Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich
(Did they do anything different tonight defensively on Zach Randolph?)
(On the Manu effect and what it meant to have him back)
“Everyone knows what kind of competitor Manu is. Just to have him on the floor is a plus for the psyche of the whole team without a doubt and, on top of that, he played pretty well. He hasn’t really played in a while, so I was real impressed he was able to do what he did.”
(On the defense Antonio McDyess played on Zach Randolph)
“Well, Zach’s a great offensive player and Dice takes a lot of pride defensively. Dice did a good job; they just didn’t go down for Zach tonight like they did the first night and that happens. ”
(What is it about the league that makes 8 vs. 1 so much harder than it used to be?)
“It didn’t just happen. It’s been like that for awhile, so it’s really nothing new. It doesn’t matter who you get in the West as far as playoff position is concerned; it’s going to be a tough series for everybody and it’s been like that for awhile.”
(On George Hill’s play (free throws) and did he want the ball in his hands the last play)
“Well, I’d rather not even tell you that to be honest with you. You want the ball in your free throw shooters hands and he’s one of our good free throw shooters, along with along with Manu. Tony’s improved and Richard’s done a decent job. You’re going to give it to those guys as much as you can. Gary Neal is a good free throw shooter, so I don’t know what’s so amazing about that. Everybody would want to get the ball to somebody who you think might make a free throw and he’s the guy that caught it.”
(Did the pace and the tempo give them more confidence…they were able to get on the break and push the ball more)
“We didn’t play any differently tonight than we did the other night. It’s the same basic strategy and game plan as the first game. We didn’t try to push it more or less or anything different. I just think Manu on the floor gives us another weapon that makes it a little bit more difficult for the team to guard us. That’s pretty obvious. But we didn’t change anything.”
(Is this the kind of game he was expecting from Memphis in this series?)
“I think so. Memphis, as far as the country is concerned, a lot of people probably haven’t seen them play very much. The four games during the regular season were all relatively close except one time when they beat us to death; so we certainly respect them. Lionel (Hollins) has done a great job instilling a system, which now they understand and a big part of that is playing “D”, being physical and they are great at it. On top of it, they’re athletic; they’re strong; they’re big bodies and it’s tough for us to deal with that, so we’re doing the best we can in that regard. I was real happy with our effort. I thought last game in the first quarter we weren’t playing playoff basketball or playoff toughness, but tonight, I think for all four quarters, we played that way.”
(With Tim Duncan fouling out, was that an indication of increased aggressiveness on his part against Gasol)
“I thought Timmy was much more physical and did his work a lot earlier tonight and didn’t let Marc get to those spots so easily that he wanted to get to. That was a big change for us. Him scoring 24 points in the first game was not something that you usually expect from him. He does all kinds of things. He’s a great passer; he’s skilled; he plays good “D” and he’s a smart player, but you still wouldn’t expect 24 points from him. Timmy made a great effort tonight to make sure that didn’t happen.”
(On how he feels)
“Pretty good. The elbow didn’t bother me much. The brace bothered me more than anything. It’s kind of uncomfortable to have such a bulky thing [on my arm], and I’m not a player that likes playing with a lot of wristbands or pads and stuff like that. So it was a little uncomfortable, but I felt I did okay. I took some risks; I went for steals and rebounds. I didn’t play like I was worried of getting hit or anything happening. Overall I think I felt better than expected.”
(On the brace affecting his free throw shooting)
“Probably not all six [misses]. Of course it’s not the same as shooting without it, but in practice over the last two days I shot much better. My percentage is around 85% or something, and today I shot 50%. Something was happening, but the truth is that I shot much, much better in the last two or three days [at practice].”
(On the play in the first half when Tim pulled Manu up from the floor by the left arm and what Tim said)
“I don’t even remember. I think he tried to pick me up from the right hand and then we said ‘No, the other one.’ At that point I was still thinking about it. But then someone picked me up later with the right arm and I forgot about it. It wasn’t one of those games where you come back from an injury and you’re thinking about it all the time, but the moment that I had time to think about it was at the free throw line because I had time and I couldn’t get my rhythm. Overall, as I said before, it felt good. Uncomfortable, but good.”
