Monday, June 9, 2003
... the Nets talk about losing at home in Game 3, getting back on track and other hot topics in NBA Finals 2003.
Byron Scott |
Jason Collins |
Lucious Harris |
Richard Jefferson |
Jason Kidd |
Kerry Kittles |
Kenyon Martin |
Q: When the series started, did you have in your mind any idea that Tony Parker was going to be this effective scoring the ball?
Scott: No, not really. I think, especially the last game, the things that we talked about doing are a little bit reminiscent of Game 1. We talked about doing some things against Tim and didn't do it. We made the adjustments and started doing them in Game 2. We talked about Game 2, doing some things against Tony Parker and we didn't do them in Game 3. He's getting a lot of wide open shots because we are not giving Jason any help. We are leaving him out there on an island and that's what we did in the first game with Kenyon Martin on Tim Duncan. We know it's a situation that we can definitely rectify and we are going to have to do a better job of it.
Q: Given Jason's status as a defender, are you surprised at how Tony is getting into the middle of your defense?
Scott: Like I said, they run a lot of pick and rolls and any time you run as many pick and rolls as they are running, they might do one pick and roll and Jason is running and then they might do a re-pick. Your scheme is different as far as what we want to do. We have to do a better job, like I said, of just giving him much more help than we've been doing.
Q: Do you feel like there's anything that you can do to get Jason a few more minutes off during the game, and do you feel like his effectiveness maybe starts to diminish when he gets into the 45, 46, 47 minutes played kind of area?
Scott: I don't know. You know, I think playing Friday, flying four hours back Saturday, then having a game Sunday, I think everybody was a little tired. Not only us, I think San Antonio was a little tired. I don't think that was the most -- that wasn't one of the prettiest games I've ever seen. It was pretty ugly and that was on both teams' part because both teams were a little tired. It was something I talked to J-Kidd about and tried to address that with him because I know he probably needs a few more minutes of rest, but I just have to go with the feel of the game and how I feel and how he feels. If I think he's fine, just go with it and most of the time I ask him, he says he's fine. But I think if I can get him a couple more minutes at the end of third, early fourth, that probably would do him a lot of good.
Q: Now that you've had a night's sleep and you look back on last night's game, how would you describe how your team played?
Scott: I thought we played hard. I thought we competed, it was about as hard-fought battle as we played all season long. Obviously when you are in the Finals, you are going to play as hard as you can. But obviously, we had too many mistakes on both ends of the court, defensive mistakes that cost us but very uncharacteristic of us as far as 20 turnovers. We have always been a team that forces a lot of turnovers, never a team that has that many turnovers in a game of this magnitude. Again I think a little bit of that had to do with fatigue, both ends, but it's good now that we get a couple of days to regroup and get ready for Game 4.
Q: What was the major difference between Jason in Game 1 and Game 2, and how much is the pride factor going to be at work for the next game?
Scott: Well, you guys know how proud Jason is and how tough-minded he is when he doesn't feel he's played well. But again, the bottom line with us as far as our game plan and what we have to do, I think we've done a marvelous job defensively against a very, very tough team. But we have to do a better job. Like I said a minute ago, as far as with Tony Parker, you have to get this young kid some respect, he's playing extremely well and you have to give Jason help, just like we have to give Kenyon Martin help with Tim Duncan. We have to do a better job on our pick and roll defense.
Q: Is that why in Game 2 he exploded with 30 points, you were getting him more help?
Scott: We were getting him more help and getting more aggressive offensively. Last night you have to give Pop some credit, they did a good job as far as going to the zone and that really messed up our flow and we were on our heels. It seemed like when they were in the zone. We were not attacking like we had been doing earlier in the game. It's nothing that we haven't seen before. I think it just caught us by surprise a little bit.
Q: If you could, speak specifically to RJ's (Jefferson) game, how much is his lack of contribution hurting your team and have they figured out that one-hop step up to the basket and can you compensate for that lack of contribution?
Scott: We can compensate for it with other guys, but we also need RJ, we also need him to score, there's no doubt about that. We need him to play the way he's capable of playing. The last couple of games he has not been able to get into a flow on the offensive end and we just have to do a better job of trying to get him the ball early, trying to get him the ball as quick as possible, to the level he's accustomed to being in.
