Postgame Quotes - April 22, 2019

DETROIT PISTONS HEAD COACH DWANE CASEY: (On what the team took from the series): “First of all, congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks. They did a great job of setting the tone of how the series was going to be played. I think our guys took away how hard you have to play to compete at this level. Just like tonight, (Milwaukee) got to the line 41 times, and (Giannis) Antetokounmpo had 20 attempts, he had eight more than our entire team. That means that he was taking it in there with force, and I guess we were fouling - that is a big discrepancy for me. Again, we learn from that and we take from it; how hard you have to play and the intensity you have to play with for 48 minutes. I think that is something that will help us next year going into the season, to start through training camp, and to have this understanding of the physicality you have to play with.” 


(On what the team has got from Blake Griffin in terms of effort this year): “Blake (Griffin) played his heart out with basically one leg and he gave everything he could for our team. He fought through a lot of pain and swelling, just so he could support his teammates. I think we were in sixth place when he started experiencing the swelling and everything, but he kept with it and kept playing until he couldn't play anymore. He gave everything he could to our team, and without him we wouldn't have had a chance to make the playoffs. So he has meant so much to our team, just his presence, his physicality and style of play. He did a great job of transforming his game to a perimeter game, plus a post-up game to get ready for the new NBA. We owe him a lot as far as what he gave us and the leadership he gave to the young players. He just gave a passionate speech in the locker room about how proud he was to play with those guys, and the future that he sees with the young players coming through.”


(On the number one thing he is going to take away from his first year as head coach for the Pistons): “I have a better understanding of what each player can do and can't do. Also, this is going to be a huge summer for our development coaches and ourselves, to develop the weaknesses of some of our players, because we like to grow from within. We have a lot of talent with our young guys, but they have some areas they can get much better in - I learned that. I learned the competitive spirit of certain players on our team. Again, I really appreciate the way they fought through a lot. Losing Blake (Griffin) for those games, we lost Ish (Smith) for quite a few games, we lost some tough games throughout the year - so I learned what guys can and can not do in those situations in close games.”


DETROIT PISTONS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN: (On what his speech to his team included): “My message to them is that we have a locker room full of guys this year that are genuinely happy for each others’ success and they have shown that over and over. The thing that sticks out to me because it was recent, was that I had to pass a couple of benchmarks to convince our training staff that I could come back and play, to participate in a full contact and do everything I needed to. They asked Jon Leur to come in early on Thursday. Thursday was like a film day and some guys got some work in. They asked him to come in early, he and Isiah Whitehead did and we played 2 on 2 for about 30 minutes and then they stayed and got shots up after that and then they went to film. The next two games Jon was inactive, this is a guy that has had eight years in the league and been on some teams. He’s a good player and he did that and didn’t bat an eye, just did it and didn’t have an attitude. Somebody asked him to do that and I’m sure it felt like that was right thing to do so I appreciate teammates who are willing to come in early on a day they don’t have to and willing to do that for me.”


(On how he feels about this being one of his best seasons): “As a player there are always things you want to build up. This year I think I showed some different parts of my game but there is still a lot of growth that I can do, especially getting a year under my belt under Coach Casey and his staff and understanding our system a little better. Knowing our offense and where things come from and even knowing my teammates even better. Now is not really a time that I sit back and reflect and feel positive, it’ll be a long offseason again like last offseason, which is a good thing for me. I’ll be able to get in the gym and work and come back and be ready.”


DETROIT PISTONS CENTER ANDRE DRUMMOND: (On what happened halfway through the game): “That’s an experienced team on the other end over there, like I said last time when we make mistakes, they capitalize on it. Overall they're just a really good team, tough to beat. We just have to get our experience up and we’ll be fine.”


(On what the team learned from the series): “I think we learned a lot from the series – how hard we need to play and how important every possession is on each end of the court, offensively and defensively. It’s a learning experience for us and we have a lot of work to do this summer. Guys will take care of themselves, work on their games and we’ll all come back ready for next season.”


DETROIT PISTONS GUARD REGGIE JACKSON: (On his biggest takeaway from this series): “My biggest takeaway are the guys that I’m proud of, the way we came out and competed. The score doesn’t show it, I don’t think it's a true testament to how hard we competed but hats off to them, they did that all series. They find spurts, and they keep coming at you and like I said I’m just proud of each and every guy in here, the way we came out and competed and left it all on the floor – that was the biggest thing I said.”


(On what he learned on this playoff run): “It was very difficult to get to the playoffs – only 16 teams make it out of the 30, so 14 unfortunately don’t. It’s really tough, you have to be locked in the whole year and each and every game. It’s a few things, we were short but I’m just proud of the way we came out and competed, how we fought through the year. The ups and downs through injuries, through the negativity, through the highs, through the lows. So I’m just proud the way we came out each and every day. We got to know each other and I think it was pretty good, front office changes, coaching changes, Blake (Griffin) expanding his game, coming back from injury. I know myself, losing Ish (Ish Smith), countless, you could go down the roster I think we dealt with a lot, but I like the way we dealt with adversity.”


MILWAUKEE BUCKS HEAD COACH MIKE BUDENHOLZER: (On the Pistons tonight): “I have the ultimate respect for him and their players. I have the ultimate respect for Dwane (Casey) and his group. For us, I think, the way we kind of kept our focus, our defense in the second half, we responded. They threw a heck of a half at us. They were phenomenal, they came out as we expected they would. Reggie Jackson, (had) I think 20 in the first half. I think we responded in the second half, especially defensively. Our defense usually fuels our offense. We got out in transition and played in some situations we liked and we were able to get the win.”


(On Giannis Antetokounmpo getting fouled a lot and the way he persevered): “Yeah, we get stops and we can get out, run and play in transition. Those two things, are what I think, give us our best chance. It starts with us being better defensively and letting everybody run and playing with them and he has opportunities to share with his teammates and get to the rim. He takes a pounding, but I think he’s built for it. I think he was great at the free-throw line, in the second half. We struggled as a team the first half, but he kept getting to the free-throw line. Yeah, Giannis was special tonight.


MILWAUKEE BUCKS GUARD ERIC BLEDSOE: (On the emotion in the building and tonight’s game): “We knew that we were going to get their best shot. They were trying not to get swept and they were at home, so we knew that they were going to get their best shot. We’ve been doing a great job all season of keeping our composure, not worrying about what’s going on, as far as the environment, and just focusing on us...We’ve been playing through it, and we did a great job of capitalizing in the third quarter.”


(On his perspective of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s layup against Andre Drummond): “Giannis has been great all season in finessing at the rim. It was just unbelievable, it was unbelievable.”


MILWAUKEE BUCKS FORWARD GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO:(On what it means to win the first playoff series): “This means a lot, just to win our first playoff series with this group right here. I think we played good basketball. We stuck together the whole series. Even though we faced adversity and they were up, it wasn’t easy. I think we were able to just keep fighting and keep pushing as a group. Feels good to win our first playoff series together.”


(On his mental process as he tries to fight through the physical toll the game takes): “First of all, I’ll start with my teammates. Eric (Bledsoe), every game this season, he told me to set the tone, to keep playing, and to be aggressive. Just try to play through contact, play through the refs and the fouls that weren’t in our favor and that’s what I’ve been doing the whole season and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”



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