Postgame Quotes - Pistons vs. Warriors, March 24, 2019

PISTONS HEAD COACH DWANE CASEY

ON THE FRUSTRATION WITH THE WARRIORS KNOCKING DOWN KEY SHOTS: “I think every team in the league goes through that. It tells you the type of defense you have to play on every possession because with this group the basket is always open. They’ve proven that; it’s nothing surprising, it shouldn’t be surprising, but again I thought our execution for three quarters was pretty good. The second quarter is what bit us in the behind, I thought our intensity level and our sense of urgency was there in the third and fourth quarter to get back into the game and that is something we have to build on. My thing is at this time of year, is we have to play desperate and we did the last quarter, I didn’t think we did in the second quarter and that is when they kind of got their rhythm and got their confidence going. And when you give a team like this a rhythm and flow type feeling you know it is hard to turn it off. I thought in the third and fourth quarter of tonight especially our second unit came in and competed. And again we have to be that way if we are serious about making the playoffs.”

ON THE TEAM’S THIRD AND FOURTH QUARTER IMPROVEMENT: “We got to. We got to carry it over to the next game. We gotta take that feeling, take that intensity and again put thought with it, put our basketball IQ with it and take that to Denver, not only for Denver but for the next eight or nine games, whatever it is and leave it on the table. Because what we don’t want to do is go back in and say what if, what if I had done this, what if I had done that, what if I hadn’t taken that possession off going into the summer. Again, what we are building is the beginning of building our program the way we want it to be, to be on this level to play with this type of team each and every night.”

ON THEIR THREE-POINT DEFENSE AS OF LATE: “It’s troubling, very troubling. That is one area against this team it is an outlier, I would say this is a different animal. But, again like we said before the game that is an area of concentration that we have to worry about. I think we have to take this team out but everybody else we have to make sure we attention to detail of how we want to cover the pick-and-roll and not give up the three-point shot or at least be there within six-feet of them to make sure we have a good challenge.”

PISTONS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

ON BALANCING CRASHING THE GLASS AND STAYING BACK: “I think it kind of depends on the team. With a guy like Andre (Drummond), I think you see a lot of teams dedicating a lot of attention to him on the defensive glass, but rebounding is always a thing for us. Teams that shoot a lot of threes, obviously coming back in and protecting that mid-range area, cleaning it up. You can’t give it up to teams, especially teams as good as them, second-chance opportunities, second-chance points off of missed shots.”

ON NOT SHOOTING WELL FROM THREE AS A TEAM LATELY: “That’s been a point of emphasis for us since the beginning of the season, three-point line, transition and defending the paint. I don’t know what it is. I think we’ve been a little bit too pulled in. Early on, our biggest emphasis is handle pick and roll two-on-two like everyone else, and I think we’ve gotten away from that, everybody. Also, a lack of practice, a lack of getting to work on some of these things I think has hurt a little bit. But down the stretch we look for us to be a lot better at that.”

PISTONS CENTER ZAZA PACHULIA

ON COMING BACK TO ORACLE ARENA AND GETTING HIS RING: “Very emotional. It kind of feels like it was a long day when it was not, it was an early game obviously. Loved everything besides like you said that we lost. I’m very thankful for everything that this team, this organization, this city has done for me and for my family. Truly blessed and very thankful for each individual that I had worked with and I had played with and that has coached me and the fans that supported me. Those guys are special for my career. I only spent two years here, but two special years. It’s something that’s going to carry over this year and the rest of my life, career and just life. My family was here, my kids experience that. I’m very thankful for the love and support those fans showed me.”

ON WHAT LESSONS THE TEAM CAN LEARN FROM THE PAST FEW GAMES: “You know two different kind of losses we had last night and tonight. Last night, the last two minutes of the game were brutal. I don’t think we executed as well as we were supposed to. To close out the game you have to have the appropriate mentality, no turnovers and pay attention to every single detail, especially when it’s a close game like that. Today, obviously, playing against this kind of team, understanding you can’t let them have a 20 point lead. It’s hard to come back, especially on the road. Even in the fourth quarter, we tried to, we made a run, but having those guys, that kind of talent over there, it doesn’t happen that often or that easily. Understanding it’s 48 minutes every game. We have to be ready to play against the top teams because in the playoffs there’s no easy game, there’s no easy round. We have to learn from it, take advantage of these type of games to prepare ourselves for the playoffs. It’s not given that we’re going to make it, so we have to value our next nine games, or whatever we have left.”

ON TRYING TO DEFEND THE WARRIORS’ OFFENSIVE WEAPONS: “Right, it can get frustrating. Especially today’s talent, looking all over the league, every teams has shot makers, players. You can play as good of defense as you want, but those guys are too talented and have been working on the game, especially shots. A lot of guys can shoot from beyond the three-point line, so it can get frustrating. You have to keep pounding, pounding and keep playing, executing defensively and offensively. Most likely you’re going to put yourself in a situation to win a game. Then it’s all about closing the game right away like we didn’t do late yesterday. But again, it’s a learning experience and hopefully we can learn from last night and get better. We have another tough game coming up in Denver, one of the best teams we have in the league. We have to come out there and hopefully finish this trip with a win.”

