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  • Oct
    29

    Game 1, In Their Own Words

    [Ed. note: We're going to try something new this year. After every home game, we'll be putting up the raw transcripts here. Hey, we can't depend on stenographing machine Tim Kawakami to be at every game.]

    DON NELSON
    Well, I guess that’s why I hate home openers. Anyway, my complaint on the game with my team is that we came out of the locker room at halftime and just didn’t have very much going. Go from 10 up to 7 down in a matter of about 7 minutes. So, that quarter was very difficult.
    We’re going to have to play a lot better than we played tonight. But still, I think that quarter probably did us in. I had some guys that I expected to play at a high level. Corey (Maggette) has probably been one of my best players in preseason, and he goes 3-for-14 and doesn’t really get to the foul line like he’s used to. So that was kind of tough.
    I was very pleased with Curry. I thought he and Ellis in the backcourt were good and active. We have some work to do to get Morrow more involved. Azubuike, I didn’t think would play very much, but actually he did alright when he was in the game. That was good to see. So I could probably use him more consistently.
    The problem, for me, when we start the big lineup is exactly what happened tonight; we’re vulnerable for fouls. So in the first half, I had both my centers with three fouls and I had to be careful of that. As it turned out, I would have certainly lost one of them in the game with fouls and maybe both had we not substituted in the third quarter. I like that lineup, but yet it makes us pretty light at center.
    So we’ll have a day of practice and go to Phoenix.
    (You pulled out Curry quickly in the third quarter. Why?)
    I’m not punishing anybody. I just thought I needed to try something at that point. I wanted to get Morrow back in the game, give him a chance to do what he does – stretch the defense and maybe make some openings for us. But if you don’t get him the ball when he’s open, it doesn’t do much good to have him in the game. We have to do a better job of understanding he’s our best shooter, and you’ve got to know where he is at all times.
    (What happened in the third quarter?)
    Probably a number of things. I don’t want to get specific or call names, but we made a bunch of errors at that time, from turnovers to not finding the open man to making some defensive errors and letting them open – of course, then they made shots as well.
    We didn’t have an answer for Scola tonight. We didn’t really want to get our defense spaced out too much, so we didn’t double-team him a lot. I thought our big guys could handle him in the low box, but we didn’t play his strength and weakness very well, and he had the big night against us. That was disappointing.
    (Last play, you only had Jackson and Morrow on the floor as 3-point threats…)
    Well, they were going to foul if we didn’t run a catch-and-shoot play. They had a foul to give. So it didn’t really matter. We were gonna definitely go to Morrow, and his job was to make sure if they fouled, that he got a shot up where he got three free throws. So he was very aware of that. And that was the reason.
    (Maggette’s outside shooting: Do you accept those, or are those shots he shouldn’t be taking?)
    Well, I’d like him to drive every time, but you can’t ask a guy not to take advantage of the way his defense is playing. I thought too many occasionally, and they were too early in the clock, but he’s my veteran player. I’m going to pretty well let him have his head. He’s got to figure out how to play the best for him and we have to adjust around him. He’s been around a long time and we know the way that he plays. He’ll take that shot when he’s open, and I’m not going to take that away from him. That opens his drive up.
    (What did you think of your defense overall and then Curry and Ellis, specifically?)
    Well, Curry’s a pretty good defender. I think you look at the field-goal percentage, it wasn’t bad, 46 percent. I think we can play a lot better than we played. The 3-point shot, we didn’t defend that very well. They had too many openings, and we weren’t double-teaming the low post. There’s usually reasons for the 3-point shot. But as far as our defense goes, other than not playing some individual strengths and weaknesses well, and defending the 3, I thought our defense was OK.
    (What you think of Randolph tonight?)
    Well, I thought he played pretty well when I put him in, and I started him in the third quarter, and he just happened to be in there when we didn’t do very well.
    (Is he moving back into a larger role?)
    We’ll see. Depends on the game and how things are going.
    (What did you think of the crowd reaction to Jackson?)
    I thought it was mixed. To be expected.
    (How did you feel with the ball in Curry’s hands down the stretch?)
    Well, I love it. He’s our best passer and playmaker. He made some mistakes tonight. I thought Jack walked into a 3 right there when we were behind and we needed to get a rhythm 3, and he bypassed that and threw a lob pass (which was intercepted). That was definitely a mistake, and it’s acceptable. He’s going to make mistakes, but we feel real good about the way he’s playing.

    STEPHEN CURRY
    (Did you feel like you got your rhythm going in the fourth quarter?)
    You’re just having enough confidence that the next shot’s going in and using the way they were defending the ball screens to try to get open shots and try to move the ball. I think we did that well in the first, second and fourth quarter. In the third quarter, we kind of got stagnant a little bit, took some tough shots and they didn’t fall, so they got back in the game. For me, I thought the shot felt well, and I got a lot of confidence back for next game.
    (How do you react to your mistakes?)
    I take criticism well. I think down the stretch, I made a pass to Biedrins that got stolen. I didn’t see Brooks down there and I think I had a play to Stack Jack on the right side. I didn’t think I could get it to them in a good enough spot to get a shot and saw Biedrins coming down the lane – I thought he had a clear opening to the basket, just didn’t see the defender. I think coach wants us to attack, and in that situation, that’s what I was trying to do, give it up to the man that’s – well, he was open to me – and keep moving the ball. So the next time, I’ll make the easier play, and let Jack or the guy on the wing make a shot.

