What the Pelicans had to say about 96-80 loss to the Spurs (3/29/14)

Pelicans Coach Monty Williams
On the challenges the Spurs pose
“We couldn’t finish in the paint tonight. We were 18-for-48 in the paint. That’s a bad number for us. We’re a team that usually is high when it comes to points in the paint. Tyreke (Evans), Austin (Rivers), B Rob (Brian Roberts), they had a number of looks tonight. We could sit here and try to figure it out all night long. We had some opportunities. We got (the lead) to 13. We got it to 10. We started feeling good about ourselves, and they just come down and run their offense the way that you dream about your team running their offense. Being shorthanded is not an excuse for me because I really felt like when you compete at a high level, you give yourself a chance. We competed tonight. We just couldn’t finish around the basket. We held them to 96 points. Granted, they didn’t play their guys big minutes tonight. I thought we played well enough to give ourselves a chance. We just couldn’t finish around the basket.”

On the inability to finish at the basket
“What ends up happening when your guards are at the basket and not finishing, your transition defense is messed up. Now the bigs are at the basket, your guards are at the basket. When (the Spurs) take off, it’s usually three on two or four on two. So you start to struggle. Then it’s exhausting because now your guards are playing basket to basket, as far as running distance. It can be something that gets into your head. On a back to back, you start to think about your legs at the end of the season. If we’re going to do what I feel like we’re going to do someday, we have to be able to play at a high level at this point in the year.”

On the Pelicans' effort
“Every group that went out there gave it up for the team. That’s something that we’re known for, but it can’t just be competing. We have to add the execution to the competing. We’ll look at the film on Monday morning. I think a few of our guys are tired. Tyreke (Evans) has been playing big minutes. B Rob (Brian Roberts) came back tonight, but he was a bit winded. That’s the first time I’ve seen him ask to be subbed. That’s always a sign that guys are a bit tired.”

Pelicans Guard Austin Rivers
On the early deficit
“It definitely hurt us. It’s hard to beat the Spurs as it is because they’re a great team, especially when you’re down like that. We just came out slow in that first and it was tough from there, but we made our runs, they just execute so well. They’re the best team in the NBA. I don’t care what anybody says, they are, just because they play so well together. I don’t know how to explain it, they’re just really tough to guard. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team and say that they beat us tonight.”

On the game
“We competed. We didn’t make shots. It looked like we were a little bit tired, and they were making a lot of shots and executing and they just played a great game and we still had chances. As bad as we shot, as tired as we were, we still competed. Everyone played as hard as they could, they just beat us. The Spurs are a great team, we just have to live with the result, as tough as that is, and just get ready for Monday.”

On outscoring the Spurs after starting with a 23-6 deficit
“That’s crazy. That’s why we were thinking that. The second we felt like we were playing well, it was just like man, we could not get that lead down because that huge deficit that we started with was big for the game. It’s tough to beat the Spurs because they score too much and play such good team defense, when you get down like that it’s really hard to come back. That’s why it’s key when you play good teams you have to come out right with them, and then from there that’s how you steal games from them. We still feel like we can beat teams like that, they just played great and beat us.”

Pelicans Guard Tyreke Evans
On the game
“They jumped on us. No excuse for a back-to-back, they had a back-to-back too. They play well at home. They just move the ball, hit shots and we just couldn’t make a shot. We kind of picked it up overall late and still battled. That’s one thing about us, we always fight no matter what. It was a tough loss on a back-to-back, but we have to get ready for Monday.”

On if the Spurs are much better than teams they recently beat
“I wouldn’t say much better, but I think their defense is a little better. They talk and they communicate with each other well.”