Postgame Quotes - January 9, 2019

On transition offense from the Lakers and the frustration that caused:
“Frustration is not the word but disappointed. We didn’t get back more and give ourselves a chance in the half court. Easy buckets, and again the guys in the corner, we have to get back. This isn’t a one-night thing, this is an every night thing. That was a big issue for us. Again, they had so many points in the paint and blow-bys were concerning. The positive was, I thought, our zone [defense]. Something we are going to have to look at if we can’t guard one-on-one, we are going to have to look at a zone. The full court pressure, I thought we were good at that. They had like three half-seconds-on-the-shot-clock shots go in. That was a positive and something we can work on and try to implement.”

On Kyle Kuzma’s career-high performance:
“He had a big night. The young man had his career night. I thought in certain situations we defended him right and other situations we did not. That’s something we have to get better at one-on-one. [When a] team shoots 55 percent, you are not going to win too many games when you let them shoot that way. We shot 44 percent and we had like 87 attempts, which is plenty of attempts. This is one of the few games we got out-rebounded, [47-34], that was concerning. Again, all the things we can control, we have to do a better job of it. Like you said, some of the shots [Kuzma] was making, you are not going to control that.”

On the player rotation of the Pistons’ lineups:
“We are still two men down, two key players down. It’s not an excuse. Again, guys go in and it’s an opportunity. I was really proud of Langston [Galloway]. He came in and bounced back. I thought he did an excellent job of coming off the bench and giving us a load. Luke [Kennard] did a really good job of running the pick-and-roll in those situations. Again, until we get everybody back fully healthy, it’s hard to really grade the rotation and grade the second unit. They were out there fighting again and a lot of those guys in the second unit started to play off teammates. That’s great experience for them and we have to learn from our mistakes and continue to work at them.”
On the team’s defensive struggles:
“I just thought energy was bad tonight. We didn’t really get to do anything we wanted to. All the things [the Lakers] are good at, we didn’t take those away. I think it was our energy.”

On the frustration level following tonight’s loss:
"Always high after a loss. You never want to come in and have a performance like that, especially when you need wins. I think 1-through-12, however many we had out there tonight, the energy just wasn’t there. We have to figure that out. I thought we just did a poor job managing this trip so far.”

On his own energy returning to STAPLES Center:
“I’ve played here as a visitor against the Lakers several times, so I didn’t feel much different being in this locker room.”

On how challenging it is to face a team always looking to push the ball:
“You have to get back. You have to get back in transition. [The Lakers] are one of the top teams in our league in transition points. We just have to continue to grow from this and understand that no matter what’s going on in the game, you have to get back and try to be at our best when we’re on the defensive end. Half-court, they were struggling, but in transition, they were killing us.”
On providing instant offense tonight despite not playing many minutes recently:
“I’m just being ready for my opportunity. It’s just a blessing to be out there. I’m just helping the team wherever I can. I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
On his appreciation for Kyle Kuzma’s career-high scoring performance:
“He’s really confident, he believes in himself, and he knows, no matter what’s going on in the game, he believes the next shot’s going in. He has great confidence and the best of luck to him.”

On his initial thoughts about tonight’s game:
“I thought that was a really good win for us as far as playing through the runs. I thought our team showed a lot of growth since LeBron James and Rajon Rondo injuries. There were times in the game tonight where in previous games we would have allowed points and started taking quick shots, and I thought our guys did a really nice job staying composed, continuing to share the ball, continuing to make plays and ultimately winning by competing on the defensive end. I thought Lonzo [Ball] and Brandon [Ingram] were great again as far as what I talked about, them being aggressive and playing with that competitive spirit and just making the right plays. It has nothing to do with how many points they score, just how they play the game. I thought both of them did a really job of that again tonight. I thought as a team we did a job on Blake [Griffin] who is a heck of a player - as far as making it tough on him - and that mainly was Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] with the initial line.”

On Kyle Kuzma’s gameplay and if he considered putting him back in the game in the fourth quarter: “It speaks about how much confidence he has and how much he believes in himself. What a lot of people don’t know is that even though yesterday was an off day he was in the gym and he got off 500 shots and he was working on his stroke and he was working on his form. From what he’s noticed in the breakdown of his jumper, we’re trying to get him better. It’s not like he just came out and had a hot night. He put in that work and then had a
really nice night ... To answer your question, no I did not think about putting him back in. If the game got closer he would have come back in. But coming off of a sore back - we always talk about the team being the most important thing - and his health is a big part of us having success, so not even a tough decision.”

On Kyle Kuzma’s ability to be a successful defender:
“He has it in him for sure. He’s not there yet, but he wants that challenge of being a defender … We’ve talked to him about that and we showed him the film and he asks questions. He’s asked veterans on our team. He’s talked to other guys around the league, as far as asking for advice on how to get better. He’s talked to Draymond [Green] and guys like that. He studies film and he works and he works. Since the end of last season, we have given him bigger and bigger assignments. We gave him [Joe] Ingles against Utah and he has done a nice job and tonight I thought he did a really nice job again. He’s definitely made huge strides and we think he’ll
continue to make those type of strides.”

On bouncing back from a back injury and notching a career-high 41 points:
“My teammates allowed me to get a lot of shots, finding me. For the most part, I think everything was in the rhythm of the offense, which was a good thing for everybody.”
On importance of being aggressive when early shots aren’t falling: 
“[It’s] super important. A lot of scorers you know, they always say just seeing the ball go in a couple times – easy ones getting to the rim – is definitely going to open a lot of things. For me, I’m just always confident shooting those shots.”

On his defensive challenge in tonight’s game:
“It’s always tough to guard Blake Griffin, especially for me. He’s a lot stronger than me. I credit a lot of my teammates for helping me out a lot defensively. You know, we followed our game plan, held him to 16 and that’s way less than his average. Kudos to everybody for following the game plan.”

On team’s play and sustaining energy throughout all four quarters:
“We just all played together. We got a good win in Dallas that we wanted to piggyback on today and that’s what we did. We came together and got a good victory tonight.”

On Kyle Kuzma’s early effectiveness in tonight’s game:
“Kuz, his confidence is never going to waver no matter how he shoots. We know he’s one of the best scorers on this team and we look to him for points. Tonight, he gave us 41 in three quarters. He was feeling it early. We got the ball to him and he was producing.” 

On how his conversation with Brandon Ingram has enhanced their roles:
“Just playing with a lot more energy. We’re playing like we’re leaders on this team right now. We’re trying to lead the charge and get the win. That talk helped us a lot.”


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