Q: It seems that they have figured him out --
Scott: I wouldn't say they have figured him out. He's rushing things a little bit. He's only in his second year so sometimes he gets a little impatient. I don't think they have figured him out. I just think he has to be a little more patient, but also be more aggressive also on the offensive end. But sometimes when you're young and aggressive, you make mistakes. Right now, I just want him to be patient and understand that we have three or four more games left and we've just got to make sure that we get him involved in the offense.
Q: In the past you've compared the first few years of a coach to the first few years of a player. You probably don't spend a lot of time looking back but where do you think your biggest developments have been since the Finals last year and since your first year as a coach?
Scott: As far as myself is concerned, my biggest development is that I have two forwards that have been playing extremely well and they have developed all season long and they have gotten better, which has made me better as a coach. It's no secret, great players in this league make great coaches. And I have two young forwards this year from the beginning of the season now, both of these guys have come a long way, and they are playing great. That's the reason that we are here.
I said this earlier, I've grown a lot as a coach over the past couple of season with these guys and I think that they have grown a lot as players. The development that we have here, if we can keep these guys together for a long time, we're going to be pretty good for a while.
Q: Personality-wise is there a specific thing that you point to?
Scott: Not really. I think I'm the same person I was when I first got here. I might be a little bit more lenient than I was when I first got here. When I first got here, I tried to do everything and pounded the tables and did all that stuff. This year, I've been a lot more mellow. Last year I was a lot more mellow but at times you still have to jump on guys' cases.
I think just the fact that they know who I am and they know what I'm all about, these guys know it's all about winning with me and that's the type of team that we have, that's the type of players that we have.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about, along those same lines, when you first became head coach and the perception of the Nets and the small attendance and the growth out of the Knicks' shadow and how far you've come and how it's been like for you and the team?
Scott: Well, it's been sort of like a coming out party. Obviously our first year was not very exciting. It was not very successful.
The next year, we made a bunch of changes, got a young man in here named Jason Kidd, made some trades, got Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins all of the sudden you get the potential of having a team and then all of a sudden the team becomes a contender and then champions. There's only one step left from a former coach that I used to play for, and that's to try to become a dynasty.
We've got a bunch of guys right here right now that feel pretty good about what they have accomplished but they are not very satisfied.
When we first took over coming here, you always feel as a coach, when you take over a job that you're going to turn it around. Luckily, I had Rod Thorn here and Rod was able to make some unbelievable trades to get us the type of players that we needed. The rest is history.
Q: Do you get a sense that you are coming out of that shadow of the Knicks and just the area is starting to embrace you?
Scott: Well, I think Jason made a point when he first got here that the Knicks were No. 1 and they wouldn't be for long. I think we've been able to turn that around very quickly.
But it still seems like a lot of people in Jersey have not caught on. We are still not getting the sell-out crowds like we should be getting because we do have a very exciting product that we are putting on the floor.
But, you know, people are coming around and it's just fun to be a part of it. Hopefully we can have this thing continue for a long period of time.
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Q: As the series goes on, do you find different tactics to deal with David Robinson and Tim Duncan?
Collins: Obviously on the offensive end to Tim Duncan, where he is on the court. David at this stage is more of an offensive rebounder and is really feeding off of Tim. Tim is their playmaker, just like Jason Kidd is our playmaker. The ball goes through each of their hands. There are different ways of guarding both of those guys.
Q: What are your responsibilities on defense, does it change?
Collins: It changes on who weíre guarding. When weíre guarding Tim, we know that weíre going to get help. Itís not on one person to stop him, itís on the entire team and our defensive scheme.
Q: Do you feel like thereís missed opportunities now that the series is 2-1?
Collins: We have to come out next game and just regroup, go out there and play aggressive. We had a good first quarter and third quarter last game. We just have to come out and play a solid 48-minute effort.
Q: Is it frustrating to not be able to put four quarters together when youíre at this level?
Collins: Yeah, itís a little frustrating, but at the same time we just have to stay with it. We know that weíre capable of beating this team, we showed that in Game 2. If we make our shots, keep playing solid defense and be around the basketball weíll at least get our chance at an opportunity to win the game.
Q: 48 minutes?
