Postgame Quotes - February 26, 2014

Pistons vs. Spurs

Detroit: John Loyer | Kyle Singler | Josh Smith
San Antonio: Gregg Popovich | Manu Ginobili | Kawhi Leonard

Pistons Head Coach John Loyer

(On their defense…) “There were spots pretty much the whole game where they got behind us. I thought when we got our defense set, we were pretty solid. We just gave them way too many layups. A little bit could have been fatigue but you can’t let guys get behind you.”

(On the Spurs…) “They are one of the best executing teams in the league. They have good pick and roll players, they are number one in the league in three point shooting, they are one of the top cutting teams in the league and they have go-to guys. They are a good team and coached by a great coach. There comes a point in the game where you tell yourself you are in the game, down three or four, and then it turns into an 11-point game before you know it. That is the market of the Spurs.”

(On the play of Ginobili and the Spurs offense…) “They run great after timeout plays. Ginobili always makes great curls off screens and he is just a terrific player and has been his whole career. They have the ability to spread the floor with multiple shooters, which tends to pull your defense out instead of packing the paint. When you play the leading three-point team, you tend to sneak out and they have guys who are good cutters from each side.”

(On the system of the Spurs…) “They (Spurs) have really good early offense. The ball changes sides of the floor. They are very good screeners. Against the Spurs, you do not guard against two or three players, you guard a system of players. When you have that type of continuity with returning players and being without a great point guard in Tony Parker, they just plug guys in and find a way. Their ability to shoot the basketball separates them from being a very good team to close to a great team.”

Pistons Guard Kyle Singler

(On if fatigue was a factor…) “I don’t think so, just because they’re a solid team with championship-level players. We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in here and we needed to play well.”

(On playing from behind…) “You find yourself behind throughout the whole game, it’s tough because you know that they’re going to play consistently well throughout the whole game. I mean, they turned the ball over and they had their moments, but they never faulted as a team, they still played well and knocked down big shots, so they’re always going to be in it at the end of the game regardless.”

(On if Spurs consistency is frustrating…) “Sure, especially if you’re on the road too, it hurts a lot, but that’s with any team in the NBA. There’s a lot of teams that can go on quick runs, so you need to respond and answer with whatever you have. I thought we played hard tonight, we just weren’t able to put together a run ourselves where we could take the lead and sustain it.”

Pistons Forward Josh Smith

(On the Spurs transition offense…) “Their bigs do a good job at rim-running and I think we took a couple of stabs in the backcourt that kind of hurt us, and then we had a couple turnovers that they converted into points. That team is a great team, they know how to capitalize on other teams’ mistakes and we turned the ball over just a little too much in the second half.”

(On personal start…) “Just trying to be aggressive as much as possible, not think and just go out there and play. It worked early on for me and as the game progressed my teammates came along. We put up a good fight, but in order to beat an elite team like San Antonio, especially on the road, you have to be able to kind of play perfect basketball.”

(On the game…) “Just trying to start off aggressive and understand that this is their first game back from the rodeo trip. We knew that the crowd was going to be into it a lot and we just wanted to try and control the momentum of the game. We did that for pretty much the first half and in the second half we kind of let the crowd get into it a little bit.”

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich

(On the Spurs having 34 assists on 44 field goals and the ball movement they showed tonight…) “Yeah, that was impressive. We turned it over too much in the first half and it kept them (Detroit Pistons) in the ball game, but we didn’t turn it over like that in the second half. You get 34 assists, that’s really incredible actually. The ball movement was fantastic. The pace, rebounded a little bit better, it was a good win for them after being on the road so long. Coming home, they were a little anxious, playing a little fast in the first half. They calmed down and started playing solid basketball, so it’s a good win for them.”

(On Kawhi Leonard’s play in his first game in a month…) “I thought he was great. It’s a long time to not be on a court. His rhythm was pretty good, he played decent defense, took a few shots and made a couple. He did well. I thought he did better than I would have thought really after all that time.”

(On putting Kawhi Leonard on Will Bynum and having the luxury to put him on a guy that is hot…) “We also put Danny (Green) on him for a while. We had Danny playing the point defensively and Kawhi, just to get a little bit bigger, because Bynum was getting to the bucket a little too easily and getting those shots off. They did a good job on him and that helped us defensively.”

(On whether or not coach Popovich has ever seen a shoe come apart the way Manu Ginobili’s did during the game…) “No, neither have the players. They’re all talking about shoes coming off and that sort of thing, but to get it blown out like that, they had never seen it.”

(On how they changed Manu Ginobili’s shoe so quickly…) “Will Sevening, he’s the best. He’s always prepared no matter what’s going on.”

Spurs Guard Manu Ginobili

(On how the replacement shoe might have improved his third quarter play…) “Maybe that’s what kept me slow in the first half. I needed to play better. I knew I struggled in the first half. I was slow. I had turnovers. I had an early entrance in the third quarter. After two or three minutes, everything started to go my way. My game changed. So I really needed it.”

(On getting back into rhythm after the long break since the last game…) “We started very slow. I think it was a combination of things. We’re starting to get everyone back. We’re coming from a month on the road and we wanted to do too many things too quickly. Once we calmed down and we started to go to our basics, things started to go our way. They started missing shots, too. They shot really well in the first half, and they’re not a three-point shooting team. In the second half, we did what we were supposed to do.”

(On how the Spurs have missed Kawhi Leonard’s wild playmaking…) “He has such long arms, so he can get balls that usually go to the other team. That’s usually huge. We needed him back. He also gives us confidence knowing that we have another big body to guard big threes and make some big shots. So we’re very glad to see him back.”

Spurs Forward Kawhi Leonard

(On how things came together for Leonard on his first night back…) “Our team got the win tonight, and I got to play. I just tried to enjoy it because sitting on the bench isn’t fun.”

(On the alley-oop early in the game…) “Cory (Joseph) threw the pass and I always get on the guys about throwing me lobs. That’s my first lob of the year. I have to go up and catch those things.”

(On getting back in rhythm…) “It took me a while, to not think about my hand and just go out there and play.”

(On Leonard’s ability to defend almost anyone…) “It’s just a mindset. The guys did a great job in practice getting me prepared and getting my competitive nature back. It just carried over in today’s game.”