On the overall game: It’s one of those things. You’re concerned when you bring a young team into this type of environment. We played scared at times. We had 49 missed shots and only had three offensive rebounds. If you’re out there you’ve got a chance of getting a couple just standing out there. So I think what happened is, we fell behind. We got shell-shocked a little bit when they came out and we just didn’t give any presence. I thought that we played extremely selfish early. I thought each guy was looking for his own shot to try to get off rather than playing team basketball.
On John Wall’s performance in first regular season: We got beat by 29 so he didn’t do very good.
On what he told the team at the half:I was just concerned that we got to a point where they made shots and we didn’t fire back and compete how we needed to compete. We played harder the last 3-4 days in practice than we did as far as today, as far as competing. So I told them that was the disappointing thing. This is a team that played well during the preseason. They buried a lot of teams. As I told them, if you don’t react, and you don’t give resistance, they’ll do the same.
On whether lack of contesting shots is mental: Part of it was. You have to realize when you’re shooting 30 percent and the other team is in transition, there’s going to be some open shots… because that’s the toughest part of your defense is in transition, getting out and running. And with Dwight (Howard) it’s tough, because as he rolls to the basket you’ve got to protect to him and it opens up some things. It was a very frustrating night for everybody, but we’ve got to fail quickly. It’s over with. We’ve got to get back on the horse and got to get Atlanta.
On John Wall having to face Dwight Howard when going into the paint: It’s not the most ideal situation and matchup for your first game to go against the Defensive Player of the Year that does really patrol the paint so much, but that’s part of the learning process.
On John Wall making adjustments at halftime: He’s an assists-first guy. The reason he was shooting is because he’s at 16 feet and he’s wide open. He’s going to have to take the shots. He’s going to have to make those shots. So, it’s not like he took bad shots. He took good shots, and then he made a couple. Third quarter he made one. They came out on him and he had some open assist looks.
It was tough. It really taught me what I need to work on. As a team aspect, we have a lot that we need to work on. We have to become a better team. We played a talented Orlando team that always starts off the season with a great record. Tonight they proved they are one of the top teams.
We did not execute our game plan. We came out and did not play together as a team. We did not make a lot of shots. We knew how they were going to play and they did a great job of guarding us.
We didn’t do a great job of boxing out. At one point it was 23-8 we were being rebounded going into halftime. It has to be all five guys to go in and rebound.
As an individual, it was tough not making shots. I have been working on it. Shots are going to start falling sooner or later. For my first game to be a road game against one of the top teams who made it to the NBA Finals a few years ago was pretty tough.
That (passing) is what I tried to do in the first half but we didn’t roll good enough so it was pretty tough. I don’t ever like shooting that many shots that I took. I had to do that though tonight so I will go watch some film and get ready for Atlanta.
Some nights you are going to make them and some nights you are not. Tonight was a night that I did not.
Tonight we played against a team that was in The Finals two years ago and has played in the Eastern Conference Finals the last couple of years. They are a talented team and they are on a mission.
He (Howard) told me (after game) to slow down at times and that it is a long season with 82 games. It is pretty tough to do because we are supposed to push the ball and that is what our team does. It is great to learn things from talented players out there every night.
We prepared ourselves for a tough match and they are one of the best teams in the league. We came with the right mindset. I feel we didn’t give it enough energy and enough hustle including myself. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the early double team once I get the ball. That is something I need to adjust to and work on.
I got the ball in the post and they send Dwight or Quentin Richardson a lot and I tried to make the skip pass to Kirk to have him hit a couple of threes so they could ease up. However, our shot was off tonight and hopefully we pick it up tomorrow night in Atlanta.
On being outrebounded: We have to step it up. Not to use any excuses, but they have one of the best rebounders in the league. We still have to work harder at that. I don’t care if we get four (rebounds) a piece, we have to out rebound teams.