Collins: Yeah, 48 minutes. We just have to put it all together. We were able to do that in Game 2, now we just have to do it again next game.
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Q: Would you prefer to play tomorrow night instead of having the extra day off?
Harris: I wish we were going at it tomorrow, while everything is fresh in our mind. Time off seems to hurt this team. After the 10 days off we had the last time, we came out a little sluggish. I wish we could continue playing tomorrow night.
Q: Everyone seems to be slamming both teams for the offensive performance last night. But you can look at it the other way too: There was a lot of defense going on.
Harris: There was a lot of defense last night. Both teams were making each other shoot tough shots. You have to give credit to that. It wasnít a point of poor offense it was a point off both teams trying to play defense, stopping the other team resulting in low offense.
Q: Why do you think their zone has really been successful? What is it about that that has given you trouble?
Harris: We are not being aggressive enough in the zone they are playing against us. Our zone offensive we have to be aggressive. We are standing out there passing the ball around and the shot clock is working against us. I think we need to get in there, attack with penetration and make something happen. You have two big guys back there, and they are going to give up something. So just get the short jumper, attack the zone with penetration.
Q: Does their size make it tougher to penetrate? You canít go all the way to the hoop and kick it out or score. You have to be prepared to stop midrange.
Harris: Thatís what you are going to have to do. Itís so difficult to get to the basket when you have guys back there. You know they are back there somewhere in the back of your mind. Our goal is going to be attack the offense and get the short jumper. Hopefully, we will make it.
Q: Did it stun you guys that they played so much zone since they are such a good man-to-man defensive team?
Harris: No, a lot of teams this year has played zone against us and they have had success with it. Iím sure they did their scouting and seen sometimes we have difficulty with in the zone. It didnít amaze us at all.
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Q: Do you have any adjectives to describe the Nets in Game 3?
Jefferson: We played poorly, but as bad as we played last night, look at the final score. It was pretty much in our control. We really believe we donít have to play our best game to win; it will make it a lot easier. But we understand we can play a lot better than that.
Q: Was it embarrassing?
Jefferson: Itís not embarrassing, not embarrassing when youíre right there with a minute and a half to go. The score was pretty much right there. They might be as embarrassed as we were.
Q: Why are you struggling?
Jefferson: I think itís a combination of a lot of things. Again, Iím trying to get to the free throw line. Thatís really were my game gets started. I havenít gotten a call in the last two games, but I have to continue to play hard, knock down shots. Iím getting great looks, but my jumper hasnít been falling.
Q: Did you come into the series thinking you had to dominate your matchup?
Jefferson: Yeah. I would feel that we had an advantage there, but Steve (Jackson) is a great player. Heís put up big numbers and had great games for them. Do I feel I could be playing much better and be having a better series? Yes, but itís tough. When we are going to double as much as we are and be focused in on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, thatís going to open things for other people.
Q: Do you believe all playoff games are important? Or is Game 4 even more important?
Jefferson: Every one is equal in our eyes, unless you are facing elimination. This would have been no different if we had lost the first two in San Antonio and came and won the first one here. The way we are looking at it, is that we are down 2-1. If we would have been pissed off and acting like little girls after we lost Game 1, we wouldnít have won Game 2. We are not panicking here. We know we can win the game. We havenít had our best two games in our losses and we still had opportunities to win.
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Q: How do you get the fast break going again?
Kidd: Well, you've got to make a conscious effort to run. Looking at the tape, they have got four guys back, and so we have to push the ball and kind of explore in our secondary break, which we've had a lot of success with before this series.
So we have to get out and push the ball and be aggressive and get back to running the way that we have throughout these playoffs.
Even though they get four guys back there, still get out and run. I think when we see four guys back, we kind of think we should just set up instead of continuing to press the issue and try to make things happen.
Q: How much more difficult has it been to get Richard at the rim and you mentioned the mid-range game being very important last night, is it important for him to hit those mid-range shots, maybe accept them instead?
Kidd: We have to get RJ just to relax. I think he's pressing and maybe forcing things. Again, when you penetrate, you beat your guy, you've got to deal with a seven-footer at some point. I think I mentioned last night that at mid-range, you have to have an in-between game in this series if you're going to have any success. Unless you take it strong to the basket and draw a foul. For RJ, I think it's just a matter of just relaxing and going out there and playing the game, and not so much feeling like he has to carry the offensive load.
