Postgame Quotes - April 13, 2011

Pistons at 76ers
Detroit: John Kuester | Ben Wallace

Philadelphia: Doug Collins | Elton Brand | Thaddeus Young

Pistons Head Coach John Kuester

Q: Was this a good way to end the year?

A: I'll tell you this, I know we've won four out of the last five, and guys played hard. I'm proud of them. It's pretty neat when you can say you won your last game and all. That's important. I just wish we were in the playoffs.

Q: Is there a bittersweetness to this whole thing?

A: We were probably more healthy than we were the year before. We had a number of things happen that seemed like we were improving. We tried to weather it. I sound like a weatherman right now, but I thought our guys played hard.

Pistons Center Ben Wallace

Q: Are you coming back next year?

A: I don't know. Maybe.

Q: What have you meant to this franchise?

A: It really doesn’t matter. It is what it is. I don't know. I don't write it. You got to ask the people on the other side what these guys meant to the franchise.

76ers Head Coach Doug Collins

Opening Remarks:

It’s obviously an end tonight to a very, very good regular season for our guys. It’s just a shame, we had put ourselves in a position to finish strong, and when we lost Lou [Williams] and Dre [Andre Iguodala], it really took a lot out of us. We just don’t have enough to overcompensate for the loss of what those guys bring us.

Got off to a horribly slow start tonight. I went to my bench. They helped get us back in the game. Once again, the third quarter, I think we were up 58-52, and they spurted back-to-back dunks by Tayshaun Prince. I had to try to take some timeouts just to try to keep us in the game, keep us close. That’s why I had to keep that one in my pocket late in the game. As it was, we still had a three to tie it from Kap [Jason Kapono], who is one of our best shooters.

I think really right now, just looking in our guys’ eyes, I feel that we were mentally and physically tired. I just think we’re a team that didn’t have any off nights in terms of effort. I think we got shorthanded, and we’re tired right now. I told our guys we have got to do everything in our power over the next [game], from now until we get out on the floor at 3:30 against Miami, to give ourselves a chance. Be rested and ready and do everything we can to make a fine showing of ourselves.

We took 23 threes tonight, to me, which was a sign of fatigue. We don’t shoot that many threes. I thought Noce [Andres Nocioni] was terrific tonight. I thought he was the only starter that had anything to start the game. I thought Evan [Turner] played very well. Thad [Young] gave us some good minutes. I thought he was a little tired tonight when Prince gets those two dunks. Usually, you just don’t see that with Thad. The encouraging thing was, Noce played well, Evan played well. Get Dre back, get Lou back, get our edge back, and we’ll see what happens in Miami. I am not going to let the end of this season where we had those injuries put any damper on what we did this year. Plus-14 on the year. Had we won tonight at home, we would have had as many home wins as we had total wins all of last year.

Q: Evan began the season with a good game and he ended with a good game. Can you assess where he’s been in between?

A: He’s been up and down, which I think you’d expect from a young player. As I said to you guys yesterday, all young players are continually learning lessons, and it is my job to continue to teach those. I think Evan made great progress in a lot of things. Continued focus is going to be a big part of his improvement. Rebounding the ball. Tonight he had six defensive rebounds, which is very encouraging. He had seven assists. I think, once again, it was very much like the Boston game. You saw he was very comfortable with the ball in his hands.

I sat Jrue [Holiday] down a lot. I thought he was tired tonight. We played Evan as our point guard, and I thought he did a good job with that. Talking better. There was a particular play in front of our bench where he was guarding Rip [Richard] Hamilton and Noce was guarding, I think Tayshaun Prince. It would have been an easy switch had they talked and Evan didn’t call it out, and Rip popped out and hit a jump shot. I said, “That’s the little communication that we talked about that we have to be able to do. I think Evan learned also a valuable lesson to always be ready. You never know when your time is coming. I told him the story about Wally Pipp the other day, and Lou Gehrig. He already knew that, which I was very happy that he did. I’m constantly trying to teach, and I think that’s my job. We’ve got a very young group of guys that have made great strides this season, and I’m not going to let in any way this little bump in the road here at the end take anything away from that.

Sixers Forward Elton Brand

Q: Now that it’s Miami and the playoffs are here, talk about the excitement for this team in postseason and the next step.

A: It’s an exciting time now. I think it has to do with our lull, but we’re looking ahead to the playoffs. So now it’s finally here, we know our opponent. We know what time we’re playing. The next 48 hours, we have got to vastly improve and be ready for this game.

Q: Considering the opponent and the way you ended the season, what makes you feel good right about now?

A: It's been an up-and-down season for us. We can have a big up on Saturday. We can play well and do what we have to do. We’ll be feeling good and really fast. That’s what it is about right now, just worrying about ourselves.

Sixers Forward Thaddeus Young

Q: Tough way to end the season the last two games. Do you guys kind of bring it back together for facing a team like the Miami Heat?

A: We just have got to go in there mentally ready. Tough, mentally focused, mentally ready. Every aspect of the game. Be ready to go out there and play physical. Give those guys a run for their money. Tonight was a tough loss. You know we wanted to go into the playoffs with a little momentum, but hey, things happen like that. We just have got to go out there and look forward to the next game.

Q: On the postseason…

A: We’re playing a tough team, and those are long flights back and forth, so it’s a matter of just staying healthy and rested. Teamwise, with two guys hurt right now, and hopefully they will be ready to go by the playoffs so they’ll be back with us. So we have got to just keep playing strong.