Quotes: Spurs vs. Clippers Game 1: 5/15/12

Gregg Popovich

Manu Ginobili

Kawhi Leonard

Tim Duncan

Vinny DelNegro

Eric Bledsoe

DeAndre Jordan

Kenyon Martin

Click on a player to read quotes

Gregg Popovich

(Was this a game where Tim Duncan set the tone for the guys?)

“Tim was solid as usual.  He’s played like that all year long.  He’s not going to do anything that’s going to be on a highlight film for TV, but highlight film for coaches possibly.  Just being solid, making a great pass, playing the defense that he did, rebounding; he’s the anchor.”


(Talk about the defensive work you got from Boris Diaw on Blake Griffin…)

“He did a pretty good job.  He got fooled a couple times and Blake had his way.  All-in-all, I thought he did a pretty good job on him against a very good player.”


(Talk about the group defensive effort you had on Chris Paul tonight…)

“Just because we won the game tonight, doesn’t mean we played the good defense.  They were physical; they played tough; they did well.  I think (Tony) Parker and (Danny) Green did a good job on Chris Paul and Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe did a hell of a job on Tony.  So it’s both ways.  Just look at the stats for both those guys.  They’re probably both scratching their heads.”


(Talk about Kawhi Leonard…his game tonight and how he has matured…)

“He seems to have a pretty good knack for the ball.  He makes a steal here and there.  He’ll get an offensive board here and there. He’ll get a block now and then.  Obviously, he’s a rookie…he’s still figuring out what his game is.  He does things that help win basketball games. ”


(You had an 18 point lead late…they made a run and reduced the margin, was that something they were doing right?)

“If you’ve watched them, they always come back.  They don’t fold and that’s a credit to their team.  They just keep on playing and stick within the system.  They’ve come back many, many times as we’ve all seen.  I think that’s who they are and I thought our small lineup didn’t do a very good job for a period there when they came back on us.”


Manu Ginobili

(On Tony Parker’s second half performance)

“He didn’t score, but he got 11 assists. That is who we are. Sometimes it is not going to be him (Parker), sometimes it is not going to be Tim (Duncan). If we move the ball well and we find our open teammates, we are going to make shots. Today we shot 52 percent from the three. We really do not care if he is the one scoring 25 points. The important thing is to move the ball, attack and kick and find the open teammate. We did that very well.”


(On the eight day break effecting the Spurs performance negatively)

“It was hard to start. We were a little sluggish at the beginning, especially at the defensive end. Then we picked up and from the second quarter on we improved. You never know if it is rust, a slow start, or bad game—it just happens. Hopefully we got rid of it and we play an even better second game.”


(On the eight day break providing rest for an even better performance)

“Same answer. It was hard to tell if they (Los Angeles Clippers) were tired or not, or if we were rusty or not. The game developed the way it did. Chris (Paul) didn’t have a good game, but Tony (Parker) was not great either. It was a tough game. Both teams played hard. We kind of matched their aggressiveness. That is what we wanted to do. We cannot force them into playing four smalls. They usually play with great size and they are tough with defensive rebounds. We handled that very well.”


(On Boris Diaw’s rebound performance)

“That was unexpected. They are a great rebounding team and they have great size. They start with (Blake) Griffin and (DeAndre) Jordan and then they bring (Reggie) Evans and Kenyon (Martin). They have size and they are all usually tough on the boards. Boris (Diaw) and Tim (Duncan) were fantastic today. They played great defense. We were all in great positions to get those boards. We make them miss a shot but if they grab it again they have another shot, and that makes everything harder. With us grabbing those boards allows us to push a little bit on the transition and make a couple easy buckets.”


(On Chris Paul’s performance)

“Both Tony (Parker) and Chris (Paul) are great players. They are a couple of the best point guards in the league, but they can have a bad game too. The opponent prepares to make them take tough shots but it doesn’t even depend on you. It happened. Danny Green did a very good job on him with his size, but the whole team was there. Tony (Parker) did a good job too. We tried to stay in front of him most of the time. The bottom line is Memphis did a good job on him too and he just scored. It happens with great offensive players.”


Kawhi Leonard

(On his play tonight and ability to rebound…)

“I just got the ball and went up strong tonight. I saw opportunities where nobody was boxing me out so I just went and got the ball.”


(On enjoying the pressure of the playoffs…)

“I’m just having fun and it is competitive basketball. I love the game. I played hard every possession. I’m just going out there and having fun with it.”


(On how long it took the team to get back into rhythm after the long break…)

“We just stayed focus at practice and went at each other. Other than that we just listened to the game plan. We just fought hard and it worked out well.”


(On how important it is to win the first game of the series…)

It is very important to protect your home court. Going on the road is tough so we just need to get our wins on the home court and just build momentum from there.”


Tim Duncan

(On the Spurs shooting tonight…)

“It started with the ball movement. We know they are going to be physical and we know they are going to pack it into the lane. Tony (Parker) did a great job of getting into the lane and finding shooters and obviously our guys shot the ball well. That is the way we want to play the game and that is the way we want to move the ball. We want to share the ball and we have very good shooters and we want them to shoot wide open shots.”

(On his play tonight…)

“Just like we said before the game we knew it was going to take awhile to knock that rust off and we hoped things would go well early on and it did. I missed some shots early and then I got a couple to go. My teammates moved the ball really well and I got a couple layups.”