Q: You are consistently among the top defenders in this league, is there something about Tony Parker's offensive game that is surprising you or catching you off guard at this point, and are you surprised at his ability to score the ball in this series?
Kidd: Well, Tony is playing extremely well. I think he's running the high pick and roll, and also the side pick and roll extremely well. You know, it's just a matter of you're going to give up something. When you're trying to double-team Duncan and Tony is knocking down wide open shots, we have to make a better effort to make sure that he doesn't get clean looks.
Again, he's made some tough shots. When he goes, that team goes, and so I have to make a better effort at trying to slow him down a little bit or making it a little bit tougher in that sense. But he's made some tough shots, even though I was on him, or if I'm not on him he makes them. So we just have to pay a little bit closer eye to Tony.
Q: Can you talk about the defensive challenge that the Spurs have been giving you guys as compared to the defensive challenges, the tougher ones you've faced this season?
Kidd: I don't think you get too many second opportunities against San Antonio. They rebound the ball extremely well. So when you do get a good shot, you rely on trying to make that.
Unfortunately, we haven't shot the ball extremely well in this series, so really when you get a good look, you've got to be able to knock it down and have the confidence to knock it down. You've got two good defensive teams slugging it out, with the score being 33-30 at halftime, it's not going to be an offensive explosion. This isn't Dallas and Sacramento, so you've got two teams that take pride in their defense and you know, whoever gets hot last will probably win the game. We saw that yesterday.
Q: Can you compare it to Detroit?
Kidd: Coming off the Detroit series, San Antonio and Detroit are right up there as the best defensive teams in the league. We were prepared to slug it out with San Antonio if it was going to be a defensive battle, and that's kind of what we've made this series into.
Q: How much do you take it upon yourself now, not just shooting the ball but rebounding, playing defense and other factors like in the second half of Game 2 that will inspire your team?
Kidd: I think we're all sitting in the locker room knowing that if we would have made a couple shots here and there, the outcome would be different. But the big thing, even if you're not shooting the ball well, you can do other things, other aspects of the game, defense, helping your teammates get open, finding open guys.
That's been part of this team's makeup, that we've never shot the ball extremely well but we've found a way to get the ball in the basket and win ballgames. So that's what we have to do during this series.
Q: How much of last night was fatigue and how much was great defense? And are you surprised at this point in the Finals that the games could be so subtle?
Kidd: You have two teams that again, defensively will always be there. We are not going to give up anything easy and they are not going to give up anything easy.
I don't know so much about fatigue. At this point of the year, you've got to leave it all out on the court. So if you're tired, you'll have vacation soon enough, so fatigue can't be a factor right now.
Q: Not fatigue, but do you feel like your effectiveness starts to diminish when you are called on to play 45, 46 minutes, something like that?
Kidd: I can play 48. I didn't lead the league in scoring, so I don't always have to be the scoring leader. My game is whenever I'm out on the court, I'm going to give it 110 percent.
Fatigue was not a factor yesterday. It was just a matter of being confident and feeling that the ball was going to go in instead of trying to guide the ball. You know, just play. The game of basketball is funny. Some days they go in and some days they don't. You just have to -- fatigue, for me was not a factor yesterday. It was just a matter of being confident.
Q: Do you feel like you're being called on to do too much defensively right now?
Kidd: No. I mean, that's just part of the game. You've got to go out with a game plan and try to make it as tough as possible on Duncan, and that relies on double teams. Whenever you're going to double team somebody, you're going to give something up. San Antonio has knocked down shots from the outside and that's what we're giving up right now.
Q: A game like last night and also Game 1, what are the emotions that go on maybe an hour or two after a game, how do they differ from this morning when you wake up?
Kidd: Well, after the game, you don't see things as clearly as you would when you wake up, because you tend to look at some things that have gone wrong for us. And so now when you can see it this morning -- we have to be aggressive. Yesterday, again, when they made that run, we kind of got passive and then we found ourselves against the wall and we responded. So instead of waiting, we have to be aggressive for 48 minutes. I thought once we got down 11, we started to play. So we can't get in that situation if we're going to have any success.
