Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson
PHIL JACKSON: Before you start asking questions, I just want to say they really stepped on it in the fourth quarter. We seemed to not be able to stop the momentum of their game. Their bench outplayed us in that sequence, and even with all that, you know, at the end of the game we had our shot at it and couldn't contain what we had to do.
Q. Could you talk about the defensive strategy against Glen Davis. It seemed like he was having his way, and then when Nate Robinson got in there, he seemed to also have his way. What was the strategy in stopping those guys?
PHIL JACKSON: No, I don't want to talk about that.
Q. Tony Allen really wasn't a big factor in 2008 for this team, and in the second half he was kind of put on Kobe and seemed to have more success than Ray Allen. Can you talk about how effective he is against guarding Kobe.
PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, I think he steps on his right hand really well, makes him go left and keeps on the floor instead of getting up in the pump fakes. He does a good job at that.
I thought the fact that we didn't get good bench production, we had to play our starters, you know, really tired, our players towards the end of that game, and we were playing some pretty tired players out there.
Q. Talk about Kobe scored a lot of points, but how do you feel about the rest of the production from your offense?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, you could tell we got a little bit desperate there. I thought Lamar was going to kind of sit this one out. He wasn't really having success, and I thought the scoring Davis did at the other end of the floor affected his game, affected Lamar's game. Then he got going, he got productive a little bit in the fourth quarter. Pau did a good job during the course of the game. He got a pretty good game. And obviously Fish was taken out of the game by foul situation. So we missed his game a little bit tonight.
Q. What's going on with Bynum right now? And how did it hurt you not being able to depend on him?
PHIL JACKSON: It bothered us in the second half not having Andrew be able to come out and play the start of the second half. He tried a couple minutes, but it just wasn't there for him. We're glad we have a couple days off and we can kind of get him back hopefully in position where he can help us out again.
Q. They had the rebounding advantage tonight, 41‑34, and each team that has had the rebounding advantage in each game has won that game. Is that a statistical oddity or indicative of what we're going to see the rest of the series?
PHIL JACKSON: No, I really think that it's going to be a factor, that and turnovers. Those are keys to games. Second‑chance points, fast‑break points tonight. We talked about it at halftime. We couldn't seem to stem the tide. They knocked balls free more than anything else or they got it back out of bounds or whatever. So I was disappointed our guys can't secure the rebounds, didn't capture the rebounds. We talked about that tonight. We shot better than they did, but that didn't make the difference in the game. The difference in the game was chances. They had more chances than we did.
Q. You've seen this team in a lot of different situations in different places through the years. Where is their composure level now heading towards the next game? And is it strange to see this team as the grounded team of the two?
PHIL JACKSON: Our team, yeah. They're pretty emotional. They had their backs against the wall tonight, and they played desperate, and they got away with it. We let that happen, but I thought overdribbling the ball, not moving the ball, not playing at the same level with the composure that we have to play with. I thought their animation and their activity level, you know, affected us. Guys wanted to get back into it with them a couple times. Nate Robinson and the chatter that went back and forth there, and I thought we called ‑‑ every time we got guys composed a little bit, we got back into the game but we couldn't get the momentum back.
Q. And the composure level, is it possible since you guys have played with such good focus, in a way you can be too composed and not enough emotion?
PHIL JACKSON: No, I don't agree with that. I think that, you know, you can still play with that cool head, but you have to meet the physical activity, and that's what their animation, I think. Davis, Robinson gave us a little bit of that activity level that we didn't meet and match.
Q. Kobe had the 33, but half of his shots were three‑pointers. He had the seven turnovers. Do you think that he was himself out there today?
PHIL JACKSON: He was tired. You know, physically I thought he had to work too hard in the course of the game, and he couldn't finish it out the way he wanted to finish it out. That's part of what happened. I thought the match‑ups in the game kind of dictated those terms, and we'll have to do something different the next game to get him off the floor and keep him ready for that fourth quarter.
Guard Kobe Bryant
Q. Could you describe the ebb and flow of the second half. First half you guys seemed to have control, second half the Celtics put down, as I like to see, the MDE, the mad death energy, and they seemed to control the flow in the second half. What was the breakdown of the Lakers in that second half?
KOBE BRYANT: They got all the energy points, the hustle points, second‑chance points, points in the paint, beat us to the loose balls. I mean, that's how the game turned around.
Q. Talk about just the Celtics' defense and what you've seen from it the last couple games. How do you describe it now that you've gotten to get really close to it?
KOBE BRYANT: They're a great scheming team. They have a strategy in place, and they execute extremely well. I feel pretty comfortable. Wasn't pleased with the way I took care of the ball tonight. I thought I did a horrible job of that. But it's a great defense.