(On the Clippers disrupting the pick and roll…)

“They did a great job of focusing on it and I think that was their focus on more than anything else. Although Tony did not have a great night shooting the ball, I thought he did the right thing and he moved the ball when they doubled team. We moved the ball outside of that and made shots.”


(On making a run in the third quarter…)

“It was good but they made a run right back at us though. They played well and they never gave up. They shot the ball well and got themselves back into it but it was great of us to close it out the way we did. We have to do a better job defensively then what we did in the first half.”


Vinny DelNegro

(Opening statement on tonight game…)

“We weren’t able to slow them (Spurs) down. The tempo was in their favor a lot.  We missed a lot of easy shots which got them out in the open court.  I thought in the beginning of the game we did a good job in terms of our tempo a little bit.  We were scoring the basketball well.  At the end of the half we missed a couple of easy shots and that gave them some rhythm.  But we can’t expect to get outrebounded like that and then turn the ball over like that against San Antonio and give them that many extra opportunities.  They obviously shot the ball well.  We have to do a better job with a sense of urgency getting out to shooters.  We need to do a better job at our pick-and-roll coverages, so we can get back and bump our wings out.  We have to do a better job at controlling the glass and controlling the turnovers and making plays when we have opportunities.”  


(When asked about the play of Eric Bledsoe and his career high 23 points ...)

“Well Eric has done a fantastic job the last series and tonight.  He did a great job at pushing the tempo and getting to the rim and making plays, tip-ins, offensive rebounds.  Eric is so athletic.  This is his first playoff experience, but he’s a tough kid and a competitor.  He’s only going to get better.  He changes the complexion of the game. We can play him and Chris (Paul) together sometimes.  I was pleased with his aggressiveness tonight.”


(When asked about the defense on Tony Parker tonight…)

“We just tried to change up our coverages.  We started off aggressive on him, but Tony is a fantastic player, we all know that.  He missed some shots he usually makes.  They had very good balance with other guys.  Manu (Ginobili) got going and Tim (Duncan) was difficult as usual.  Some of their other guys, couple of their starters Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard hurt us which was not good.  Tony just tried to make it tough.  You just have to be aggressive with him.  He’s such a big factor for them.  We have to look at the film and make some adjustments and understand that this is a different type of series.  We have to lock in better and execute the plan.”


(When asked about the defense the Spurs played on Chris Paul tonight…)

“Chris just missed a few easy shots he usually makes.  He’s fighting through some injuries, along with Blake (Griffin).  They give you what they can.  Chris’ turnovers aren’t normal.  He didn’t shoot it very well.  He’ll bounce back.  He’s very competitive.  We need him and Blake to play at a high level in this situation against the Spurs.”


Eric Bledsoe

(On what he did positively in the game...)

“I just come in and try to help my team in the best way possible, whether it’s scoring, playing defense, or whatever. Whatever I need to do to help them win at the end of the day is what I’m going to do.”


(On what the Clippers need to do to slow down the Spurs...)

“Just keep them out of the paint. I think they got inside the paint too easy. They’re getting open threes and kick outs. We need to just kind of contain them from getting inside the paint so much.”


(On injuries throughout the team...)

“You just got to come in and do your job. Everybody’s going to get injured, everybody’s going to get hurt. So if you’re hurt then you can’t play.”

(On what the Clippers need to do to improve...)

“We got to keep them out of the paint. I think they got into the paint too easy. (Manu) Ginobili, Tony Parker led in to open shots. So we just got to try to keep them out of the paint on the pick and roll.”


DeAndre Jordan

(Do you think you guys will be able to capitalize on your athleticism in this series?)

“I think so as long as we stay aggressive and just come out like we did tonight firing our athleticism and using are youth to get us some great shots. We also got a lot of stops tonight. We got our hands on balls, a lot of deflections, which helped us get to transition.”


(How do you describe the second round playing this team?)

“It’s more of a thinking game with this team. They’re going to execute and run their plays all the way through. They’re going to keep you moving and they’re going to make you play defense. They have so many options just containing Tony (Parker), (Manu) Ginobli, and Tim (Duncan) is a load in the post. It’s more of a cerebral game so we just have to stick to our principals and watch some film to get ready for Game 2.”


(What’s the most challenging part about the way they move the ball?)

“Just controlling their penetration. As long as we can control Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobli) and make those guys take tough shots and not try to collapse on them.  Just contain them and keep them outside as much as possible, that will take away some of their easy buckets in the paint and also a lot of their kick outs.”


Kenyon Martin

(What did the Spurs do to you guys tonight?)

“They came out in the third and made a few shots. We have to take out what they do best. They make corner three’s and they got a ton of them. They made too many shots, bottom line. So we’ve got to do a better job contesting shots and making guys do things they’re not comfortable doing.”


(What makes their ball rotation so difficult to defend?)

“If they don’t pass the ball to an open man, they’re coming out. It’s the bottom line. That’s the way (Popovich) is coaching. I’ve had lots of battles with him. This is my fourth time playing him in the playoffs and it’s always been that way. The open man always hits the shot; that’s what they do well. They do an excellent job of spreading the floor, making plays, and guys do an excellent job being unselfish.”


(What do you all take from this game?)

“We have to go to the drawing board and see the things that we did well, see the things that we did wrong, and try to fix things and then capitalize on the things that we did well.”