(On the sense of urgency shown by the Spurs tonight)
“Well if you don’t show that then you really have problems. We played a pretty good game [in Game 1]. It’s not like we struggled or played awful. We just missed some shots and had a few turnovers, but we had a good game. We knew we had to bring it back today and give a better effort, especially defensively, and we did. Going back to Memphis down 2-0 was going to be really difficult to overcome. We brought some edge and played hard and got the win.”
(On being a little rusty on the shot having not played in a couple games)
“I felt a little rusty on the pick-and-rolls. I wasn’t very sharp on finding my teammates on the rolls or the shooters in the corners. I haven’t played in ten days. It’s not that much, but when you’re coming from 80 games playing every game, I was a little rusty. Hopefully by the next one I will feel more used to wearing the brace.”
(On Memphis being a better No. 8 seed than he has seen in the past)
“It’s hard to tell. I remember a couple seasons when we were #1 and we lost the first game of the playoffs. I remember for sure in 2003 against Phoenix I missed a couple shots down the stretch [and we lost]. I’m pretty sure it happened against Denver, too…that’s what you get in the West. Everybody is tough and plays hard and there are a lot of good teams.”
(On the increase in defensive intensity tonight)
“I think we were pretty aggressive and we played a good game [in Game 1]. They were just very good and hit some big shots. Mayo was 3-for-4 on threes and Shane had a huge one with a few seconds to go. The effort was all there and I think we executed the defense pretty well. Marc Gasol shot 9-for-10. They had a great game. I think today we brought a little extra something…a little hustle, we got more loose balls and we could run a little bit more out of that. Overall it was a better performance defensively.”
(On the effect of Manu Ginobili)
“I think it affected everybody. He’s our leading scorer, he’s our all-star. He’s a guy we depend on for energy, for big shots, defensive plays, which he made a ton of. Injuries are a part of the game. They’re playing without Rudy Gay, who’s a 20-point scorer. We missed Manu for a night, but at the end of the night you have to go out there and compete.”
(On his aggression tonight)
“You have to find the seams when possible and sometimes teams take away our three-point shot, sometimes they make us try and beat them from the outside and collapse on Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili). Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I just try and be aggressive.”
(On the physicality of the first two games)
“Well, that’s the playoffs. I think every game is going to get more and more physical, it’s going to keep getting chippy. Across the league, guys are going to start saying stuff. It’s a part of the playoffs. That’s when it gets fun. Whenever you see somebody in consecutive games, it really starts to get annoying looking at their face or hearing them. We have a ton of respect for them on that side. We know it’s a battle. They wanted to play us and we know why they wanted to play us. They matchup well and they have a lot of confidence against us because of the regular season. It’s one of those things where we know it’s going to be a battle throughout.”
(On the defense on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol)
“It’s a team effort and it starts with Tim (Duncan), Antonio (McDyess), DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner. All those guys are taking their turns getting beat up by those guys because those guys are physical, they’re strong, that’s the strength of their team. For us, it’s a matter of trying to help them out and trying to stop those guys from shooting. Even tonight, Sam Young shot the ball extremely well, he kept hitting shots. They shot 39 percent, but he shoots 50 percent from the field and even hits that three to give them a chance down the stretch where if we don’t hit those free throws, you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s what the playoffs are about, other people stepping up and giving you an opportunity to stay in the game.”
(On how big winning this game is)
“It’s huge because we know their fans are going to be ready, they’re going to be ready, they play better at home and they’re a quality team. Like I said before, this is going to be a long series.”
(On having Manu Ginobili back)
“It was big. Everybody was excited and happy to see him back on the court. He played great, made great plays, great steals. He just played great tonight, so it was great for our confidence and hopefully we can keep it going in Memphis.”
