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May 25, 2008

Sam Cassell


Q. When you didn't get in, was it at all frustrating for --
SAM CASSELL: It was very frustrating. This is my first year ever that I've sat out in the playoff games, didn't get no playing time for four games. That was the first time ever in my career. It bothers not just me, but everyone around, like, "why are you not playing?" I'm not disguising it, but it's just tough. I ain't going to lie, it was tougher, because I knew I could play. I competed against these guys with my teammates, with other teams before in the playoffs and had a lot of success. But me getting here late in the year, who knows.

Q. How much more gratifying does that make it even if it's just a couple of shots, to make the contribution you did at a time when you did?
SAM CASSELL: I never had a problem making shots. It's just awkward sometimes when you play three or four minutes, you know what I'm saying. But all this is brand new for me. I've been in this situation before, so nobody is standing -- it's a road that it takes time to get comfortable with, so I'm not complaining about it. So I just need time to get comfortable with the role.

Q. That stretch last night, 14-2 stretch that answered their big run, do you think that was maybe the most important part of the game last night?
SAM CASSELL: Well, in the playoffs you just try to get the opportunity to play, so what we did yesterday, there was no big surprises, just we got opportunities to showcase things that we can do. Our starters played well during the course of the year, and our reserves here, since I've been playing, have been playing pretty good throughout the year, too.

Q. That one jump shot you hit looked like exactly the kind of jump shot that you'd play against Allen and those other guys one-on-one.

Q. I'm sure you've practiced that a million times.
SAM CASSELL: That's what you play the one-on-one game for, for shot situations like that.

Q. And the three? You've never been afraid to take a three.
SAM CASSELL: I made a couple of them in my career (laughter). Just a couple.

Q. You probably know Kevin as well as anybody here or better than anybody here. During the period that you weren't out there, did he say anything to you, did you discuss anything with him, bounce anything off him, have him as a sounding board?
SAM CASSELL: Well, Kev is Kev. He's not the coach. I'm pretty sure he would love to have me out there, but that's not his job, to make the decision who plays and who don't play. He knows I'm ready for this battle. This is not that tough, you know what I'm saying, compared to what I went through early in my career. It should be a grappling match, a fight getting the ball up the court; it's not that tough. But I think the game has improved. But as far as jumping and running, the physical aspect of the game has definitely took a step backwards, a major step backwards. I don't think the game is physical like it used to be by far. But I think that's why I'm playing so long, too; the game is not that physical.

Q. In this series, averaging 24 points, 12 rebounds, he's obviously got a tremendous career, but have you seen any more focus on his part in these games? Seems like in the middle of the Cleveland series when he's getting the ball in the post and he doesn't get doubled, he's making more of a conscious effort to go at the basket?
SAM CASSELL: Well, we're closer to our ultimate goal. He's never played in the Finals, so he's close -- he understands it, and you've got to do it now. You can't wait, because who knows what may happen next series. So you've got to go after it while it's a fight. The fight has been good right now for us, but there's a whole lot of work to be done. It's going to take a hell of an effort from us tomorrow to win this ballgame.

End of FastScripts

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