QUOTES FROM THE HALLWAY
5/17/12

Prior to Game 2 in San Antonio head coaches Vinny Del Negro and Gregg Popovich met with the media in the hallways of AT&T Center. Here is a sample of what they talked about. (Note: Questions were asked by various reporters and have been summarized to provide context.)

Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro:

Health of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, is that the whole issue?

"Well it's not the whole issue, but it's a big part of it. Chris is battling through and Blake's battling through and you know as well as anybody how important they are and they've got to play well. They've got to play at a high level for us and I feel like we'll play better tonight. But we've got to go out there and do it."

"At the end of the day things are going to be run through Chris and Blake a lot and we need them be aggressive and play well."

Is that still a mystery for you when they go out and play [if they'll play well]?

"A little bit, just because as the game goes on you can see Blake wearing down a little bit with his knee and at the beginning of games Chris is not as sure as he would like to be on how aggressive he can be so it gives him a little time to get into the game. They'll give me everything they have like they always do and we'll go from there."

Do the Clippers have the ability to adapt to different styles?

"I'm hoping we adapt a little better than we did the other night. We can play different styles but we also have to play our style."

"We have guard well. We have to rebound the ball better and get out in the open court and take advantage of our athleticism, but also not get into a track meet with them. Because they score the ball so well, we have to make them guard in the half court and control tempo that way, but also want to see our guys to be aggressive in the open court and attack the basket. I'd like to see us get to the free throw line a little bit more, which would help us control tempo, but in order for us to do that we have to be smart with the basketball."

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich

How do you play any better than you did in Game 1?

"We had 18 turnovers, which they got 24 points off of. They made a lot of threes and I thought for a while our transition [defense] wasn't that great. But that's what coaches do. We have the film, so you can see all kinds of mistakes that both teams make. And you go to work on the things that you think you didn't do that well. We can play better and they can play better and I'm sure that they will and we'll see if we do."

What has made Tim Duncan so productive at this late stage in his career?

"His competitiveness, his conditioning, you know, what he does with his body in the offseason and what he continues during the season and on top of that his competitiveness. He knows he only as X-number of years left and he wants to keep trying to play for a championship. It's as simple as that."

Are you still somewhat surprised by a player of Manu Ginobili's stature accepting his role as a sixth man?

"Obviously, I feel very fortunate that he allows us to do it and I feel very guilty for doing it because he does have the stature he has. It's almost embarrassing to go to him and say, ‘You're going to do this.' You want to say, ‘Please don't hit me or hate me forever for doing this because I know who you are. I really know what you can do. I know you've won championships all over the world in all sorts of ways, but I think we'll be better for this.'"

"Luckily, he's got the intelligence and the character to understand that it's true. And so I'm very fortunate." 

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