Q: Is it a pretty low feeling after a game like that?
Kidd: Losing is never fun. I mean, losing never feels good. You know, to lose yesterday's game, it didn't feel good, but at the same time you can learn from your mistakes and hopefully we can go out there and not make the same mistakes in Game 4.
Q: Is it Parker's quickness that's the biggest problem to deal with? Some coaches say he also disguises things well, especially with the pick and roll, what's the biggest problem?
Kidd: You have to be aggressive with Tony. You can't be passive. You can't let him dictate what he wants to do. Yesterday he pretty much did that with us in the pick and roll. He dictated what he wanted to do and he got into the lane and created havoc and making shots and finding open guys. So we have to be a little bit more aggressive with him in the pick and roll.
Q: Is it physical?
Kidd: Not so much physical. In football, you know, a running back, you want him -- as a linebacker, you want him to go east/west, not north/south. He was going a lot of north/south instead of going east/west. We have to get him going sideline to sideline and not baseline to baseline.
Q: The game that you guys won, you scored 30 points. You said you are not known as a prolific scorer but do you feel pressure to score 30 points to win a game? Are you getting enough help?
Kidd: Again, I'm not the one who is going to always score 30 points and I don't feel the pressure that I have to go out there and have a big offensive night.
I think Kerry had a great game last night. Kenyon had a great game. So it doesn't always ride on my shoulders to go out there and put up a big number. I think I would like to make a couple more shots, but unfortunately that didn't happen last night. I don't feel the pressure.
The challenge is there, to go out there and be aggressive offensively, but the pressure to put up a big number, no, I don't.
Q: Kenyon said that you guys needed to treat Game 4 like a Game 7. Do you feel that way?
Kidd: Yeah, if we can get this series tied at 2-2, put ourselves right back in this position as yesterday, to take control of this series. We would like to again, we have Game 5 at home, and so if we can win 4 before we start thinking about game 5, we've got to come out and win Game 4 no matter what if we want to have a chance to win this series. San Antonio is a great road team, they go into Dallas and win all three. So we are going to have our hands full.
But the big thing is for us to come out in this do-or-die situation if we want to try to win this series.
Q: Defending the pick and roll of Parker and Duncan, you said you want him to move east/west. Are you going to switch? Are you going to send the big guy on him on the pick and roll? How are you going to do it?
Kidd: We've just got to be aggressive. In that sense we are not going to switch anything. We are just going to try to be more aggressive and not let him dictate to us what he wants to do. Any good point guard in this league, if he feels that you are going to let him do what he wants, then you're going to be sitting behind the 8 ball.
We have to be a little bit more aggressive with Tony.
Q: Can you talk about when you were 20, 21 years old what you thought about yourself as a point guard and how that compares to Parker at 21?
Kidd: Well, just coming into the league, I thought I would be able to win championships, but unfortunately in Dallas, we just didn't have the talent that San Antonio has.
I probably wasn't as good as Tony, because my game was passing and getting the ball to Jimmy and Jamal, I didn't have to score. Tony can do scoring and find the open guy, and he runs the team. They would not have won 60-something games if he wasn't talented as he is.
Q: What does that say about his future?
Kidd: Oh, the sky is the limit. Especially in the Western Conference, because every night you have somebody coming at you. So for him to be able to be up for that challenge, the sky is the limit. He has the potential to be a great point guard in this league.
Q: I know you already spoke about RJ and his game, but on the flip side, the Spurs, it seems like they know where he's going before he knows where he's going; they are always there to meet him. Do you think they have his game figured out?
Kidd: Well, he'd better come up with something new if they know where he's going.
I think he has to just relax and not force things and think that he has to carry the offensive load. He has not had a good game yet so we just need him to relax and go out there and be RJ and let the game come to him.
Q: On that high pick and roll, is your big man supposed to be showing more or are you supposed to be going under or over or what?
Kidd: Well, we play it a lot of different ways. We go under sometimes, we go over. We're aggressive. So until we can find what's going to work, we are going to keep trying everything out.
Q: What's the basic approach? What's the No. 1 thing?
Kidd: Well, again, to keep Tony from going north and south, I think we have to be a little bit -- the big man has to be a little bit more aggressive in making Tony go a different route, instead of going straight for the basket.
