Postgame Quotes - March 31, 2017

Head Coach Stan Van Gundy

(On the fight shown from his team…)

“I told them afterwards, had we played like that over the last three weeks, we’d probably be pretty comfortable right now, based on who we played and everything. I thought we fought. We played hard and we played well. We ran out of gas a little bit at the end. They came back with their guys, and the last four minutes and then overtime we were struggling to get shots. Their defensive intensity picked up a little bit and we were a little tired. I maybe should have had some fresher guys in and we struggled to get shots. To play this team on the road, fourth game in five nights, seventh game in 11 nights, and the last three games have all gone to the wire. Our guys are playing big minutes and fighting hard. It’s killing me, the losing, but the one thing you come away with, at least as a coach, is you regain some faith in the character of the people in the locker room. I don’t think we could have played any harder. Thon Maker was the difference in the game.”


(On the Bucks’ second chance points …)

“Well, the last one that puts them up three and basically wins it was a long rebound and we ran out. We didn’t come back to the board, we ran out and the ball bounces right to him. Wide open shot. It’s a killer. We talk about that all the time with the long rebounds, you can’t run out you have to be coming back. All those mistakes get magnified in close games at crucial parts of the season. I tried to focus on the positives in the locker room, I thought our guys fought very hard.”


(On the play of the point guards…)

“Beno [Udrih] was tremendous. Ish [Smith] was good, but I think he got tired at the end too, and maybe I should have given him a blow to start the overtime. The whole second unit was good. I do think getting Tobias [Harris] back on the bench has helped the second unit get going again. But, obviously the start of the game was bad.”


Forward Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

(On his recent arrest…)

“I talked to Tom [Gores] and coaches, my agent. They handled it. It has no impact on the team so we’re just trying to move forward from it. I’m not trying to stress about that, just think about basketball.”


(On whether the Pistons got tired down the stretch…)

“I don’t think so. We couldn’t get stops. We were taking bad shots. They turned up their defense and they were attacking the basket. They were shooting free throws the whole end of regulation.”


(On the Pistons’ play the past two games…)

“At this point, we’ve played our best basketball on both ends, defensive-wise and energy-wise, the past week. We wish we weren’t in this spot we’re in now, man. If we had just fought like we did the last week a couple weeks ago we wouldn’t be worried about this.”


Forward Tobias Harris

(On the game…)

“We got off to a slow start, gained some momentum with some easy baskets, ball movement. We were able to get some stops. We just kept fighting through and making our way back. It just came down to a couple possessions there that we needed, especially at the end. Some loose basketballs that we needed to get, offensive rebounds on their end that they got and converted on. That hurt us.”


(On the Pistons’ defensive effort…)

“I thought we gave a good effort tonight defensively after the first quarter. We were able to give it to them, get some stops, get out in transition and run, but close games like that come down to one or two possessions you really need.”


(On the offensive movement late…)

“It stuck. We just really didn’t get the movement we were getting before. It comes down for us, especially in a tight game like this, to really trusting each other, just trusting the ball movement. If we get a good shot we can live with that. It’s human interest sometimes, we want to take it all ourselves to make the best play. It’s just something we have to learn from.”

Head Coach Jason Kidd

(On the team’s resilience being down eight in the fourth quarter…)

“I think it just shows where the team is at mentally and physically. Being down and maybe not playing our best there, [we] still believed we could find a way to win. When you can rely on your defense to put you in position offensively [that helps], and guys that were on the floor did everything possible defensively. We got the rebounds and were aggressive. Thon [Maker] made some big shots, Giannis [Antetokounmpo] was incredible tonight, and [so was] Khris [Middleton]. We put ourselves in position to win the game in regulation, and we got a great look. The growth of the team [allowed us] to get the last shot, and earlier in the year we would have shot it a little earlier and gave our opponent the opportunity to win the game.”


(On Thon Maker’s performance…)

“When you talk about Maker’s play, he picked up Moose [Greg Monroe] and [Spencer] Hawes tonight. He picked up his teammates and took advantage of his minutes. I thought he did a great job in the pick-and-roll, and tried to change shots. Offensively, he came up with the tip out to Khris [Middleton] and Khris made the shot, and that couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Maker. It was the play before that gave us another opportunity when he didn’t knock the ball off of one of the Detroit players, so he did a lot of the little things. He shot the ball when he was open, and he made plays on the defensive end.”


(On Detroit coming back after the Bucks 22-4 start in the first quarter…)

“It’s a great lesson learned for us, [showing] that the game isn’t over because you start well. We’ve been in that situation before where we were down, and you work your way back and grind it out. I thought we had some great looks at threes, but I thought we started to settle for threes and that’s not our strength. Our strength is getting the ball into the paint, and getting layups or kicking out. I thought we were just swinging around and settling for threes. You can fall into a trap like that against some teams and find yourself on the losing end, but I thought with the character of the group and everybody who was in there tonight fought and found a way to win.”


Forward Thon Maker

(On his performance tonight…)

“[I was just] staying ready and staying focused on the game. [I was] playing with what the defense gave me. Giannis [Antetokounmpo] saw early that Andre [Drummond] was going to be back. So, the second time he drove in and pitched it back. The other times, [I was just] in the right spots at the right time, driving down the lane and being ready for the dump off.”


(On the impact of the crowd tonight…)

“I think they’re ready [for the playoffs]. People used to tell me about how crazy they get when it comes to playoff time. I think they are ready already.”


(On the impact of Kevin Garnett helping him in practice…)    

“[He’s helped me with] a lot of things. First off, just clearing my mind. Pregame he just said to take a deep breath, take your time, close your eyes and just clear your mind. He talked about staying low and holding my shot consistent, [especially] as fatigue kicks in. Other than that, he has just been preaching to me about having the right attitude in terms of approaching each game. [He also said that] at this point in time, in the playoffs, it’s about who knows more.”


Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

(On Thon Maker…)

“The way he plays, the way he practices, the way he learns, the way he gets better is unbelievable. He’s matured from the beginning of the year. It’s unreal. He’s going to keep getting better and he’s going to keep helping this team to do great things.”


(On Thon Maker’s matchup with Andre Drummond…)

“We knew in the game plan that [Andre] Drummond would be back. So, whenever he set a screen, he can just pop and take his time to shoot. He gave him space out to the corner because Drummond is a shot-blocker, he’s going to be in the paint. If Drummond goes out, we are going to get lanes. If he doesn’t, Thon [Maker] is wide open with no hesitation to shoot it.”


(On his praise for Thon Maker…)

“I see a guy that is like me. He’s trying to get better, the drive to get better and [his sense] of positivity [is showing]. He’s got down moments, but everyone has down moments. You are going to see him the next day trying to get better, so that’s a thing I do [too]. For a guy like Thon [Maker], his body, you can’t teach that. His length and how tall he is, you can’t teach that. I just love it when I see it. He’s going to be really good in this league.”