Saunders Q&A

In the interest of getting you the most information as quickly as possible, here’s a transcript of tonight’s press conference by Flip Saunders, provided by the NBA:

Q. Flip, rebounding has been an issue throughout this series, but it really, really crushed you guys tonight. Talk about that.

COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: We got beat off some penetration on the top, which used up our bigs. Perkins was great on the glass. We withstood a little bit the last game just because of McDyess, but what’s happened is they’ve broken us down on the perimeter a few times and we’ve had to use that, or Garnett is playing outside a lot and we’re having to rotate to him because he’s knocking down shots, and our big is rotating to big. We’re trying to get the ball out of their guards’ hand, Pierce’s hands, and we’ve got two bigs on the perimeter.

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Perkins is eating us up. The games that they’ve won, he’s had big games. He’s played well for them as far as on the glass. Tonight was a game where Perkins played well, Rondo did a great job assist-wise, Allen had his best game and Garnett was great tonight. So they had four guys that played at a high level.


Q. Just talk about just not being able to get over the hump in the fourth quarter, and also the position that you guys are in now.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Well, not getting up over the hump is — we buried ourselves a little bit — when you get beat on the boards like we did, it’s going to take a toll on you, and I think it did a little bit. One, it cost us some — McDyess, as far as in foul trouble for a lot of the game. We weren’t able to match McDyess up on Garnett. KG had a monster game as far as tonight.
But I told our guys after the game I was proud of them. We’re not going away. They had guys that played a heck of a game. They got three points off their bench. We struggled at times rebounding-wise and we still had opportunities down the stretch.
So we got to do what we do. We’ve got to go back home and play with the same intensity we did tonight, and play there and then come back here as far as our main focus.
But we didn’t rebound, but we did a lot of other good things to put ourselves in position to be in the game. That was the surprising thing, that we were in the game at the end. I’m sure everybody was surprised.
Q. Talk about your decision with about five minutes to go. You took Lindsey out at that time and brought Chauncey in. It wasn’t popular with your players at the time. They seemed to protest that, but obviously Chauncey went and did what he did down the stretch. Talk about the mindset.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: All the decisions I make aren’t popular, media, players, whatever it is. Chauncey, he can make big shots. Lindsey did a great job for us and got us in that position, and I wasn’t going to hesitate to go back with him defending as far as in that situation. But I thought that we had some scattering offensive sequences in there, and I thought we needed to make sure that we had a guy that runs our show. Even though we put the ball in Stuckey’s hands, Chauncey played a little bit off the ball. When he got it he can make plays. He came in and hit a big three right away, made some big shots.
What I love about Lindsey is that he played a hell of a game for us tonight and he wants to play. That’s what you want. But as a coach you’ve got to make decisions that you hope are going to help and pay off. Chauncey made some plays. Lindsey put us in a position for us to make those plays.
Q. One of the things Paul said happened in the last game was that you guys pushed them around and they wanted to push back. Did you feel that intensity a little bit?
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: I think both teams played hard tonight and both teams were extremely physical. Like I said, I thought Perkins did an outstanding job taking up the gap and getting on the glass. But I don’t know if — I think we played the same way we played last game. I don’t think there was much difference.
Q. Could you talk a little bit more about Ray Allen and just concerns you guys have. He was looking like the Ray that we’ve seen for years tonight.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: He hit some big shots. He got things going early, got his confidence going. Maybe it was the new sleeve he put on, it might have helped him. He was wearing an elbow sleeve that evidently got something going. But he didn’t hesitate. I think the previous times we played he had a little bit more hesitation in shooting. He was not hesitating tonight and letting it go. I thought their bigs set some pretty good screens to get him open, and he got his confidence going.
As I said from the beginning, we’ve got to guard him. Even when he’s out on the floor, no matter how many shots he’s missed, you’ve still got to guard him against the next one because he’s too good a shooter.
Q. Just give us an update on what you know what Richard did to his hand.
COACH FLIP SAUNDERS: Rip strained a right elbow. It’s sore a little bit. We’re going to have to wait and see how it is tomorrow and how it is in 48 hours. He got a little bit of, I think, hyperextended in there on the rebound on that one defensive sequence that we had. He was great again tonight, especially in the last three quarters. Hopefully he’s going to be ready to go for us.

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