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Q: Is it a little more disappointing knowing you put forth such a great effort personally in last nightís game?
Kittles: A loss at this time of the season is always tough to swallow. Personally, whenever you have a good game, you hope that youíve contributed enough to help the team win. Itís definitely disappointing.
Q: Seemed like you had an extra spring in your step last night. To what would you attribute that to?
Kittles: Yeah, I had a little extra burst I guess. You feed off the crowd a little bit. I had a pretty good rhythm throughout the game when I was out there. I felt comfortable and was able to do some things.
Q: Do you feel like you guys have missed some big opportunities?
Kittles: You donít give any games away at this time of the season. Itís whoever can gut it out at the end is going to win. In the two games they won, we thought we had a good chance of winning -- just like they probably thought they had a decent chance of winning Game 2. Thatís how itís going to be played throughout.
Q: What adjustments do you guys have make?
Kittles: Obviously, we have to figure out better ways of scoring against their zone. They did a good job with it in Game 2 and again last night. We didnít find many good opportunities and ways to score. We have to a better job of controlling Tony Parker. Heís real explosive with the ball. He had the hot hand last night late in the game. We need to do a better job of buckling down in the fourth quarter and taking over.
Q: Can you talk about their defense in general?
Kittles: Theyíre doing what they normally do. They really rely on Tim Duncan and David Robinson to make plays in the paint defensively, whether itís changing shots, blocking shots and eliminating second shot opportunities. They did a good job with that. Thatís what theyíre known for. Their perimeter guys try to pressure, so you wonít take the jumpshot then have to drive into those big guys. Thatís their strategy.
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Q: Malik Rose has hurt you in spurts and in spots, what's happening out there when he's being effective?
Martin: Just bringing a little more energy. When they are down at times, he's bringing a little more energy when they are done. He's bringing energy in the game.
Losing track of him a couple of times under the basket and things like that. He works hard. You know, hard work pays off. When he comes in the game, he's bringing the edge that he gave them all season. We just need to do a better job of keeping a body on him and finding him in certain areas.
Q: Yesterday in the third quarter you guys got the break going a little bit and then stopped again, what's going on with that?
Martin: I don't know, man. You know, we take care of the ball, we are able to run and when you're turning the ball over, it just seems like the game slows down a lot. We were able to run in the first and the third and we had the lead. The second in the fourth, we lost the lead. I think those are the keys. They did an excellent job of getting back, though, late in the game. We turned the ball over, we didn't get the quality shots we needed, different things like that. But you have to give credit, they have been doing an excellent job of getting back on D.
Q: You guys were so successful with the fast break in the last series, how do you get it working again now?
Martin: I don't know. Just try to get our hands on more loose balls, just get stops. You're taking the ball out of the net, you can't run a lot. If we get stops, being, get our hands on deflections and things like that, we can run. They have been doing an excellent job of getting back on defense so you have to give credit where credit is due.
Q: With Richard, do you think he's feeling any weight in this series, he has not had his best series, do you take him aside and tell him, hey, relax?
Martin: I told him that in Game 2 down the there. I told him, just relax, man, just slow down and let the game come to you.
I think he's pressing a little bit. He wants to play well so bad. He's a competitor. We need him to play well and he realizes that. He's maybe putting a little bit too much pressure on himself, but that's good. It can be good pressure but I think he just needs to slow down and just relax a little bit. I think if he does that, then he will be all right.
Q: Can you just talk about when you guard Duncan, does that take a big toll out of you once you get back to the offensive end?
Martin: No, I've been playing well on both ends. Game 2, I missed some shots that I normally make but no, I've been doing this since I've been in the league. But it's not a factor.
Q: Including the foul situation, too.
Martin: I'm just trying to play him as tough as possible. I got a couple bad breaks but you still have to be aggressive. That's the only way I know how to play. I'm not the one who is going to give up the easy basket. But I need to learn to do that sometimes so I can stay on the court.
We played them as tough as possible. Like I said before the series, I'm going to make him work on the defensive end and I'm going to make him work on the offensive end for everything he gets. I'm going it attack him when he's got the ball every chance I got and make him feel the same thing I'm feeling.