PISTONS GUARD ISH SMITH

ON WHETHER THE SECOND QUARTER WAS THE ACHILLES HEEL FOR THIS GAME: “Yeah. They went on a run and got separation. Then they went on another little run at the end of the third and kind of got some separation. We could have kept that at 13 or 12 or where it was at, then when we made a run in the fourth, then it would have been a tie ball game or within striking distance. The second and the third when you look back you can say it was the difference maker.”

ON HOW THEY NEED TO IMPROVE: “You just have to keep playing with pace. You just have to keep flowing, keep playing, and keep moving the ball to get the ball in the spots where you need to get the ball to. We are all right, we are playing good basketball. We just played the two best teams in the west. We can look back and kick ourselves because we could have won those games. We just kept fighting and battling. We knew they were going to come out hard because of last night’s loss. I thought we competed but you don’t get moral victories, you have to come out with wins.”

ON WHAT THEY CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR LAST TWO GAMES: “To just keep pushing. You know me, I don’t get to high or too low. I just have to keep pushing, keep pressing. You have to remember that this was the same team that was 10 games under .500, so for us to be in this position, I’m sure a lot of people think that we shouldn’t be here. I don‘t get to high or too low, we just have to keep pushing and pressing and we will get to exactly where we need to.”

ON IF THE TEAM HAS TO BRACE FOR WHEN THE WARRIORS GO ON SCORING RUNS: “Yes. You are exactly right. You just have to keep playing and playing with pace. When they score you have and the crowd is going crazy that is actually the time when you go right back at them to get some easy ones. You just have to keep pushing, pressing, and not get to high or too low and when you do that you put yourself in a position to win at the end of the game.”

WARRIORS HEAD COACH STEVE KERR

ON THE DEFENSIVE ENERGY THEY HAD TO START THE GAME: “Nothing surprising. This group has showed a lot of resilience to do what they have done the last few years. Anytime that we’ve had a bad loss we generally bounce back pretty quickly. I was impressed with the effort defensively, with the energy and a lot of guys came off the bench and did a really nice job. It was a good win. A good, solid win.”

ON HOW STEPHEN CURRY LOOKED TO START THE GAME: “He looked fresh right from the outset. Obviously the rest is not just for one night, but for the long haul. I think it was the right the thing to do. He looked great out there tonight.”

ON KEVIN DURANT’S 11 ASSISTS TONIGHT: “Kevin is such a great, talented player that he can just do whatever he wants on the floor. He decided to be a distributor tonight with obviously 11 assists. I thought his defense was great. He’s just one of those guys who is so talented he can kind of – whatever he chooses do that night, that’s what he does.”

ON DRAYMOND GREEN’S DEFENSE TONIGHT AGAINST THE PISTONS FRONTCOURT: “I thought Draymond’s energy and defensive effort sparked us all night. He takes the challenge when he faces Blake (Griffin). They have been going head-to-head for many years and it’s a hell of a challenge, Blake is tough as anybody to guard and Draymond was fantastic.”

ON IF HE DISPUTES THE NOTION THAT THE TEAM IS ‘NOT CARING’ AS MUCH: “Here’s what I think: I drove home last night and as disappointed and surprised as I was I realized that over five years what’s more surprising than that game last night is not having any of those games for three years. The first three years of this run, I don’t think we had a single game like that. You think about what these guys are doing night after night after night, taking everybody’s best shot, playing deep into June – it’s actually surprising that we haven’t had more of those nights over those years. What you have seen the last couple of years, the last two seasons, is that we have had some letdowns and some nights like that. It’s hard for anybody to understand what these guys go through physically, emotionally and spiritually just trying to defend the crown, trying to win the title and stay on top of the mountain. It’s hard and last night they had nothing. They had nothing in the tank. The great thing about this team, as I mentioned, is they always bounce back because they have so much pride. What they have accomplished – this team has the best record over the last four seasons as any four-year run in the history of the NBA. What they have done is just remarkable. Last night was tough, but it’s really tough to do what they have done too. We are going to give them a pass and we are going to move on. We played a good game tonight and we roll on. I prefer to look back at how few games there have been like last night over the last five years rather than the opposite.”

WARRIORS GUARD STEPHEN CURRY

ON TAKING LAST NIGHT OFF: “Honestly, nobody really likes taking days off. You’re a competitor and there’s a game to be played, but you keep the big picture in mind; obviously, it was a decision that was kind of thrown at me from the powers at be. There’s a difference, just having a little bit fresher legs and trying to get energy back, and knowing we have ten games left until the playoffs, or nine now, it’s important. I doubt it will happen again but definitely got to take advantage of it.”