Q. How would you compare it to some of the more challenging defenses you've faced this season?
KOBE BRYANT: Oh, it's right up there with the best of them.
Q. Did you tweak your knee early in the game, and did it affect anything you did throughout the game?
KOBE BRYANT: No.
Q. Absolutely not?
KOBE BRYANT: No.
Q. Coach Jackson suggested that maybe you were a little bit tired tonight. Were your legs a little bit tired tonight or worn out?
KOBE BRYANT: Nope.
Q. Can Bynum come back in a few days do you think? How bad did he look back there just now?
KOBE BRYANT: I think he'll be fine. I think he'll bounce back and give it a go.
Q. Obviously you guys missed him tonight?
KOBE BRYANT: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. He should be fine, though.
Q. Can you talk about the individual match‑up with Tony Allen. He wasn't a big part of the team in 2008 when you guys played them, and he's playing a lot against you individually defending you.
KOBE BRYANT: He does a great job. He plays hard, he competes, and he's a good solid defender. I'm enjoying it.
Q. Can you guys do anything to free you up off of him, make some adjustments for next game?
KOBE BRYANT: I'm not really too concerned about it to be honest with you. I'm more concerned about getting rebounds and getting the loose balls and stuff like that. When push comes to shove, I can always get a bucket.
Q. Can you describe how Bynum's absence changed the dynamic of the game for you guys?
KOBE BRYANT: Well, we didn't have that big presence in the middle, and Big Baby took full advantage of it, took full advantage of it, and he played extremely, extremely well for them, as did Nate.
Q. If he can't go into next game or can only go limited minutes, how do you compensate for that?
KOBE BRYANT: We'll just figure it out. I'm not sure how yet. We've played without him obviously in the lineup before. We got a good rhythm going with him in the lineup. We'll just figure it out.
Q. Can you talk about just how this game is called in relation to the first three? Seemed like a much more physical game, and what that did to affect both you guys and the Celtics.
KOBE BRYANT: They've all been physical games. We had a couple players in foul trouble even tonight just because of the physicality of the series. I don't want to say it was officiated any different than the previous ones.
Q. Can you speak about the game of Pau Gasol today, please, and how important he is going to be? I know he's been important right now, but without Andrew Bynum in the lineup.
KOBE BRYANT: Pau has been playing great. He had a great game again tonight. You know, I mean, he's ‑‑ the offense starts with him a lot of the times by throwing the ball in the post to him and making good decisions and reads and scoring when we need him to score and defending when we need him to defend. He's playing great.
Q. Can you talk about a couple things, one, about every team that's won the rebounding war has won the game; you guys lost that tonight. And talk about the importance of Fisher being out, only playing 30 minutes, you having seven turnovers because you have to handle the ball more. How much did him being out affect your team today?
KOBE BRYANT: Well, I mean, it affects us drastically on the defensive end of the floor as well as the offensive end of the floor because he does the majority of the ball handling, making sure we get into our offense and things flow.
In terms of me having seven turnovers that's just me playing like crap.
Lakers Forward Ron Artest
Q: Did you think there was a difference in intensity between the Celtics defense in the first versus the second half?
Artest: They played intense the whole time. They played intense tonight. They play intense all the time.
Q: What are you looking to do in preparation for Game 5?
Artest: We are probably going to watch the tape and come back and improve. We have to make sure we come back ready. Come back ready to hustle and get rebounds.
Q: What creates energy for a team?
Artest: I’m not sure what everybody individually was thinking. Probably a couple of things went their way that could have gone our way. We just have to make sure we come to that next time.
Q: You controlled the game until they went on a 10-point run. What happened?
Artest: It turned on us. They stayed on the line and continued to play hard. We will look at the tape and see what we could have done better, but I think they played pretty well tonight.
Lakers' Forward Pau Gasol
Q. Pau, can you talk about the unique challenge of going against Rasheed Wallace. It seems like it's been pretty intense all series long, maybe even more intense tonight.
PAU GASOL: I don't know. You know, he's trying to play hard and trying to do a good job on me, and obviously he's a great player. But it's just like the whole team. You know, it's no different. Tonight was a tough game all around, and we couldn't get accomplish what we wanted to get accomplished out there, especially down the fourth quarter. But always time for us to regroup, get some rest these couple days, get ready for Game 5 and give our very best so we can obtain the victory that we're pursuing.
Q. Doc suggested that Rasheed is suited to guarding you because you're not used to shooting over that kind of length. Is that true?
PAU GASOL: He's longer. But there's also long players in the league. I mean, I don't treat it any different when one or another player is guarding me. I try to attack and be aggressive and go by him. If I see the opportunity to shoot it, if I see it, I seize it.
He did a good opportunity tonight just like the rest of their team.
