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May 22, 2008

Flip Saunders


Q. At the shootaround we found out obviously about the Flagrant 1 on Rip. Did you know at the time that it was questionable?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I thought maybe it was a little bit. Competitive game. As I said, you know, when KG -- I think he set 53 screens on the ball in a game. When you set that many screens, you're going to get hit a couple times, and I think that's what happened.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the role of the bench, particularly in this game tonight? Other than Stuckey, you guys didn't really get a whole lot of juice out of that second unit.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, I thought Lindsey gave us good juice. I thought he played well defensively for us, hit his shot. We've got to get more out of our bigs if we can, just from a presence standpoint.
But a lot has to do, too, is that you can't expect -- our starters didn't have a lot of juice early, and so when you get off to the start that we got off to, so bad, you start shooting the ball wide and establishing what you want to establish, it's tough for the bench to come in and then for them to try to establish.
So it's important for our bench -- I think, for our main guys to establish how we're going to play the game, and then the bench have the opportunity when they get in there to play off that. So that's going to be a big key. But our bench is going to have to produce. I think Stuckey will continue to grow, continue to develop, continue to play well, and hopefully some of our up-front guys are going to give us some good quality minutes, both defensively and offensively.

Q. How closely will you watch Chauncey tonight? Will he have a shorter leash?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: No, because I think based on how he was in the fourth quarter, being a little bit more explosive -- I'm going to probably leave that more to Arnie, have him looking at him. If Arnie sees some things that he doesn't think he's operating as well, then we'll go that way with him.

Q. Same active, same inactive?

Q. Obviously people here are quite familiar with Dave Cowens. Would you just speak a little bit as to what types of things he brings to your staff?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, Dave, of course, one, he's an unbelievable competitor, and he brings knowledge, he brings somebody that has been a head coach in this league, both him and Terry, and I think when you have someone that has been there, has been in that seat, he understands as a head coach what you're going through, so you bounce a lot of things off him.
He's done a good job with our big players, our young players. I think the development a lot of Maxiell and Amir Johnson, both those guys, they work with Dave a lot. Dave's spent a lot of time on Maxie with his free-throw shooting. So he just gives a lot of knowledge.
As I told him, hopefully he'll have another opportunity to be a head coach if that's something he wants to do. I think right now he likes what he's doing. He enjoys the camaraderie of the team, he enjoys working with players, and those are definitely his strengths.

Q. Celtics were the best team in the league record-wise at least, and then the playoffs came, and they've had two seven-game series that were grueling. You've played them once. Do you think they've gained something or lost something since the season ended?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, based on how they played against us the other night, I thought they played pretty good. What happens a little bit, when you have the record that they had and you seal things up so quick, they sealed up home court three weeks before the season ended, even though you're playing, you might win some games but you might lose a little bit of that edge. Then they got into the playoffs and they played a very athletic team in Atlanta, played with a lot of emotion and give them a tough series. And then Cleveland, we went through them last year with LeBron; they're always going to give you a tough series.
So I don't know if it's maybe where some people think they've lost a lot or the situation of what we are. But based on how they played last game I thought they played well. I thought Garnett and Pierce played extremely well. Ray still has not found his shot; I hope he stays that way. But I think they are playing well as a unit. Over the course of a year, they've been a very solid defensive team, and that's something that's not going to change, and that's why they've had the ability to go unblemished at home, because they defend at home. And with their home crowd, they get emotion into the game. At some point they're going to get on an offensive run, and when they get on that offensive run, they can play off that run.

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