Q: Jason Kidd's energy's obviously drives your team and has not been seemingly as effective energy-wise in rebounding and on defense. Can you assess Jason's play in those areas?
Martin: He had one bad game. He's been there for us. He's played well for us all season so I'm not concerned about that.
I don't know what to say, man. We need him to play well and he realizes that. He gives it to us every night, so I'm not worried about his play. I know he's going to be there for us when we need him.
Q: Is there something different about Jason after a bad game? Can you think about his mentality, how that changes?
Martin: I don't really talk to him after a bad game. Just let him have his time. I could be the same way when I have a bad game. People realize that. We're professionals. You have a bad shooting game or whatever, you bounce back for the next one. You don't have to say anything. You realize it.
Q: Just seeing his mentality in that next game, you can tell --
Martin: He's a professional, especially one that's competitive as he is. You have a bad one, you want to bounce back the next game. I'm pretty sure he will.
Q: Have those two seven-footers back there taken away Jefferson's ability to get to the basket, and he's got to hit more mid-range jumpshots to be effective?
Martin: A little bit but he has that mid-range game where he can score still. I think he's had a tough stretch. He's used the ball well from the perimeter. He's worked on his shot, on his game where he can get those shots if he needs to. I think he's trying too hard to get to the basket and get fouled in certain situations. In other games I think he would pull up. Maybe they play a factor, maybe they don't. He can get some shots and I have every confidence that he can do that.
Q: How would you assess the way you played in last night's game?
Martin: In spurts. We played well at times, first quarter, a little bit in the second. We only scored nine points in the second so we didn't play particularly well. We played well in spurts. We have not played on a consistent basis yet. We have not played a great game. We had every chance to win last night so we've just got to look at that and assess that. There's no moral victories in this league, we realize so we still have to come out and play. We have to treat Game 4 like it's Game 7, because we know the odds on 3-1 ain't that great; 2-1 is a lot better. We have to come out and play in the next game like it's Game 7 like there's no tomorrow and that's how we'll play.
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Q: How do you assess the Tony Parker-Jason Kidd matchup? Do you think Jason will come out strong on Game 4?
Mutombo: These championships are not (about) two guys going against each other. Itís about two teams going against each other. I think the thing between Jason Kidd and Tony Parker is added because of the free agency situation thatís going on. But I donít think thatís something thatís in Jason Kiddís mind right now. He wants to help his team win a championship, and thatís what remains our goal. Heís playing his best. Yesterday, Tony was playing his best and Jason didnít get his shots going. Weíll see if things turn around in Game 4. I believe Jasonís going to come out and shoot the ball much better than he did in Game 3.
Q: Did you miss an assignment when Malik Rose dunked on you?
Mutombo: No. A dunk is a dunk. I just didnít see him. My main focus was to take Tim away from the basket, which I did. Tim was going up at the top of the key and the next thing I knew Malik was close to the basket. My job is to cover the rim. I came in. If I didnít come in, people would say that Iím not moving. I had to move. I just got him late.
Q: Why didnít you have as good a game as you did in Game 2?
Mutombo: I think I played my best defensively. Thatís what I do best out there. One thing I found out was that San Antonio really didnít attack us to the rims yesterday. We just spent time looking at that on the film. Every time I was on the floor they tried to take us outside with the pick-and-roll and find a way where Tim Duncan can shoot the 16-and-18-foot jumpers. They didnít really take us one-on-one. Which is great for us, I think that works in our favor. Our offensive just didnít work for us, and I think thatís the reason we lost the game. We took a pause offensively, to run our things properly, the way the coaches want us to do. We looked at the film and we just didnít get nothing done. And I think today we were able to work on the mistakes that we made with our offense and their defense. I feel weíre going to come out and give them a greater punch tomorrow, because tomorrow is a must-win.
Q: What happened in the second quarter, where you only scored nine points?
Mutombo: I think we just lost our momentum, we took a pause in our offensive game. We didnít do things properly the way weíre supposed to, the way the coaches have asked us. We didnít execute properly and we didnít circulate the ball the way weíre supposed to, and we didnít finish at the end. We shot the ball bad and our turnovers and shooting percentages were no good for us. When you turn the ball over as much as we did and shoot close to 37 percent, youíre not gonna get a win.
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