Postgame Quotes: Suns at Trail Blazers - Feb. 19, 2013

Lindsey Hunter

Suns Forward Goran Dragic

Suns Forward Luis Scola

Terry Stotts

JJ Hickson

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Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter

(On the game’s outcome)
“It was a great team effort tonight. Defensively we were a lot sharper than we’ve been in the past, and the majority of the game I think we really executed defensively. I think that’s the reason why we were able to get the win. Guys played the right way and shared the ball, and that’s the side effects we want to have from all the work we’ve put in.”

(On the team)
“You try to find your identity and you try to find some common points about our team, and we’re still finding that out. I tell the guys all
the time, we may come in and have a great approach and have great focus and still lose, but at least you give yourself a better chance by approaching everything we do that way. If you’re going to hold yourself to a higher standard, then that’s the approach that we have to have. I think we’re slowly but surely getting there, and we’ll keep working until we do.”

(On Goran Dragic)
“I think he was aggressive as he always is, and he made plays. It was amazing but it was fun to watch because everybody was getting involved. I always tell him you have the ball 99.9% of the time—you can get a shot anytime you want to. I think it’s a process for him to still continue to learn and get his guys going and mix his game in also. It’s a work in progress, but I’m really proud and pleased how he’s coming along.”

(On Wesley Johnson)
“I think he did an outstanding job, considering all the time he hadn’t played. To come in and play almost thirty minutes tonight… I think
he had eight rebounds and defended really well. I was really proud of how he performed. Hopefully he can keep it going and build on


Suns Forward Goran Dragic

(On how much fun he had in the first quarter)
“It was really fun. I would like to thank all of my teammates—they were hitting shots. We played well, especially the first two quarters, and then they played better defense. We were struggling a little bit, especially in the fourth quarter. In the last three or four minutes we couldn’t get a clean shot. We fought until the end. Everybody was engaged and everybody shared the ball. It was a great win for us.”

(On his aggressiveness)
“Sometimes they went under, sometimes they went over. I just tried to explore all the options and Marcin Gortat was great tonight. I found him on three or four passes—he was wide open. I just tried to build team chemistry.”

(On the team running the pick and roll)
“The past years the Phoenix Suns were recognized for playing a lot of pick-and-rolls. Now with Lindsey it is a little bit different situation. He put a little more focus on defense. Tonight we did it and got some good results.”


Suns Forward Luis Scola

(On the game’s outcome)
“We played really well, especially in the first quarter. We made shots and unselfish plays, and some good stops, too. That gave us a good margin to hold the run and close the game.

(On holding onto the lead)
“We still made a few mistakes. We should close this game 10 or 12 points. In the NBA, when you’re playing on the road, you’re just not going to blow teams out. Most of the time there’s going to be a run. They’re going to try to come back. They’re going to fight, and they did. But I believe we did well holding their runs. We should have just closed a little bit better and this game would have been over.”

(On Goran Dragic)
“Goran played well. Most of them were in the first quarter when we were playing really well, and that helps everybody. We were moving the ball, we were being active, and he found people and we hit shots. From that point on we were just cruising. I think the team effort in the first half was great, and in this case allowed Goran to have a great assist night.”


Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts

(On team's defense)
“It’s very disappointing with the defense in the first half. Obviously the slow start, getting down 12-0, had a lot to do with the first half. We gave up 63 points in the first half and 60 percent shooting. We can’t afford to do that. The second half, they scored 39 and we did what we have to do, but we can’t afford to come out and let teams execute and do what they want to do.”

(On whether the loss illustrates the value of Wesley Matthews)
“Obviously, Wes is really important to our team defensively and offensively. He competes. Maybe it does. I don’t want to use that as an excuse. Obviously, Wes is a very important part of the team, but I think we showed that we can still compete without him. If he’s not in there, everybody has to step up a little bit.”

(On whether there is a feeling that the season is slipping away)“No. We have 28 games to go. Nothing is slipping away. We’ve got the Lakers on Friday and we’ve got to go play.”

(On play of Gortat and O’Neal)
“They’re both very effective. Their rebounding was good. They had a balanced attack. Dragic had a very effective game, particularly in the first quarter. He played well. In general, I thought across the board they played well. Scola did his thing and Gortat and O’Neal did their thing. They had a complete team effort offensively.”

(On whether the team have the ‘edge')
“I thought we came out with good energy. We had 2 or 3 layups that didn’t go in and they made their jump shots, and it kind of deflated us a little bit. The second half, we did. Because of the slow start, we got on our heels and didn’t quite have it for a spell there because of the circumstances of the game at that point.”


Trail Blazers Center JJ Hickson

(On losing after bad start)
“With the team that we have and the position we’re in, we can’t afford to come out to a 12-0 run like that. It kind of got us on our heels in the first half. In the second half, we played way better, but the first half definitely cost us this game.”

(On if the team need to be down to fight back)
“I don’t know what it is. That’s been the story all year. That’s a question that we’ve yet to answer. We definitely had a chance to win it at the end but we came up short. Like I said, the first half definitely cost us.”

(On frustration level- losing streak or losing tonight)
“It’s tough losing any game. Whether you’ve lost six in a row or you lose one or lose five or lose eleven. It’s tough losing, especially at home. We know this home crowd is definitely our sixth man. It’s tough to come out here and disappoint.”

“We came out flat. We weren’t really assertive on defense. On the other hand, on the offensive end on our side, we had good looks, we just couldn’t knock down shots. It was a rough start for us.”

(On having two starters playing during the All-Star Weekend)
“I wouldn’t say that. It’s a part of the game. Guys have to rest. Even guys that played in the All Star game, they definitely got rest. I wouldn’t use the All Star game as a crutch right now, we just played bad basketball as a team in the first half. The first half, the first quarter definitely cost us the game.”

(On feeling that the season is getting away)
“We’re well aware it can get out of hand. We know that every game is important from here on out. We’re trying to make this push to make the playoffs.”

(On if coach stress defense at halftime)
“Definitely. He definitely stressed defense. We came out in the third quarter more assertive, were playing on our toes and were definitely aggressive coming out in the third.”