With the Western Conference semifinals now deadlocked at two games apiece, New Orleans coach Byron Scott fielded questions from reporters after practice Monday at the New Orleans Arena. Highlights from Scott’s 10-minute discussion with the media:
Q: What was your assessment of Game 4?
Scott: That was the worst game we’ve played in the postseason so far. Hopefully that’s out of our system and we’ll be ready to play tomorrow. You chalk it up to it being a bad night, and hope that’s all it is.
Q: What’s the first thing you think when you see that Peja Stojakovic only had one three-point attempt and Tyson Chandler was 0-for-0 from the field?
Scott: That the Spurs are doing a good job. They’re sticking like glue onto Peja. Tyson getting into foul trouble didn’t help either. But to me the most disturbing part was that (the Spurs) outplayed us and played harder than us right from the first quarter. I showed the guys the tape this morning, and it seemed like (the Spurs) wanted it a whole lot more than we did. There is no substitute for effort. We’ve got to make sure tomorrow we bring the maximum effort that we can bring.
Q: Is there anything you can do tactically to get Peja more shots?
Scott: The ones he’s getting right now, all of them seem to be under duress. But at the beginning (of Game 4), he had three wide-open layups. He just missed them. David (West) missed some easy shots, so did Peja. But we have to understand that defense is what got us here. We can’t worry about the offense.
Q: Will taking your starters out at the beginning of the fourth quarter in Game 4 motivate them? Was that part of your reason for doing it?
Scott: I did it because we were getting our butts kicked. As simple as that. There was no need to leave them in; we were already getting the crap beat out of us. I don’t know what it’s going to do.
Q: The Spurs have seemed like a rejuvenated team since halftime of Game 3. What changed?
Scott: I don’t think anything changed. It’s just that they’re the champs. Everyone is getting it a little twisted, as far as understanding who they are. You don’t win four championships without having some pride and a lot of heart. Hearing that we were younger and more athletic, you don’t think that fueled them? It wasn’t going to be easy from the start, and now it’s going to be a great series.
Q: Do you have to guard against the thinking that now that you're back in New Orleans, everything will be OK, instead of trying fix the problems?
Scott: That was the message today, that homecourt doesn’t guarantee us anything. If we come out thinking that, we’re going to be in for a rude awakening. We have to come out here tomorrow like our backs are against the wall. We don’t want to go back to San Antonio down 3-2.