. The farther you advance, every game is going to be tough. We know we're going to have to play our best game tonight in order to have an opportunity to win. We know that.

Q. Going back to you were talking about the success you've had in second halves, the Cavs especially are talking about third quarters and how they've come out flat after halftime. From what you see, from your guys, is there almost a mentality that changes at halftime or what do you chalk it up to that you seem to come out in the third quarter?
COACH SAUNDERS: I think part of it a little bit boils down to experience, being able to -- for players to kind of judge what's happening in a game and being able to maybe catch your breath a little bit at halftime and go out and attack those -- their weaknesses a little bit. I think most of your great teams have always been able to do that. It's like I remember, and Sam can verify this, it's like when you used to play Chicago when they were great, it's like the second half started and you were sitting on the sidelines and you were just waiting for them to turn up, when is it going to happen. You were waiting for it, and when it happened, usually it was a barrage and teams had trouble dealing with it.
So you hope that that's the mentality your team has, and on the other hand you hope that the opposing team is maybe thinking the same thing because if you have success, when you do turn it up, it can carry over and kind of snowball.

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