Q. How much did you guys miss Andrew Bynum out there tonight?
PAU GASOL: Obviously we miss Andrew when he's not out there because he's been so effective just blocking shots and rebounding. Those two things alone are a big plus when he's out there for us, and it's something that we're going to need to continue to work on on the next game.
Q. You've seen a lot of interesting defenses on Kobe this season, but how would you assess the way the Celtics are defending him so far?
PAU GASOL: They're being aggressive, and they're on him. They force him into drives and into crowds a lot of times. You know, he has to make a lot of tough and big plays. So far I think he's been pretty effective in reading when to go, when to shoot and when to pass. You know, they're going to stay on him. Obviously he's a key player for us, and he brings a lot of scoring and a lot of decision making out there. But we'll see. We've got to continue to execute our game plan a little better and make sure that down the stretch it's crucial that we're sharper than we were tonight.
Q. You had a solid offensive game, but with Bynum hurt and not as many options, are you worried that outside of you and Kobe that there's not enough offensively?
PAU GASOL: No, I'm not worried. I'm not worried. I think we have enough in our arsenal to be able to produce in that case. So I'm not really worried.
Obviously, like I said, we want Andrew out there as much as possible, but it's just a matter of how he's feeling and how much he can do. But I think we have enough in our bench and in our team to be able to be aggressive and productive out there.
Q. Heading into a Game 5 on the road, 2‑2 series is obviously a very critical situation. In the relatively short time that you've been around the team, how has the composure level changed? How much of that is just the maturity of the group that wasn't there before and the impact of being in The Finals three straight years?
PAU GASOL: A lot. You know, obviously the experience that we have now gives us something that we can count on and gives us confidence at these type of moments. So it doesn't really make us relax at all, being overconfident. But at the same time we know what to do, we know how to play, we know how to get it done. And we know how important Game 5 will be, so we've just got to get ourselves mentally and physically ready to give our very best in that game, and that's it, and try to accomplish our mission.
Q. And how has that changed in the time you've been here? You guys are the calm, stable team in this series. That wasn't always necessarily the case with the Lakers. How have you seen that personality change with your team?
PAU GASOL: We've just evolved. We understood what it took to be successful at this level at this time of the year, and that's why we have been successful, and that's been a progress since I've gotten here individually and collectively.
Q. Were you surprised at the collective Laker squad, un cuerpo, could not come together? It seemed after Andrew went down the whole team did not step up under the glass and the Celtics took over. Why didn't you guys rise up together when Andrew went down?
PAU GASOL: I think we tried as much as possible to stay together as a team and work as a team out there defensively and offensively. There were times that we couldn't really get to it, but it is definitely a factor, the fact of not ‑‑ giving up 16 offensive rebounds, it's huge, and being outrebounded by them is also key. So we need to do a better job next game on rebounding, putting bodies on people and not allowing them to get as many second‑chance points as they did tonight. You know, it's a key point. It's a key point that we have to understand, and we've got to do what it takes to control that.
Lakers' Forward Lamar Odom
Q: What happened down the stretch when the Celtics seemed to turn it up?
Odom: We just have to run our offense and have movement especially with Andrew [Bynum] out of the game. We have to move the ball and be quicker. We just can’t stand around and watch. With him [Andrew Bynum] out of the game that’s not our strength. We have to move the ball to be able to get ourselves in offensive rebounding position, get guys open looks, make plays for others.
Q: Did you have to do anything different in your style of play during the second half without Andrew Bynum?
Odom: Move the ball. I’m not going to put it on my shoulders to win or lose the game. We have to move the ball and become a team, become a tighter team. We have to protect the paint. We have to defensive rebound as a unit especially with him out of the game we have to make up for his size and shot blocking ability and the way he protects the rim at seven feet, his physical presence. We have to realize as a team what he gives us and what Lamar gives us. If we don’t do that, than we are in trouble especially on the defensive boards.
Q: What happened on the glass during the second half for you when you had trouble snatching rebound?
Odom: As a team we did. We have to box guys out and stay on the glass as a team.
Q: How effective was Boston’s bench tonight?
Odom: Very effective especially Glen Davis. He found open spots. He doesn’t just do it half court, he beats you off the ball, second effort, off the pick-and-roll, they do a great job of finding him. They do a great job of moving the ball and different guys took shots. You can only apply so much pressure when different guys take shots.
Celtics Coach Doc
Q. Doc, talk a little bit about your bench tonight, particularly Glen Davis, and just what he was able to bring for you guys tonight.
DOC RIVERS: Well, it was just their energy. Glen was fantastic. Posted him a couple times. But it was just their whole energy. I thought we were lacking that in that one stretch, and they came in, Nate ‑‑ Tony Allen was phenomenal tonight with his energy, Baby was phenomenal, Rasheed was unbelievable. I thought the entire bench unit with Ray, they were great. They kept the game simple for the most part.
