On playing like tonight when injured players return:
“I’m really proud of them for the way they fought. It wasn’t always smooth. There were still some mental breakdowns, especially on the defensive end, but overall the effort was there and Earl Clark was phenomenal. Hopefully we found something there. If we play with that effort and with that team sense of chemistry then we’re going to win a lot of games.”
On getting back in the fourth quarter:
“To be honest with you, we probably compromised the game by the second quarter where we took some gambles on defense where we were very inattentive on some of the back cuts and stuff that led us going down by three or four points at halftime to a nine point deficit. That’s where guys have to understand, it’s great to fight at the end but you’re fighting back from a deficit and everything has to go right. We cannot have mental lapses in the first, second and third quarters. That’s mostly mental lapses that we have to keep pointing out, talking to them individually and team-wise keep trying to get better at it.”
On defending the rim but sacrificing the three-point shot:
“They’re going to hit something, first of all, because they’re a very good basketball team. They’re coached well and they’re playing really well. Take some of them and that’s the price of the game. They’re moving the ball really well. Take the ones we just fell asleep on and now we would’ve won the game and you go, ‘oh what an effort’ and you don’t worry about that but if you fall asleep one time, it’s too many. When it’s four or five times, you almost have to play a perfect game offensively, you have to be lucky, or you’re fighting from behind. It just comes down to we cannot have those mental lapses during a game.”
On having hope from the team’s performance tonight:
“Like I said, I’m proud of their effort and I’m proud of them. They fought and they fought last night against Houston. You can see the team getting some traction but we’re a long way away from smiling and we don’t need to until we can start a little better.”
On tonight's game:
“We played hard, so I am proud of that fact, but they (Spurs) played just as hard."
On the play of Earl Clark:
"He was phenomenal tonight. He sits right next to me on plane rides so I talk to him and he always tells me that he is ready to play and he definitely was tonight. He played phenomenal against a heck of a team with some great forwards so I was very impressed."
On losing such a close game:
"We have lost five games in a row, it is pretty self explanatory. We played very hard and I think we figured a few things out. We still have to straighten some things out on the defensive end but I feel like we competed and that was very important."
On getting an opportunity to play and if he was surprised of how well he played:
“No, I know what I am capable of. I just wanted the opportunity and it is unfortunate that Pau (Gasol) and Dwight (Howard) had to get hurt but I just wanted to bring energy and my shots were falling tonight."
On why the game opened up for him tonight:
"Like I said, I just wanted to go out there and play hard. I listened to coach and went out there with a lot of energy and that is what I do for this team. I bring a lot of energy and try to rebound and made some shots tonight."
On if he can continue this role going forward:
"Yes, I think so. If I get the opportunity to play and get some minutes I do not see why not. Ever since I have been in the NBA I have been wanting consistent playing time so I am glad I played well tonight to maybe crack the rotation."
Can you talk about Kawhi’s defensive work on Kobe tonight?
“I thought Kawhi’s defense in general, mostly on Kobe, but he also guarded World Peace and some other guys too, I thought he was the highlight of our game tonight. I thought we were really raggedy on offense to the point where I didn’t know who was out on the court. I didn’t recognize that basketball team. Not sharing the ball the way we should. Taking bad shots, contested shots, no pace, was really tough to watch. But Kawhi Leonard was the star of the show as far as I’m concerned. He had a great night and is getting better and better defensively and starting to find his way offensively. I thought that was great.”
When asked how important the defensive stands were at the end of the fourth quarter…
“We made some good stops at the end. We need those to win the game. In basketball it can go both ways and luckily it went our way tonight.”
When asked about the three-pointer Manu hit towards the end of the game…
“It was a big shot. We executed well and Manu was wide open to hit the three.”
When asked how important was the defense of Kawhi Leonard on Kobe Bryant tonight…
“It was great. He (Kawhi Leonard) played great defense. You want to try to contain him, it’s not easy. Overall he did a great job.”
When asked about the game tonight…
“The disappointing thing was our offence. We really played poorly. Especially in the second half, everything was slow and we were not sharp or aggressive. They (Lakers) made us make too many mistakes. Offensively you know they can score with players like (Steve) Nash and Kobe (Bryant), they can make things happen.”
When asked what happened in the fourth when the Lakers came back into the game…
“We kind of stopped. We need rhythm this year. We are getting used to playing faster and we just didn’t do it. We were playing one-on-one instead of doing what we do best and that’s to penetrate and kick and passing the ball. This is the second time in a row that this has happened. Memphis is going to be a great test for us.”
When asked when you’re up 10 late and it goes to a five point lead is it hard to stay intense…
“The closer it gets the easier it is to focus and be ready. Of course you worry, because we were up by 16 and we just messed up the whole game. Like I said before, it was disappointing to see the team play like that, but at least we got the win.”