ON HOW HE IS FEELING PHYSICALLY THIS YEAR: “I feel great. To be honest, before they brought the idea about (sitting out) it wasn’t on my radar at all. I was feeling good. Obviously, I pride myself on being durable and being available, obviously with the injury early in the year, missing 11 games it was tough to sit out. I know I hadn’t been shooting the ball extremely well but to me it wasn’t really a fatigue thing it was just kind of how the game was going and again, it’s a lot about rhythm now at this point. Getting close to the playoffs and want us to be fresh and want us to have a great vibe and good chemistry, so you balance all of that.”

ON HIS EVOLUTION FROM WHEN HE STARTED WITH THE WARRIORS TO TODAY: “It’s kind of surreal to be honest. When you talk about the history of the organization, and how hard it is to win NBA games, win championships and string together year after year after year. It takes a collection of talented guys, commitment to trying to put together the best team possible every year, and that’s front office, coaching staff all the way down. I think I haven’t shown a true appreciation for what we’ve been able to do, but want to continue this for as long as we can.”

ON THE TEAM’S FOCUS GETTING THE FIRST SEED IN THE PLAYOFFS: “I think it goes hand in hand with how we want to finish the season. If we take care of our business then more times than not, this last stretch of games that should take care of itself. And then, in doing that you can judge how we’ve been playing defensively, find that offensive rhythm, and balance and all the talent we have out there on the floor, and building momentum. Unlike last year, where we were kind of depleted because of injuries, and Houston was kind of running away with that one seed, it was kind of a built-in goal to how we want to finish the year. Definitely important, because you want to finish on a high note.”

WARRIOR FORWARD KEVIN DURANT

ON HOW MUCH OF TONIGHT’S SUCCESS HAD TO DO WITH STEPHEN CURRY’S RETURN: “Pretty much everything has to do with Steph being on the floor. He brings so much for us, pick-and- roll, with his movement and three-point shooting, just his presence out there opens up a lot of us, so it was good to have him back.”

ON ONLY ATTEMPTING SIX SHOTS TONIGHT: “I mean, I’m a well-rounded player and I can still affect the game without taking a bunch of shots. I thought I passed the ball well, played a great floor game, and I know you’re used to putting me in a box as a player but I’ve grown.”

ON HOW HE DECIDES IF HE WILL BE MORE OF A FACILITAOR OR SCORER EACH NIGHT: “Look, we got a lot of scoring out there on the offensive side of the ball. How many assists did we have? 31. So, that’s the formula for us and when I get the ball in the post we usually have a lot of movement on the side or everybody setting the pick-and-roll, and then I see somebody open and I got to pass them the ball. I didn’t want to force shots tonight and some of the shots I would have took tonight would have been forced, and last game I forced a bunch, so trying to help us get back in the game. Just tried to play a different game tonight.”

ON WHY THE FOCUS WAS BETTER TONIGHT: “We got beat by 40, that was the reason why. It don’t matter what the game was, no matter what time of the year it was, you get beat by 40 you don’t want to get embarrassed like that again or just lose the next night, so I think we came out with a nice sense of urgency. We let go of that game but everybody in that locker room from the coaches on down are competitors, so in the back of their mind they just wanted to avenge that terrible loss. I like our energy from the start.”

ON IF YOU KNOW EARLY ON IF THE TEAM HAS IT OR NOT EACH NIGHT: “Look, you just got to tip your hat to the other teams. We aren’t just going to come out and kill them from the gate. Teams are prepared and get ready for us now. Just look at the progression of the game. We started off up one in the first, then we kind of controlled the game the next two quarters and I think that’s kind of been the trend for us. It looks different the last two years because we’ve been dominating out there most games, but it’s a different level of basketball, different brand. Teams are starting to understand what we do a little bit more, so it might be a little tougher in some games.”

WARRIORS FORWARD DRAYMOND GREEN

ON THE HUSTLE PLAYS TONIGHT: “It was great. We were all on a string together, diving for loose balls, getting 50-50 balls and we needed an effort like that after the letdown yesterday.”

ON HOW THE TEAM FUNCTIONS WITH DURANT IN THE ROLE OF FACILITATOR: “We function better when he’s just playing basketball and being aggressive. I think he was very good distributing the basketball, 11 assists and two turnovers. Can’t complain about that, but when it boils down to it we are going to need Kevin Durant taking more than six shots. Nobody is complaining about it that he only took six shots tonight, it’s not the end of the world, but when it’s money time we’re not going to have Kevin Durant taking six shots so it is what it is, but I thought he played a good game tonight.”

ON WHAT HE ENJOYS ABOUT GOING UP AGAINST BLAKE GRIFFIN: “I enjoy playing against great players and taking on a challenge. Blake is a great player, he’s gotten a lot better since the last time I faced him, so it’s always a challenge and I just try to be physical. Very strong, likes to go to bully ball from time to time, just staying my ground and trying to make him take tough shots.”

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