Unfortunately it's probably our most emotional group when you have Nate, Tony and Rasheed on the floor at the same time. So the techs happen. That's the only thing we didn't like. We have a no fourth quarter tech rule, which was blown out of the water today. But other than that I thought our energy was absolutely terrific.
Q. The technicals you mentioned, what is your concern now with Rasheed now that he's in the same position Perk was?
DOC RIVERS: Well, I mean, it is what it is. I mean, you know, I hope they rescind that one because I thought he did a dance but he ran away. I didn't think he said anything. The dance was funny, and so I could see it, but I don't know. I just wish they hadn't given it to him. It is a concern. The Lakers know that. Somehow we're going to have to keep our composure. I was concerned, I don't know what quarter it was, it might have been the second quarter, might have been third with Gasol and Perk kept going back and forth, and that was actually one of the reasons I said, we've got to get him out, because you could see it, the double‑technicals, it was about to come.
But listen, we've put ourselves in this situation, and we're going to have to play ourselves out of it.
Q. In the fourth quarter you were riding your bench for the first eight minutes and then you had the three starters at the scorers table and were ready to put them back in, and then ‑‑
DOC RIVERS: Yeah, I took them out of there. Told them to go sit down. It was a scoring matter for me. All I was doing was looking at the score. If it became a two‑possession game, meaning two, three, so six points was my number, I told my coaches, I said at the six minute mark, six points is the number. If they get it to a two‑possession game, got to go with one scorer at a time. My concern was with the bench, if we could get enough baskets to put the game away.
So we waited and waited and then once they got I think it was seven, we got Paul in and then he came in and made a big shot for us. That's what that was about.
Q. What did you see in your starters' faces when you motioned to come back?
DOC RIVERS: They were fine. We were cheering. This is a good team. I don't think guys really care, and that's what makes us ‑‑ that's why we're here, it really is. Hell, Rondo and all of them, they were begging me to keep guys in. "Don't take them out! Don't take them out!" It was great. That was the loudest I've seen our bench, and it was our starters cheering from the bench. I thought it was terrific.
Q. Can you talk about as far as defense on Kobe, is it similar to what you did against Wade, LeBron, where if they do what they do, that's fine, as long as everybody else doesn't go nuts you're happy with it?
DOC RIVERS: Yeah. We want to make it tough, too. I actually thought we made it tough. The guy is Kobe Bryant. He made some unbelievable shots. But I thought, again, we did a great job on everybody else, and we felt that in Game 3 we didn't do that. All the other guys really hurt us, and I thought our guys all kind of stayed focused on their man. They didn't get mesmerized by Kobe. We've done that a couple times where we're watching the Kobes and the Wades so much that everybody else is getting off. I thought our guys stayed pretty disciplined tonight.
Q. Have you guys stayed to your game plan going into the series, kind of stayed with what you wanted them to do against him?
DOC RIVERS: Yeah. You know, listen, he's going to have big games, and like I said in the series with Cleveland, we're going to have to win one of these games where Kobe goes off for a big night. And that may come in the next three. But we're still going to have to find a way to win that game.
Q. I know you probably turned a blind eye to the fourth quarter techs this time, but even when you didn't have momentum, it almost kind of fueled you in that quarter.
DOC RIVERS: Do you want me to tell them to get more?
Q. No, not more ‑‑
DOC RIVERS: They were playing with great emotion. Even Nate, that was the one I didn't like more than Rasheed's. We don't have to be tough, especially at whatever height you are. But that's who he is. He's an emotional player, and it's so easy for us. I'm sitting in a suit and tie and all of us to say, rein it in.
But they were playing well, they were happy, they were excited. So it is a fine line.
Q. It seems like you like Rasheed guarding Pau and that's been quite a battle all series. Can you talk a little bit about what you like about Rasheed in that match‑up.
DOC RIVERS: Well, he's got size and length. Pau is just a great offensive player, and it's rare that he has to shoot over length. And he's physical, Rasheed is physical. So if we can keep that body on him, it's great. For right now it really comes down for Rasheed to how he's feeling, how his conditioning is working. You know, when he went down to the floor, I was thinking back out again.
But yeah, I do like that match‑up.
Q. And it seems like in earlier games in the series, Pau looked a little intimidated at times but today he was pretty aggressive ‑‑
DOC RIVERS: I don't think ‑‑ I think Pau has been terrific. Listen, he's not going to back down. He's a champion. They're not going to back down from us. We're not going to back down from them. And that's how this series is going to be, and that's how it's been. That's good, though. It's good for all of us.
Q. Pierce was able to get started in the first quarter and then he made two big shots. Do you think maybe he's been able to turn a corner here?
