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May 26, 2008

Flip Saunders


Q. Coach, Rasheed Wallace has had a couple struggling-type games I guess you could say. He's not making his three-point shot. Talk about what he's going through right now. Is it just the stress and playing KG as much as he has?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He's playing against a pretty good player, and I think that has a lot to do with it. He's really struggled with his three-point shot since Orlando, since the second game in Orlando. He's 3-for-20-something. And sometimes what happens, you get later in the year, your legs quite aren't there as far as in situations. But he's put in some extra time as far as in practice, shooting, so he understands that he needs to get that going to ease some pressure, to make the rest of his game flow a little bit more for him.
But like I said, he's playing a guy right now that is playing well. He's in a great rhythm, great groove, and the guy was Defensive Player of the Year. He's playing at a high level right now.

Q. You have found a way to get around the Chauncey-Rodney situation by getting them both up there at the same time in a three-guard lineup. Is there any thought about having Rodney play more minutes in place of Chauncey and going with a more traditional five?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, you know, in the games that we have played, we've done that some with the three people that's given us better energy, so we've looked to go smaller to create more of an energy flow for us.
Yeah, the big question is on Chauncey, Chauncey, Chauncey. We're going to have to wait and see how he is when he goes out. It's not just a matter of how he's playing; it's how the team is playing. If he's doing what he needs to do to initiate our offense, key our defense, contain people as far as defensively, then he'll play. If he's struggling with that I will not hesitate at all to go with Rodney and let Rodney play as far as the 1.
Now, we have to understand when Chauncey has gone in where Rodney we've let Rodney handle the ball a lot and try to play Chauncey off to ball to try to utilize him and get him some shots.

Q. When you look back at Game 3 and looked back at film on that, did Chauncey seem at all tentative as far as passing up shots?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, I thought he was tentative passing up shots. I don't know if it's as much right now his hamstring as it is the timing is off from not being able to practice and not only playing his third game in two weeks, two and a half weeks. So I think what the hamstring has done is maybe held back some of his timing issues as far as playing, because I thought he did turn down some shots that he had.
But he's trying. He took extra film home last night to look at some film to see what he's at. He's doing what he can to get both his body and his mind ready.

Q. Going back to Sheed for a second, first of all, when guys are struggling outside it seems like usually you say, let's get some things going inside, get some easy looks. Is that sort of the message that's been given to Sheed?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He's not getting easy looks against Garnett. We've gone to him, started out the game and went to him early and he got things going, and Garnett has gotten somewhat aggressive and pushed him out a little bit. But he's just not going to get plain, easy, open looks on KG. He's going to have to do both. It's not like he's taking ten threes a game, but he's taking some. Like I said, he's missed some, but yeah, initially we want to always try to get him the ball in the low block area and play off that if we can.

Q. I know you said on the radio that you guys were going to try to appeal the last technical.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I don't know. I haven't talked to Joe about that. I don't know what's happening.

Q. You recently relayed a story about Rodney in Atlanta where he kind of got upset with you for getting on his case. What I wanted to know about that is after that particular game, was there a particular point in time where the light kind of went off for him and he started doing the things you really wanted him to do?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I've said this I think last week or when he played well in Orlando, and I had mentioned that, and I thought we played San Antonio here, that I thought we played really, really well in that game, and I thought from the standpoint of kind of going in, making good decisions, running the show, understanding when he could look for his shot and be aggressive and when he could look for other people. I can specifically remember coming into our room seeing Joe afterwards and seeing Joe and saying, Joe, I think he's got it. From that game on he's been pretty consistent.
Has he had a couple games where he's questioned as far as a little bit? Yeah, as far as the Philly game on the road to start with, he was not great as the whole team was. But I think he's been pretty consistent here lately, and knock on wood, he's played not like a rookie but like a veteran.

Q. You went to the 1-2-2 trap thing. I know that was desperation time when you did that. Can that be more of a weapon?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I think we can use that a little bit. We'll try to use everything. I think that gives us energy. It spreads the floor a little bit for us, spreads the floor on them a little bit, gets them away from maybe their initial sets that they like. I think we have to be committed as far as in order to do that.
The one thing is the group that we had in there, they like playing that. Sometimes our starters don't like playing that as much, and you've got to really exert a lot of energy in order to be effective as far as in doing that. But I think we'll put it in bits and pieces.

Q. Last game we saw Maxie look a little bit more like the Maxie we've seen before. Talk a bit about that.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He goes through stretches of time where he plays so hard for periods of time, and he just wears himself out. He needs about two or three days to almost kind of regroup. And then when he regroups again he has his energy level. Hopefully he'll be able to play with that same energy tonight, which I don't doubt that he won't be able to do that.

Q. Everything is the same?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Yeah, everything is the same.

End of FastScripts

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