    STEPHEN JACKSON
    (Mixed reaction from the crowd?)
    It is what it is. I don’t expect everybody to love me. The fans that do, I’m going to go out there and play hard, and do my job. I mean, I heard it, but it didn’t affect my game at all. To each his own.
    (You cupped your hand to your ear?)
    Yeah, just to let them know that it don’t affect me. You know what I mean? I’ve been booed many a time. This ain’t the first time. I’m gonna go out there and play basketball, do what I need to do. I’m not really worried about that. They choose to do what they want to do.
    (They booed particularly after missed shots. Do you hear that even more?)
    It was so expected. Fans are so predictable about that. Any time you say you want to leave, that’s going to happen. So I was prepared for it. I mean, they can do it all they want, I’m going to go out there and play hard for the fans that do support me.
    (Was it easy to get back into rhythm?)
    Yeah, I felt good out there. I took good shots. I think I should have had more assists than I had, but our guys dropped the passes. But for a whole — I wish I could have guarded Ariza more. They had me guarding Shane Battier, which I wasn’t happy with. I want to guard the best guy every night, still, regardless of what’s going on, on the court, who we have out there.
    We didn’t get the win, so that’s the most upsetting part, but it’s something to build on.
    (You looked miffed at the end of the third, when Corey Maggette didn’t pass to you, and then you sat at the end of the bench. Can you explain?)
    I wasn’t in the game. That’s why I was at the end of the huddle. It wasn’t no particular reason. I wasn’t in the game.
    (Impressions of Ariza?)
    I think when guys get away and they get an opportunity to expand their game, they get to show more things. I think in L.A. he was just a defensive guy, spot-up shooter. Kobe demanded the ball. With Tracy out, he gets a chance to be more aggressive, and you can tell he’s really worked on his 3-point shot, and they’re going to him a lot. So I think he played well tonight, he’s being real aggressive and it’s showing that he can do more than just spot up and shoot 3s.
    (What’s the difference of guarding him then and now?)
    Well, I think if I was guarding him, I would have made him put it on the floor more, make more plays going to the rim. He got a lot of spot-up jumpers, which is what he loves to do best. That got him going. And when you’re playing against a guy who can shoot, you’ve got to try to shut him off from the beginning so he doesn’t get a rhythm. Once he got the rhythm, it was hard to stop him.
    (Is it worrisome to lose to Houston, which played last night and has no Yao, no McGrady?)
    You can’t look at it like that. It’s the first game. We’ve got young guys, they had to get the jitters out, get the first game out. They played last night, so they got a chance to feel that NBA grind in their first regular-season game. I think this was our turn, but I think they made the plays down the stretch. They beat us up inside. When we played small, they beat us up inside, and their guards made plays. Brooks hit a lot of big 3s, too. To say we’re going to be a defensive team, we’ve got to work harder on it.
    (We saw the defensive goal was to hold Houston to 97 points. It was not achieved. Did you think the defense was up to par tonight?)
    No. We made a lot of mental mistakes, which is expected (for the) first game. We went out there and competed, we had a chance to win the game. We played hard and we’ve just got to build on it.
    (Thoughts on Stephen Curry?)
    He did well. I don’t think he was as nervous as people thought he was going to be. He played in college, so I think he was just comfortable out there. Steph is going to be fine, man. It was his first game. Nobody expected him to come out here and save the world. He had a great first game, and I think he’s going to continue to get better every night.
    (There were reports of trade talks heating up. Do you think they might be close?)
    I haven’t heard anything, but if it happens, it happens. I’m just waiting to see.
    (Nothing tonight – the boos – make you think it will happen?)
    No. Like I said, that was so expected. I knew it was coming. I wasn’t worried about that.
    (On the last play, you’re inbounding to Anthony. Did you think you’d get the ball back?)
    The play was for him to take a quick shot. I think they defended it well. I stepped in. I don’t know if I was open or not. You know I’m always ready to take the shot. I told you, I make love to pressure, so I would love to take a shot. And I want the ball at times like that. But we ran a play for Morrow, he took a shot at it and we had a chance to win. It just didn’t go down.
    (Would it have been helpful to have another 3-point threat out there on the final play?)
    Maybe, maybe not. I leave it up to coach to draw up the plays. Goose is in there, we need a big man, so when they have a 5, the big man can set a screen and hopefully they’ll switch, where Morrow can get a good shot. That was the game plan, they just defended it well. You can’t really say who could have should have been in the game or not.

One Response to “Game 1, In Their Own Words”

  1. Geoff,

    Love the interview transcripts.

    Did you get our email? Drop us a line when you get a chance. Thanks!

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