DOC RIVERS: Oh, yeah, I was kicking myself in the third quarter. You know, I thought we went away from him a little too much. You know, I thought we were pressing a little bit as a team. There was a lot of dribbling. I thought everyone who was struggling was trying to get it going themselves, and I kept reminding them that Paul has it going, let's try to get it back to him.
You know, I didn't want to burn a time‑out honestly, but if I could rethink it, I probably would have because I thought we got away from Paul too long. He had it going.
Q. In the start of the fourth quarter, why did you decide Ray with the subs? And did you think the starters just needed a rest because it was such a grind‑it‑out kind of game? And were you expecting the subs just to kind of maintain things?
DOC RIVERS: Yeah, clearly, that's why you put them in. Clearly, just maintain the ‑‑ if they come out and the lead is the same or whatever it is, you're happy. But when they can extend it, you're excited.
The reason I went with Ray is because Paul had played that whole quarter, I took Ray out I think at the three or four minute mark. So I had already planned to bring Ray back in at the start of the quarter.
So far in this series when we've done that, they've gone small. They've taken guys out to match up. I just thought that's a good way of creating a match‑up for us.
Q. Just how surprised were you when they extended that lead?
DOC RIVERS: I was happy. I don't know about surprised but I was happy.
Q. Can you remember another game where they've done that?
DOC RIVERS: We've done that during the season, but I don't know ‑‑ this is The Finals, so it's obviously different. Such a quality team. What I liked about it, for the most part it was against their starters, and that's what was impressive about it.
Q. I don't know if you saw the replays on the Jumbotron, but Baby after that three‑point play in the fourth, so excited, the drool actually coming down?
DOC RIVERS: I've seen that action before. It's usually after we run in practice. (Laughter). I didn't see it but all the guys were talking about it, so I'm sure I'll get a good laugh tonight or this morning when I'm watching film.
You know, that's who he is, though. He has a lot of passion. I mean, there's times you love him and times he drives you nuts. But overall his heart is always in the right place, and you just take it.
Q. And about Rasheed, he left a little early to get back to the locker room and get some treatment. How bad is he right now?
DOC RIVERS: Well, we just didn't want him to pick that other tech up sitting on the bench (laughter).
No, it was tight. You could see him when he was walking off the floor. I asked him if he was okay, and he shook his head no. I thought, well, maybe this is a good time to send him to the back. Fortunately we have a couple days, so I think that will work in our favor.
Q. What exactly in your mind was behind Paul getting it going tonight?
DOC RIVERS: Well, I thought he was aggressive, and I thought we did a better job of going to him. The first play of the game we set up to go to him. He got fouled and you could see he was aggressive, he was going to drive tonight. I thought he drove tonight, and that's one of the things ‑‑ I even talked about it after the last game, we told him, boy, there were some great driving lanes for you, you've got to take them. So I thought he did that.
You know, again, we can't forget he is our best scorer, and I think at times we do that. I've got to do a better job there, and everyone does.
Q. Can you just talk about the first three games there was so much talk about the whistles and foul trouble. That didn't seem to be the issue in Game 4, and what that did for you guys in terms of being on your physical game.
DOC RIVERS: I think both teams ‑‑ this is an extremely physical game, but it was a clean game. There was some talking, but you know, whatever. I just thought both teams were allowed to play, and it was terrific. It was good basketball. You know, there's frustration all the time, but I thought overall it was a really well played game. It was a physical game.
Celtics Forward Paul
Q. Paul, how important was it for you to get yourself going there in the first quarter? And what did you do in the fourth quarter to get the lead and maintain it?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, for one, you know, it really ain't about me. I just wanted to be aggressive. I mean, that wasn't the most important thing for us on the list to get Paul Pierce going coming into the game. But Doc just told me to be aggressive at the start of the game, put me in a couple pick‑and‑rolls early, try to get to the lane, be aggressive, and that's about it. I knew once I got in the pick‑and‑roll with their big men, I got an advantage and just tried to take advantage of it, that's all.
But today the story was all about our bench, man. I'm not going to take nothing away from them. They came out and got the job done. The starters were solid, we couldn't pull away, but the bench came in and got it done.
Q. Doc said he wanted you to drive more to the basket. Were you looking to take Artest to the line more?
PAUL PIERCE: Just looking to be aggressive, man. I don't predetermine what I'm going to do in a game. If I've got a 15‑foot jumper that's open, I'm going to take it. I can knock those shots down. If I've got a three‑pointer that's open, the lane open ‑‑ the guys were setting great picks between Perk and Kevin. I was cutting off the ball. I think that was big. And the guys, they just got me open. That's all it was.
Q. You talked about the great picks your guys were setting, but clearly this game was allowed to be a lot more physical than the first three. Did that play to your strengths at all, this team?