(On if Memphis is one of the better No. 8 seeds)
“Definitely, they are a very good team. They play very physical with a lot of intensity and they do a great job to control the tempo. They play very slow and call plays and they do a great job. They play inside, that’s what they’re good at with Zach (Randolph) and Marc (Gasol) and they did another great job tonight. It was tough.”
(On Antonio McDyess)
“He did a good job. Zach (Randolph) is tough down low and he’s got great moves and Antonio is doing the best he can. I thought tonight he did a good job.”
(On the physicality of the first two games)
“Like I said, Memphis, they love to play physical. They’re like the old Utah. They’re going to foul and grab and they’re great at it.”
(On containing Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol)
“Just a better job on them. We knew that we could do a better job on them. They killed us last game and that was a big part of their win, so we took it upon ourselves to go out there and battle a little tougher, make it harder and it helped.”
(On Antonio McDyess)
“Antonio did a great job. Obviously we were both disappointed in our efforts in the first game and the end result. I think we both took it upon ourselves to take that challenge personally. We did a much better job. We have to continue to do that because they’re going to continue to attack throughout this series and they’re going to continue need big numbers from those two guys. It’s going to be on our shoulders and we’re going to have to find a way to do what we did tonight.”
(On attacking Memphis early in the game)
“It was back and forth all game long. We thought we had a lead there, up eight or 10 and then they make seven or eight points in a row and get right back into it, so it’s going to be that way all series long. We know that, we understand that and we’re just going to continue to fight and try to get it done throughout a 48-minute stretch.”
(On Manu Ginobili’s energy)
“It was big for us. He made some big plays for us and those are the plays we’ve been missing. Just doing things like that loosens everybody up and it got everybody going.”
(On if Memphis is as good as any low-seeded team they’ve seen)
“Yeah in a long time. They’re tough, they play us tough, they’re well-coached and I think more than anything those guys have got a nose for the ball. Even when we do get stops, they find a way to get second and third chances on the board. They never quit and we understand that. We know that even more now. Luckily, we got this game tonight, we’re 1-1 right now and we’re going to go into their house and try to get one.”
Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins
(When asked about the defensive effort the Spurs put on Zach Randolph tonight)
"They (Spurs) were very physical and they attacked him every time he put the ball on the floor. He had opportunities but not enough to be effective. They did what they set out to do; they took the ball of his hands. Regardless of what they did on Zach (Randolph) I thought our team battled and fought through all of the physicality they brought to the game. The two things that they did were getting to the free-throw line and they made some three's tonight, which they didn't make the other night. As the game went on we made to many mistakes on offense. We took too many quick shots. We didn't have the patience that was necessary."
(When asked if he thought about fouling sooner, because the Spurs weren't making them)
"Not really, because the guys that we would of had to foul were the guys the Spurs wanted on the free-throw line. (Tony) Parker had the ball in his hands; (George) Hill had the ball in his hands. You can play that game if you want to and it's not like they have poor shooters. (Manu) Ginobili is not a poor free-throw shooter by any stretch. So you can't count on that. But we played defense and got the ball back. We did what we set out to do."
(When asked what was Manu Ginobili's effect on the game)
"He brought more energy, he's their Tony Allen. He's flying all over the court. He's blocking shots early on. He got a couple of steals. He flopped and got a couple of charges called. He brought a lot of energy to the game and that's what they needed. He kept giving them that little spark. He made a three; he drove and passed out for another three in crucial times."
(When asked about if inexperience played a roll in tonight's loss)
"It was just bad decisions. Everybody wants to bail the team out for inexperience; it's just bad decisions. We've played all year long, we've taken good shots and in certain games we've taken bad shot because we are not in character. We forget who we are sometimes."
(When asked you said before the game you prepared for Manu do you feel like you have to make any adjustments for Game 3)
"Manu is Manu. What do you want me to do son? We worked on the pick-and-roll; we weren't very good at it tonight. We've played Manu during the season where we've been good on the pick-and-roll. He's a tough player and a good player. I don't think you can go out there and trap the guy and play that way. You have to give the Spurs all of the credit tonight. They played with a renewed energy force, a purpose of how they wanted to play and a game plan of what they wanted to take away from us. They by in large did that in terms of taking Zach (Randolph)n Marc (Gasol) had about three or four lay-ups that rimmed out, that's all basketball. With all of the game panning that they did I still feel like we had a chance to win the game.
