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 23, 2008

Flip Saunders


Q. Obviously they've had trouble winning on the road, but you can't expect that to continue forever.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Sure. I think that their two games they played, these first two games, are probably two of the better games that they've played. I thought they played well last night. I thought they played well the first game, and we have to expect that they're going to come in, they're going to have a great focus. This is the first time they've been in a series where they're going on the road. It's 1-1 and people are going to say, well, they haven't won on the road, can they win on the road? So they're going to come in with a great focus.
We've got to come in knowing that just because we're playing at home doesn't mean anything. We've got to have the same focus, and what we've got to hope is the adrenaline of our crowd is going to help us play with even more energy than we've been able to play with on the road.

Q. When you look at what they have done on the road, have they just been less aggressive?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: It's just been match-ups, who they played. Atlanta was a very energetic team. Their crowd was unbelievable. They played with a great enthusiasm. And then when they played Cleveland they played LeBron, and LeBron at home is great because he gets to the free-throw line a lot and makes plays for other people.
More than anything else, I think a lot, as far as who they played, what you have to do is you have to make them play from behind. You can't let them get into a flow and control the tempo of the game.

Q. They were one of the best road teams during the regular season. Does this kind of just show you the difference of the playoffs?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, as I always say, playoffs, it's more match-ups than who you're playing or whatever, as far as what your record is. I think for them it's just a matter of who they've been matched up against. Hopefully what we'll do is we'll go out and do the things that we did on the road and continue at home.

Q. They haven't been in a situation where they needed to win a game on the road until now.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: That's what I just said. That's why they're going to have great concentration. They know that. A lot of people don't expect them because they haven't won.
You don't all of a sudden go from the best road team in the league during the regular season to, well, they're never going to win on the road.
Like I said, these last couple games that they played, you know, they played well. I thought that fourth quarter there were more big shots made by both teams. It wasn't where -- other times they had lost on the road because I thought they played tight maybe, but I don't think they showed any tightness in how they played, even when they were down by eight or nine against us last night.

Q. Given the circumstances of last night and the quality of the opponent and everything, is that in your three years here as good a performance in the postseason as you've had?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, probably as far as in the postseason just because you're playing a team that hasn't lost at home. I thought their three main guys for the first time in the playoffs all played well together. They played really well. So yeah, we played -- when we play well, usually it's a team effort; a lot of people are involved. And last night was a fine example of that.

Q. When their three guys play well and score 75 points or whatever and you still win, is that even more encouraging, like that's about what they can do and you still --
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: They can do more, that's the scary thing. Their main guys played well, but what you don't want to do is have them play great. You can't have it where one of their main goes is going out for 35 or 36. You want to try to do what you can to try to contain them as much as possible. If they're getting their 25 or 26, you hope what you can do is choke off the other players, and that's what we did last night. We choked off some of their role players.

Q. How about your bench, particularly Stuckey but also Theo and Lindsey, they really seemed to give you a lift?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: They helped us defensively. Lindsey hit a couple shots. Our bench played well. Stuckey was great. He's been great really since he got used to the playoffs. He's kind of like how we were against Philadelphia. After we got into Game 4 and we started playing well, he's played well ever since, knock on wood, so hopefully he'll continue to do that.

Q. Was that a training period for him in that game or was there something that opened up for him?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, just the team. I'll tell you, any bench players, when your team is not playing well, your main guys, you can't all of a sudden come in and expect that you're going to play well when they're not because you're playing with them and you're playing off them. And I think when our main guys start playing better, his game elevated, and the more his game elevated, the more confidence he's gotten.

Q. Do you expect him to get that many minutes the next game?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, he'll continue to get minutes.

Q. He says, I'm not scared, I'm confident. That's his refrain with us. Do you buy that?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Oh, yeah, he's never shown that. Even when he makes -- I think even when he's played poor at times, it's just been because -- it's not a confidence level, he just didn't play well. But he's never wavered in his confidence.

Q. Is that the most composure you guys have played with in a while?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: No, we played with great composure down in Orlando and we didn't have Chauncey. You can go back and we played San Antonio and beat them down in San Antonio during the regular season, we beat Phoenix by 30. We've been able to go on the road against good teams, and as long as we control the tempo and don't turn the ball over, we've been able to keep our composure and have success.

Q. Did Chauncey have any kind of setback yesterday?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: A little bit. He's a little sore today, but he'll be okay.

Q. Did he go?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, he did stuff today.

Q. You had the national telecasters comparing Stuckey to D Wade last night. Your thoughts on that comparison?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, originally we thought that. You don't want to put that label on somebody. He's a little bit different in that he's more of a -- Stuckey is really more of a point guard. Dwyane plays off the ball. Can play with the ball but likes to play off the ball and makes plays. But he's like that because he's 6'5", he's big, he's athletic and he's dynamic, and that's a lot what Wade is.
Yeah, as I told the media when they asked me last week, four or five days ago about it, I said, he's going to be riding Stuckey before it's all said and done.

Q. Garnett is really extending the defense. I mean, he's guarding Rasheed even beyond the three-point line. He only had seven attempts last night, Rasheed, but him coming out that far, is that opening things up for you guys a little bit?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Sheed is going to take what's given to him, and that's the luxury of this team. It's not a one-dimensional team where if one guy doesn't get his shots, we're going to falter. Last night was a game that Rip had it going. Rip was getting to the free-throw line. Chauncey, our guards had it going. But what does happen, because of Sheed's ability to shoot, you've got to honor him, and that does open up lanes for those guys to penetrate.

Q. (Inaudible) Is it possible to always do that and get away from the little freelance things that guys tend to do?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, you try to. I mean, that's what you ideally try to do.

Q. Is it possible to --
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I mean, it's possible. It is. But you've got to change things up a little bit, too. If we did it often, people would really complain that we're a jump-shooting team.

Q. So like when Rip really wants to back somebody down --
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, but he does that normally. It's because of who he's matched up against. I think that's what you have to do. He was in a situation where he thought Ray Allen had gotten in foul trouble. It was tough for him to get into him and defend him and chase him for fear of fouling out, so it was kind of a combination of things. Usually we're at our best when we run stuff and kind of play off it.

Q. What was Garnett's screen count last night?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I didn't count them all. He didn't have as many.

Q. It didn't seem like he ran as many.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: We did some things that really prevented him from getting some solid screens.

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