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May 20, 2008

Flip Saunders


Q. Flip, could you just talk about just your general thoughts on tonight. It seemed like you guys for the most part were kind of a step behind tonight.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, we just didn't seem to be in a good flow. They may have had something to do with that. Just couldn't get up over the hump. We didn't get into our offense quick enough. Defensively we were a step slow on rotations. They shot the ball well. I told our guys as bad as we played, we had opportunities. In the third quarter I think we had six or seven turnovers, which basically blew the game open and we had trouble recovering from that.

Q. Chauncey and Rip had only one field goal, only six shots in the first half. They seemed passive, not as aggressive in the first half.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Like I said, we just didn't get in the flow. They were aggressive. They took away some of our pick-and-roll situations. We swung the ball. We got some pretty good looks. Didn't make some shots early. What we did do, we did attack the basket in the second quarter. Got to the free-throw line a lot. Got us back in the game.
Like I said, we didn't play with great flow offensively. When we did, we moved the ball, we made some shots. We just weren't consistent enough.

Q. Kevin averaged just under 20 in the regular season, but for some reason he seemed to have a lot of success, even had a big game offensively tonight. What is he doing?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He just got aggressive. You know, got in situations, pick-and-pop situations, knocking down the 17-footer. He played well. KG is one of those that if he gets off to a good start and hits the first two or three jumpers, he can get it rolling. I think he was extra excited to play against Rasheed, gets pumped up to play. He came out and I thought he set the tone early.

Q. Did you feel like what you saw in the second half, did you sense that the rust was kind of getting shook off a little bit?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, I think a little bit. It wasn't a matter of rust as it was we had too many mental mistakes. We weren't in the right situations on some offensive sets. We weren't in the right situation on some defensive rotations, and when you do that, it messes up the whole team. And the whole team looks a step slow because you've got one guy out of place at times. So we've got to look at some film and make sure that we get a little sharper on that, no question.

Q. Can you talk about Rajon and just how much did he disrupt things out there?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He did a nice job defensively picking up the floor, got into some things off the ball, knocking some things. And then he made the big shot out of the corner, made the big three, two big shots in the fourth quarter. When the shot clock was coming down, he rose up and shot that like he knew it was going in. When he's making those shots, like I said -- I thought at the beginning of the year when we played them, I thought he was one of the most improved players in the league, and he's playing extremely especially in these playoffs at home.

Q. That question kind of anticipated mine, but are you prepared to live with him taking those kind of particular shots?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: No, because I think he can make those. You can't give him too many dare shots, as I'd call it. When he's made shots, they've been successful, and he's made shots at home and they've been able to win at home. He hasn't shot the ball as well on the road as he has at home, but we have to be in a situation to contest more of those shots.

Q. Can you talk about what they were able to do to limit Rip in the first half and what adjustments were made in the second half where he seemed to get into a better flow?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: One, we were getting into our offense slower in the first half, so we weren't able to turn it over. The second half I thought we were able to get into our offense a little quicker, we were able to turn it over. We pushed the ball up the floor a little bit more, had a couple more open looks. We have to get him running a little bit. We tried to establish some things early, inside if we could. Stuckey had some success going to the basket, and so when you're struggling scoring-wise and you get someone that gets a couple, you go with the guy that's got a little bit of a hot streak going.

Q. How did Chauncey look to you physically?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He hasn't really played in a game since ten days or so, so I think he looked a little bit -- wasn't as maybe comfortable coming off screens looking to shoot it as quick. I thought he was a little better even late. Even though he missed a couple late, he looked more for his shot. He's going to have to be aggressive for us.

Q. When you say you saw improvement in Rondo at the beginning of the year, have you seen also improvement since then?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, no, because I thought he played at the beginning of the year how he's played tonight. So I think he's been pretty consistent.

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