3/8 Arbella Quote Worthy: Thunder vs. Celtics
Click on a player to reveal quotes from their postgame press conference.
Team changing how they play when things are going well:
“Yeah the end of the second quarter was bad. Not really, just the last minute or so but it hurt. And then the third they did a good job of making some plays and shots. I thought we missed a few good looks early in the third and maybe played a little tight from that point on. And that happens. This is part of navigating your way through this stuff right. So you can feel like you’re on top of the world one week and you can feel like the sky is falling the next. That’s the hardest part about the NBA is that’s just the way it goes. We’re in a way right now where we just – we just don’t sustain it. The way that we have and the way that we know we can. And so it feels like in those moments other things kind of snowball on you. So I’ve lived this before you know, with most of our good teams go through stretches like this and usually two or three a year. This is our second one. Hopefully we can nip that in the bud and not have a third one. But the road doesn’t get any easier. These are tough games coming up and that’s good because you got to do tough things to get yourself out of a rut.”
How do you break out of this rut?
“Well the number one answer is, you know, stay in the possession and play a little bit better and do so with great technique with great purpose with great focus with great force and be able to let the results be what they are right. And then usually they work out in your favor. You know we’ve gotten beat by two straight good teams. Friday night was different than this one because you know I felt like we, Friday night, even though we were up early it was a little bit like we were playing – we were chasing them most of the game. They kind of dictated they game. Today you know things started going south for us and it snowballed a little bit. And again, this is the part about the NBA that is hard and it’s also fun to look back on when you kind of overcome it.”
Kemba Walker’s turnover at the end:
“Yeah Kemba did the exact right thing. He tried to dribble away from the obvious trap that was coming. Chris Paul did an amazing job moving his feet without fouling, just a tremendous defensive play. And then (Dennis) Schroder went for him full head of steam. You know and by the time Kemba had realized that Schroder was there. Great defensive play by them. The right reaction by Kemba to try to get it out and get it to the other side of the court. 99.999% of the time he’s able to turn that corner and somebody has to chase him and foul him from behind. This time he wasn’t able to do that. I know he’s down about it but they made a good defensive play on that. Those are things we obviously have to get better at but he did the right thing.”
Has anything changed with the way teams are guarding Jayson Tatum?
“I don’t know, I felt like he saw a lot more doubles in the other games. They are up on his pick and rolls so they are more active with high hands and will throw in an occasional blitz on the pick and roll. But no like run-and- jumps like we saw at the Lakers, no super hard traps like we saw in a couple of the other games including the Cavs game where he handled them really well. But the best defenders are on him in every game and they are physical and they are dialed in and they are ready to go. And that’s why whenever I talk to him about it I always say, ‘Doesn’t this make you respect the best even more?’ Like they get it every day from everybody, that’s hard. But I thought he did some good things.”
What happened in the last minute of the second quarter that turned things around?
“We loosened up defensively. We let our guard down a little bit and they put a run on us. That was huge, that was definitely a big last minute, last 40 seconds or whatever it was. We have to be better at the end of games, at the end of quarters obviously too. It was a tough one tonight.”
Losing four straight games at home:
“No I think obviously I have stuff to work on. I think that is how the NBA works; you go through these runs, these stretches where you are feeling really good about yourself then it is like the world is coming to an end. I think as individuals, and as a team we have to try to not get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. This is a low for us and we’ve got to try and build ourselves, crawl ourselves back out of it and I think we will find it again. We are still the same team and we just have to lift each other up and find ways to win basketball games again.”
How do you respond as you head out on the road for your game Tuesday against the Pacers?
“Yeah, regroup. You know it is kind of – the beautiful thing about the NBA is you get another chance coming up real soon. So, we have another opportunity to get a win and play well against a really good team that plays really well at home as well. It is going to be a tough one. Tough road trip for sure but a great opportunity for us. We will look at the film individually and as a team and try to get better from it.”
Did you like the shot and the action you guys got on that final possession?
“Yeah it was a shot I can make, next time.”
Working out with Chris Paul over the summer:
“I worked out with Chris. He is a good defender, but I got the shot I wanted. It was just a tough night, shots were not going in, but it felt good.”
How do you respond going on the road against two playoff teams?
“You just got to move on. Practice tomorrow, can’t hang our heads on this past week, you’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”
Getting back into rhythm:
“Sometimes you just got to be better. And I could go into detail with everything I need to do but you’ve just got to be better.”
Two important stops down the stretch:
“Yeah, I mean obviously we had – we had – I thought Chris (Paul) had, like, a nice little runner in the lane; it just come up a little bit short and it was a great offensive rebound for us to get the possession back, you know, after Steven (Adams)’ foul. And then there was, you know, time when we thought, okay, we could, even if we missed both free throws and didn’t get the rebound, we could’ve played the possession out. And had timeouts to advance the ball. But when Steven missed it and we got it back, and then we kind of missed that floater, we just wanted to get one trap, figured that would be good enough, and Dennis (Schroder) did a great job coming from behind and just creating a steal and a layup. And then I think at the end, you know, Chris did a great job one-on-one defense-wise, and I thought the rest of the group blocked out because I think one of the things that kind of always gets you is those second-chance opportunities on plays like that, and we were able to kind of, the ball got loose but we were able to get everybody get back in there and provide help on the backboard.”
Coming back from bad stretches, and staying together:
“Well the thing that I was really pleased with is we got down by 18 and we had some really bad stretches where we dug ourselves a hole and it wasn’t a fluid game offensively by both teams in that first half; it was low scoring. But we kind of put it together there a little bit then – then to close the half, they went on an unbelievable run. I think they made three or four straight threes, blew the game kind of open a little bit, and I thought our guys did an incredible job of closing the half and getting it to 11. And we came out and started that third quarter really, really well and then just got right back in the game. And to your point, there was – Dennis’ call being overturned, you know taken away, three free throws, there was –I thought the other thing, too, was even – Dennis got fouled and he missed three free throws and then next possession Abdel (Nader) kind of got a fast break and wasn’t able to complete the layup; it’s five points we gave up. But, like I think I said before the game, someone asked me about our guys on the road is I think that you have to be willing to handle those kind of momentum swings, things not going your way, the difficulty and challenge and the adversity that goes on. You’ve got to be able to fight through that. And to your point, I think it speaks to the guys’ character that they keep hanging in there and keep competing.”
Thoughts on the team’s second half defensive performance?
“It was a great team effort. Everybody stepped up, especially some guys that hadn’t played in a while. It was big for us.”
What’s your mindset as a defender in those moments?
“Just don’t give up on the play. Keep pursuing, like you said. Try to make the shot as difficult as possible.”
What did you see on those last four points?
“Oh, it was huge. Chris (Paul) kind of set it up and Dennis (Schroder) just went for the kill. It was big time, man. It takes a leader like Chris to know exactly what to do in that situation, and a guy like Dennis to follow up.”
What does it say about your team that you overcame an eighteen-point deficit on the road to a team that barely beat you at home?
“We just have a lot of fight, a lot of fight. It just started getting away from us in the second quarter. We ended the second quarter on a little run and all season long we’ve been winning these types of games, you’ve been with us, you know what I mean. We just never give up.”
Can you comment on the last two defensive plays by you and Dennis Schroder?
“We wanted to get a trap before we fouled, so I just tried to cut Kemba (Walker) off, but, the presence of mind Dennis, who I trust wholeheartedly, he knew, so when we spent Kemba, he was right there.”