PAUL PIERCE: You know, we liked the way the game was played today, just real physical, real grind‑it‑out type of game, both teams in the 80s pretty much, and that's the type of game we like. We don't really want to get into a scoring dual with the Lakers when they're going out and trying to score 120 points. If the game is in the 80s and 70s, that means both teams are pretty much in the half court playing tough, grind‑it‑out defense. We were able to do that for the most part until the bench came in, and boy, they got the job done tonight.
It was fun to be on the sideline in the fourth quarter because to start the fourth Doc was like, "One minute and I'm putting you in the game. You're not sitting too long, so just be ready." Then you look up, we tie the game, then go up two, three and then they push the lead to seven. And I don't get back in the game for three minutes because the bench went out there between Baby, Nate, TA with the defense, Rasheed. Then Ray went out there to settle them all down. It was beautiful to watch just being a cheerleader on the sideline.
Q. You talked about Baby, talk about where he's come from in two years making these baskets and dominating the paint when he's getting offensive rebounds, and controlling the game like that?
PAUL PIERCE: Baby is a much more confident player now. You saw what he did last year in the playoffs. He came into his own when Kevin was hurt, had big games versus Orlando and Chicago, and he's going to be big. Our whole bench is going to be big. Just a couple years ago the first championship we won, Baby wasn't even in the rotation. So to be here in this spotlight, to come in with a big game like, that is huge for him. We're going to need it. Like I told you before, we're going to need it from all 15 guys.
Q. Did guarding LeBron, guarding Wade, guarding Vince Carter, did that at all help you in your preparation in trying to defend Kobe?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, I haven't really guarded Kobe too much ‑‑
PAUL PIERCE: Oh, okay, yeah. We played against the best ‑‑ right there is the cream of the crop right there when you talk about the scorers, scouting report. Obviously when you go to the scouting report, Kobe is much more difficult on the scouting report because of the things he does. I think between Wade and LeBron they're special in their own right, but Kobe overall is tough, and those series definitely helped us prepare team‑wise to load up and be ready for him when he gets into the lane to make shots tougher on him. Those guys definitely prepared us for that.
Q. When you guys played Miami it seemed like even if Wade went nuts, you guys were fine with that as long as everybody else didn't do the same. Would you say that's the mentality here, as well?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, in that series, you know, the goal was to slow and stop Wade. We couldn't do that. We couldn't stop Wade. We just said we're going to stop, try to stop the other guys. With this, you've not only got to stop Kobe, you've got to stop the other guys because they're capable of playing big, too. So in some ways it helped us and in some ways not so much because factor in the other four starters.
You have to guard these guys at all times. All of them can beat you for a game, like Fisher showed last game, Gasol has done it, Bynum has done it, Ron has done it in the playoffs. That's what makes Kobe so difficult to guard because you really can't help out too many people that they put on the court.
Q. I know you said you tried to be aggressive tonight but I'm going to go out on a limb and think you probably want to be aggressive every game. You had two very subpar offensive games the last two games. What was the difference tonight in you getting going offensively aside from being aggressive?
PAUL PIERCE: I think just Coach giving me a few calls here and there. A lot of times, you know, in this series we ran a lot of plays through Kevin and Rondo, high pick‑and‑roll. Haven't run a lot of pick‑and‑rolls with me in it but Coach said today he was going to do more with me pick‑and‑roll and slashing to the basket. I don't complain about the way the offense is going and what we've been able to accomplish because at the end of the day it's about winning games and whether I score or I'm aggressive or not, my whole goal is to help win games. Coach drew up a few more plays for me today, and I was just capitalizing on them.
Q. At the end of the game when you did come back in for the starters, you had two big hoops and the three‑point play. Those were huge coming at the time they came.
PAUL PIERCE: Yeah. When I came in the game Rondo said he was going to give me the pick‑and‑roll. Coach said also, let's get a pick‑and‑roll with Kevin and myself. Those guys said attack, be aggressive. Don't be passive. I think when I'm passive, I turn the ball over or things don't go my way. But when I play on my instincts and attack and you know aggressive I'm a much better player, and that's what I wanted to do when I got back in there in the fourth.
Q. You mentioned Tony Allen's great defense, and he wasn't really playing such a big role in 2008. How much of an asset is having him against Kobe especially tonight?
PAUL PIERCE: It's been big for us all throughout the playoffs, Wade, LeBron, Kobe. Just a guy that's in the rotation who thinks about nothing but defense, hustling, getting loose balls. And every great team needs a guy like that. He takes so much pressure off me and Ray, the scorers, working so hard to get points. To have a guy that can come in and take pressure off us and guard the other team's best player or pretty much anybody. You throw Tony out there he can pretty much guard three positions on the perimeter, and that's huge for us.
