What the Pelicans had to say about 116-94 loss to the Thunder (4/11/14)

Pelicans Coach Monty Williams
On the Pelicans’ effort
“I thought they were absolutely phenomenal with their competitive nature with dealing with a lot of stuff all year long. Our guys are used to these situations. I think a lot of young teams for sure would fold and look for excuses, but our guys did not. We got some good games from a few guys, but we just gave up two 30 point quarters to start the game then had a 15 point offensive quarter in the third against a really good team. I think we had nine turnovers in the first half for thirteen points, and that didn’t help us. Our guys, they just scrapped and clawed and tried to do what they can to help their teammates. It’s a tough situation playing against a really good team. You’re kind of behind to start the game but we’re not giving in and we’re not looking for excuses. We have to go out and compete every time we step out on the floor.”

On the Pelicans’ injury situations
“It’s a weird situation. I’ve never been a part of anything like this in my career and yet great opportunity for other guys. Austin [Rivers] got to play 40 minutes tonight. That might be a career high for him. He was really good in the pick and roll and he competed all night. With Brian [Roberts] and Tyreke [Evans] going down really hurt us. They’re two guys that we relied upon for a long time.”

On Serge Ibaka’s performance
“He’s a big factor. Blocking shots and scoring the ball, he’s pretty big."

Pelicans guard Austin Rivers
On the Thunder’s offense
“They had some good looks. They were able to get out in transition. They got to the foul line a lot. They’re a good team. They were able to steal a lot of buckets in transition. I felt like every time we made one mistake I felt like they capitalized on it, where when we got one we weren’t able to. Like I said, I think that was a key thing for them - that they were able to capitalize on things and we weren’t.”

On Serge Ibaka’s performance
“He’s got great timing. He can just run the floor so well. Like I said, off turnovers we didn’t capitalize, and a big part of that is because most bigs can’t sprint back. Most bigs, when a turnover happens they just hang back, or they’ll sprint and not get there. He’s fast enough to keep up with guards. When you have a 7-foot guy who can jump, running on a fast break on defense, it’s hard to get to the basket. Their defense is all on him. Without Ibaka, this is a whole different team.”

Pelicans center Jeff Withey
On Thunder’s offense
“They’re pretty physical. They got us down kinda early, and we couldn’t bounce back afterward. After we lost Tyreke [Evans], it was just hard to bounce back after that.”

On defending Serge Ibaka
“He’s a good player. I feel like I came out too lazy. I need to come out and bring more energy to the game, like I have in the past. I have to just learn from it. It’s kind of like being thrown in the fire. I just learn from it and try to get better from it, and try to improve.”