“In the 3rd quarter they made a run and we never recovered. We had some lackadaisical turnovers during that stretch and that helped them. We fought hard late, but never really recovered.
“Ginobili 13 free throws where key. That’s an all star for you, getting to the glass. Hill was big for them too. He really gave them a lift.”
“Yeah. It was physical playoff basketball. The refs let us play tonight. There was a lot of bumping and scratching for loose balls. In the end they beat us to the 50/50 balls tonight and that was key.”
“Manu is just great both on and off the ball. He’s just a real good play maker and we have to get better at trying to stop him.”
“We knew they were going to come out aggressive, down one game they had to. But we also understand that this is just one game. As bad as we were tonight, as much as we didn’t execute the way we wanted to, it was still close at the end. We just have to keep getting better as the series goes on.”
“Manu elevated their team and the crowd was much more electric. But Manu is Manu. He could be in a body cast and he’s still gonna make plays.”
“I’m not gonna lie, I was exhausted, I was pretty gassed. I didn’t have much in the tank and when the game started was running on pure adrenaline. But once the game starts you pick it up. It’s just that playoff atmosphere. You can’t help but pick it up.”
“You can what if every game and we know we didn’t play our best. But we had a shot late, on the road. In the playoffs, that’s what you want. That’s what you hope for.”
“Tonight the difference was the small plays that we didn’t make. Those plays add up. We made those plays in the first game. We have to cut out the silly mistakes.
Mike Conley Jr.
(On his experience in the playoffs)
"I've been happy with our effort, we've had to do a lot got get here and for us to be playing against the spurs a very good team to split one and one. And our first experience in the playoffs is very impressive and we just keep fighting and we had chance tonight to win again and it just shows how much character we have and how much will we have to win"
(On playoff inexperience)
"I think it could have /I think they did a good job of taking Zach away. You know that was our first option to get the ball down to our big fellow and they also did a good job of fronting Mark and double teaming and taking our first options away. I think we were just a little bit too impatient especially in that fourth quarter."
(On the series being 1-1 and now having home court)
"We did. We wanted to get at least one of these wins and we wanted to be able to come home with at least a win under our belt and come home in front of our home fans who are very excited and are going to help us hopefully get another win at home because we feel we play well at home and our fans are excited, we are excited to go back home. We have been over here for a week now you know it will be good to get back to Memphis and sleep in our own beds and get ready to prepare for them again.
(On the effect Manu had on the game today)
"Manu is a special player. He can pretty much do anything you want him to do on the court. He can guard, he makes play offensively he gets everybody involved, he can score when he needs to and you know he is a very tough guy to guard, a very tough guy to scheme for because he's so great at moving the ball, so great at passing and scoring, using his body well and its tough to stop him. He did a great job tonight."
(On becoming a playoff -contending team)
"It is a good sign. I think everybody in our group knew we didn't come here to just win a game, even though it was a big win for us. You know last win, we didn't come to just win a game and go home and get swept. We wanted to win a series. We want to move on to the second round. So even though we split 1-1, guys are really feeling in the locker room like we gave a lot of effort and we weren't smart down the stretch and that's a learning experience. Hopefully we learn from it and get back to work in the next coupled of days."
(On what the Spurs did to stop Zach Randolph and Mark Gasol)
"Anytime Z touched the ball they came with a double team. Made him give it up early. Made us have to shoot from the outside a lot whether it was a pick-and-roll .Whether it was a pick-and-roll or post up they made us shoot from the perimeter. Move the ball around to the arc and caught them off-balance."
(On this looking to be a rough series with a lot of fouls being called)
"We understand that we didn't play our best basketball, we still had a chance to win. It was just a couple little things that we got outhustled on. And having a better mental focus, look forward to the n