Celtics Guard Rajon
Q: Give us your assessment of tonight’s game?
Rondo: We played great as a team. I think it was our best quarters of the year … our bench played great for us tonight. No one guy won the game for us tonight – it was a team effort.
Q: How excited was it to watch the bench’s performance tonight?
Rondo: For me, personally, it gives myself a lot of rest, so I’m excited when Nate is playing well … As far as the team, they played great; the bench played great; Nate did a great job leading, as well, so you can’t praise him enough. Nate really got the win for us tonight.
Q: What does it say about the team that you had this type of performance in the biggest game of the year?
Rondo: I guess it says a lot, but we’ve still [got to get] two more wins.
Q: What’s ahead for the team going into Game 5?
Rondo: I think we’ve got to get one. Whoever wins the series is going to have to win two in a row eventually. So last home game of the year, we’ll try to go out with a win.
Q: Did you ever talk to Nate when he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time to keep a positive attitude? How did he respond?
Rondo: I did, and he stayed positive. He still got in the gym and got up his shots. Nate actually played when he first got here; he just got into a little slump, I guess, where he didn’t play. Especially during the playoffs, when I told him to stay positive [and that he’d] win a couple of games for us. And he believed it … he’s definitely a great professional.
Q: Is this performance the blueprint for Celtics basketball?
Rondo: It is. We played great as a team. Not one person won the game tonight, and that’s what it’s going to take to win the series.
Q: Is this special because it’s against the Lakers?
Rondo: No, it’s just special because it’s The Finals.
Celtics Center Kendrick Perkins
Q: How was the bench play in this game?
Perkins: Huge. I thought Big Baby, ‘Sheed, Tony, Nate … they came in and gave us a jump. We kept hanging around early, making it a two-point, four-point game, tying it up. But [the bench] came out and kind of stretched it out. And Doc kept rolling with them [and] they kept making plays down the stretch.
Q: How do you feel going into Game 5 now in a best-of-five series?
Perkins: Another must-win situation on Sunday. I think that it’s getting close to that time: we’ve got to go all out. There are three games left – however you want to look at it – we’ve got to go all out.
Perkins: It was hot. You like to see guys like Nate, not playing the whole playoffs … come in and have an impact on the series … Big Baby doing well; T.A. playing great D; and Rasheed playing great D. And you’re on the bench encouraged because you don’t want to go down 3-1.
Perkins: No, we tell Ray [Allen] to keep shooting. Ray’s one of the best shooters in the league and we tell him to keep shooting. We’re behind him. All he needs is one to go in to get it going.
Q: How important was Paul Pierce … making those plays in the fourth quarter?
Perkins: I thought he attacked early in the first quarter and that’s what got it going. I thought he attacked early in the first and got us off to a pretty good start.
Celtics Guard Nate Robinson, Celtics Forward Glen Davis
Q. Nate, when you think about where this year started, where you were in December, how much are you appreciating this moment? And how much fun are you having performing on this big stage?
NATE ROBINSON: I mean, I'm loving it right now. I mean, first and foremost, I just thank the Lord for just putting me in this situation. This is a blessing. So I'm very happy.
Q. I just asked Phil about guarding you guys and playing defense on both you guys, and he had no comment. What are your thoughts on why he has no comment? Do you guys have your way ‑‑
GLEN DAVIS: I don't have no comment, either. If Phil Jackson don't have no comment, then I don't have no comment. (Laughter).
Q. How did you feel going to the basket? You were 7 for 10 tonight.
GLEN DAVIS: I just felt like a beast. Really, I'm going to just be honest with you. I just felt like I couldn't be denied, rebound ‑‑ if a rebound was in my vicinity or like if the ball was going to be laid up, you know, I just felt like I just couldn't be denied. And it kind of started off with me missing those two, a lay‑up and then the jump shot. I was really upset at myself, and I said I've got to seize the moment here. There's not too many times you get a chance to be in The Finals and be a part of something so great that you can never really imagine yourself even being here. I just couldn't be denied today.
Q. And Nate, could you comment on your instant offense tonight.
NATE ROBINSON: I'll comment on my energy. I mean, that's me. I can score points, I can do all that, play D, I just want to bring energy. The more energy I bring, the more I get the crowd involved, my teammates, the energy of the building, the sky's the limit. I just love bringing the energy.
Q. Glen, you look up, five, six minutes left in the game. What's going through your head? You're still in the game, still rolling. What's going through your head? Are you looking over to the bench?
GLEN DAVIS: All I'm thinking about is, let's win. I'm not thinking about anything else. I'm not even thinking about Kobe making all these shots, worried about this or worried about that. I'm just worried about winning, whatever it takes to win, and just making sure that I give my teammates positive energy to finish out the game.
