With his team now leading 3-2 in the series over San Antonio, New Orleans coach Byron Scott addressed an assortment of questions from reporters after practice Wednesday at the New Orleans Arena. Tyson Chandler (bruised foot) attended practice but stayed on the sideline in a sweatsuit, while David West (back) participated in minimal activity. However, both frontcourt starters are expected to be in the lineup for Game 6 on Thursday.
Highlights from Scott’s 10-minute discussion with the media:
Q: What was your assessment of the team’s defense against Tim Duncan in Game 5?
Scott: I thought we did a much better job of changing up our defense. At times Tyson played him one-on-one and challenged his shots. At times, we doubled him after the first dribble. We wanted to mix it up and not give him a steady diet of anything.
Tyson has been big in the games we’ve won (defending Duncan). You can’t really tell Tyson’s value by looking at the box score. He does a lot of the little things well. Last night Duncan was 2-for-11 in the first half, and a lot of that had to do with Tyson. You also have to give David West credit in the second half (for his defense on Duncan).
Q: Can you update everyone on how West and Chandler are feeling right now?
Scott: Both of them feel better today. They are getting more treatment today, then after shootaround they’ll get more treatment. I think they’ll both be ready to play Game 6. I don’t know if they’ll be at 100 percent, but they’ll both definitely be available. Right now, I think they’ll be fine. I think both of them understand the importance of this game, having the chance to close out the Spurs.
Q: Is Tyson’s injury just a bruised foot?
Scott: Yes. I talked to him earlier and he said he is fine. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
Q: What were those two players able to do in practice?
Scott: Tyson is not doing anything. David is just taking some shots and getting some free throws in. Tyson got in some free throws, but we had him sit down and relax.
Q: How much will the tapes of Game 3 and 4 in San Antonio help you prepare for Game 6?
Scott: Well, we’re going to take the tape and throw it away, and not look at it, because it wasn’t very good. I think we (realized) we can play a certain way, and it doesn’t have to change a whole heck of a lot just because we’re playing in San Antonio.
Q: Has it gotten frustrating for Peja Stojakovic, to not have been as productive over the past three games as he normally is?
Scott: Well, it’s always frustrating when you’ve got a (defender) hanging all over you, grabbing, holding and not allowing you to run or do what you’re capable of doing. But (Bruce) Bowen does that to most of the guys he guards. Peja’s been in this league a long time, and he understands that we’re up 3-2, and that’s the most important thing.
Q: You only made one substitution through a large chunk of the second half, to replace an injured Chandler. Why did you decide to make so few changes?
Scott: Because we were playing great at both ends of the floor. I think in the first half when I played our role players and bench guys, they were about 0-for-7 shooting. I felt more comfortable with the starters and how they were playing. I told them during the timeout (between the third and fourth quarters), “You’ll probably have to play all of these last 12 minutes.” They all understood that. They wanted to win and they wanted to stay out there.