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June 12, 2008

Paul Pierce


Q. Can you talk about the defensive intensity starting in the third quarter, especially your own, D on Kobe, seemed like he was trying to take you one-on-one a lot and you were able to hold your own.
PAUL PIERCE: We said coming out of the third quarter that regardless of what the score is, we're not going to look at the score, we're just going to go out and play and compete. I just thought they did a better job of competing, getting to all the loose balls, outrunning us, rebounds. If we go out there for the next 24 minutes and compete and not worry about the score and play like our lives defended on it, we'll have a chance and we can be happy about our effort at the end of the day. That's all I said.
We just went out there and played as hard as we could, and we believed and we stuck together and was able to pull off this win. Incredible.

Q. Can you just talk about the importance of the third quarter? That was obviously when the game changed. And at what point in that third quarter did you guys start to believe we can win this thing?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, it wasn't about believing that we can win. It was just, like I said, going out there and competing. It was just going out there and putting out the effort, and then you're looking at the results. Once we started cutting into it, we fed off the energy from our bench, fed our off defense, made the extra passes, was able to knock down shots. We got aggressive and we stayed aggressive, and once we cut it I think it was under 10, once we got to that point with a lot of time left, we believed, hey, we can take this home.

Q. Can you talk about being on the verge of something very special?
PAUL PIERCE: You know, I'm happy for the win, but the guys are excited. But after that, Sam, Pose, you know, those guys have won championships. They said, hey, the close- out game is the hardest game. You thought this game was hard. So hey, I don't want to get overjoyed, I want to go out there to try to win Game 5 on Father's Day and then I'll be able to breathe. Right now I'm waiting to exhale.

Q. Doc said at halftime you asked him to guard Kobe. Why did you do that, and what did you do to contain him?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, I felt like I could be a little bit more physical on him. I didn't think he would be able to post me as easy as he wanted to. You know, I'm a little bit taller than Ray, so I can get a hand up, challenge him a little bit more. The whole thing is it's hard to stop a player like Kobe Bryant. He's the MVP, numerous scoring titles. If he can go out there and make him work for everything he got, you give yourselves a chance, and that's all I wanted to do, just make him work.

Q. You've been in situations like this coming back from huge deficits, but in this situation, in The Finals, on the road, against the Lakers, can you talk about what it means for you to overcome a team in this situation?
PAUL PIERCE: You know, it's great right now, but I think when I get a chance this summer to sit back and look at it all, I'll be able to soak it in a little bit better than I am right now. It's a great win, we're grateful to be up 3-1. Like I said, when I look back at this season, when I look back at this series, when I look back at this game after I sit down, then I'll be able to soak it all in and really tell you how it feels. Right now I'm just happy to be up 3-1 with a chance on Sunday to close it out.

Q. But the idea that this team doesn't give up, can you talk about that, the resiliency of this team?
PAUL PIERCE: I already knew that. I knew we weren't going to lay down.

Q. How discouraging was it to go into the half with a shot from Jordan Farmar?
PAUL PIERCE: That was something that could have easily delated it, to go to 18 after we worked so hard to cut it to 12, 13 points. I knew this team would fight. We've been through a lot of wars throughout the season and in the playoffs, and I knew regardless we were going to fight back and we weren't going to lay down.

Q. A number of general managers have said this league is changing rapidly, small ball, athletic players. There's a shift in things happening. With the Finals, both teams have been using small line-ups to go at each other at different times. Do you think things are changing right before our eyes with the way things have turned out?
PAUL PIERCE: I don't know if it's small ball. It just looks like the taller players are just becoming more well-rounded. You look at a guy like Kevin Garnett, he can dribble, shoot, pass. A guy like Lamar Odom, these guys can play center and forward. The guys are becoming more well-rounded. It may seem like they're going small, but Lamar Odom, he's their forward, but he's 6' 10" and he can drive the ball. I think the players are becoming more versatile at the positions you wouldn't expect it.

Q. You guys obviously expended a lot of energy coming back from such a big deficit tonight. Yet two games before Game 4, are you happy to have that extra day or would you rather play after a day and keep the same schedule?
PAUL PIERCE: I think these next two days are great because I'm feeling kind of sore, kind of tweaked my knee tonight. Rajon is hurting, Perk hurt his shoulder tonight, so I think these two days will be great for us to recuperate from our minor injuries and try to suck it up on Sunday and end this thing before things get worse.

Q. When Eddie goes in and Pose goes in, they space the floor. What does that do for you and help you out as a shooter?
PAUL PIERCE: That's our best offensive lineup. When you have Eddie, he can extend the defense along with Posey. That's what we tried to do. That's what really sped up the game. The disadvantage would be on the rebound, but the advantage would be our quickness, our ball handling and our shooting. So we were able to spread the court, drive the lanes.
As you saw, Ray got a wide-open lay-up late because the guys couldn't come off the shooter. It makes it a lineup that's difficult to stop when you have that many shooters on the court and be able to penetrate and shoot the gaps and find them.

Q. You've also been with Doc longer than anyone here. What can you say about the way he's coached this series coming in as the less experienced coach?
PAUL PIERCE: He's done a great job. I mean, he knows the game better than anybody I've played with on this level. He's easy to get along with. Even though we were down 20 some points, he kept his composure. He said, "hey, let's not worry about that, let's go out and compete." He didn't over-scream, he didn't get nervous, he just said, "hey, let's go out there and win the game, you guys can win the game," especially late.
We've got a lot in common. We're both Libras. Our birthday is on the same day, if y'all didn't know that. He's been great for me.

Q. Even though it was a tremendous comeback win for you and your teammates, can you talk about how even more special it is for you doing it at home against a team that you idolized when you were growing up?
PAUL PIERCE: You know, it's a dream if I can come out here and win on Sunday. I don't even know what to think about. I don't want to get over-excited right now over one win. It's definitely a great win, one that you're going to put up there in the library and break back out one day for your kids to watch. But I want nothing more than that ring right now and I'm not going to get over-excited. Definitely these moments are great, and like I said, I'll be able to enjoy it even more once it's all over.

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