Q. Nate, this is for you: Can you tell us how you've managed to come in, fit in, produce the way you have in the short amount of time that you have, and you seem like there's so much growth that has taken place since I saw you down there.
NATE ROBINSON: I mean, again, like when I first came, the guys welcomed me with open arms. I just felt like I've been here for years. So that made it easy for me to make the transition from the Knicks, and then just coming in playing, I know how to play the game of basketball. My teammates, they put so much confidence in me.
I mean, I just feel like a kid that's just at the park. Just like all my boys. We're just playing basketball. We get out there playing, I know a lot of people and you guys get nervous, but it's stuff we've been doing since we was five, six years old. So it's nothing new to us. I understand this is the highest level. Each team is fighting for a ring, and my teammates, man, they're a blessing, man. Like each guy, each guy brings something different to the table, and we all use it together. And I think that's what you need in a team.
Q. What have you found in Boston that makes ‑‑ what have you found in Boston? Like when you got here, what did you find and were you surprised by what you saw?
NATE ROBINSON: Just how much ‑‑ like when I got here, how much my teammates, Doc, the coaching staff, Wyc, the owners, Danny Ainge, how much they just wanted me to be here, and I just felt like you know how you get transferred from school, from your parents transferring you, you're the new kid and you're kind of nervous, and when the whole team, the whole class just opens you with open arms and makes it easy for you to feel loved, I was like, yeah, I'm at home. I feel safe, I feel loved, and I feel like they need me to do one thing, which is bring energy and be along for this ride.
Q. This is for both you guys: Your teammates and coaches know what you can do off the bench, but do you think you surprised the Lakers and surprised basketball fans across the country with the way the bench played in the fourth quarter?
GLEN DAVIS: Most definitely. I don't think that what we did today was really on the scouting report. A lot of things that we did, it was a lot of just will and determination and seizing the moment. You know, we all have been college players, and we've both had success in the NBA so far. I think the world knows that we can play the game. But to play it at this level and the way we played it, I don't think they knew that.
You know, this is new to me. You know, really playing in The Finals and being a part of the team. My first year I was a part, but I really didn't play a huge part in winning. And it's new for everybody. So everybody gets to see what's going on.
NATE ROBINSON: I just think that you can't scout energy, no matter what. Something my college coach used to say is that the more energy you bring, you'll be surprised what the outcome of the game will be. Just play as hard as you can for as long as you can. I think our bench ‑‑ our team, but mostly our bench, that's what we try to do when we're in there. We try to play as hard as we can for as long as we can, play through the mistakes, play through the calls, play through everything, and we did that tonight. And the world is just opening their eyes now to see how we've been playing. We've been playing like this since rookie year. But of course now it's at the highest level, so now people are starting to open their eyes and they see the players that we're capable of being, and we showed them tonight.
Q. Doc was in here and told us about his six‑point rule, that he was going to go with you guys until it got down to six. Did you know about that number or that rule?
NATE ROBINSON: No, I was hoping not to come out of the game.
GLEN DAVIS: I was wishing I didn't come out of the game, but I'm glad to know that now, so we won't let it get to six points.
NATE ROBINSON: The main thing, when you're playing like that, you just try to play, like I said, as hard as you can for as long as you can, and then you want the starters to go back in so they can carry us home. We did our job today, we went in, we played hard, played smart, played together. And then the guys, the starting five, they go in and they bring us home. That's the beauty about a team.
Q. Did you feel some ownership for what went on? And did you want to finish it out if possible?
GLEN DAVIS: I was really looking at the clock like, when is he going to come get me?
NATE ROBINSON: I was thinking the same thing.
GLEN DAVIS: We're playing, but time‑out go by, he don't sub, I was like, man, he's letting us roll.
NATE ROBINSON: It was fun. It was fun today.
GLEN DAVIS: I want to give Doc a hug, man. I love Doc.
NATE ROBINSON: Tell him "thank you".
GLEN DAVIS: I sure appreciate it.
Q. Great moment after that three‑point play, fourth quarter. I think you've already heard about this a little bit from your teammates, Glen, when you were yelling and just very happy and maybe just a little bit of drool ‑‑
NATE ROBINSON: Slobber, yeah, I tried to wipe it ‑‑
GLEN DAVIS: Let me tell you something right quick. When you're in the moment, you're in the moment. If I slobber, snot, spit, please excuse me. Kids, don't do that. Have manners and things like that. Sorry about that. Did I catch you with some?
Q. No. And Nate, you jumping on his back at that moment as well. Just that moment for you guys, to be able to share it ‑‑
GLEN DAVIS: You were on my back?
NATE ROBINSON: You didn't even notice. We're like Shrek and Donkey. (Laughter). You can't separate us.
GLEN DAVIS: You shouldn't have let us two get up here.