What Spurs, Sixers said after Sunday’s game

Here’s a sampling of some of the post-game comments from both locker rooms after the Spurs’ 93-76 victory over Philadelphia Sunday night at the ATT Center.  

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich:

(On the three games in three nights…)

“I think that they showed a lot of toughness, a lot of character to do that three nights in a row with different combinations and different players playing each night.  What’s really great is they appreciate and are happy with the success of their teammates.  Whoever’s not playing isn’t hoping that something bad happens so he can get into the game or anything like that. They really pull for each other. Some guys have good games; some guys don’t, but all in all they stuck together all three nights.  Tonight was maybe their best performance in the sense that the defense got better from the beginning to the end of the game on the third night.  In the second half, I thought we were awesome defensively, really active and we executed what we wanted to do defensively better and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

(Talk about the lift you got from the bench guys inside with Tiago and Tim both out…)

“Well, DeJuan had one of his better games for us.  He played for 48 minutes…which I guess is impossible since I didn’t put him in for that many minutes…but you catch my drift.  He did a great job while he was out there and really set a tone for us in that respect.  The small guys, they moved the basketball and they moved it well.  Matty (Bonner) and Boris complimented DeJuan very well.”

(The three new guys gave you minutes early to help your starters out, talk about that…)

“Well we had to get some minutes from young guys, like Justin for instance, so that we could continue to play and we had to go small for awhile so that the three bigs wouldn’t run out of gas.  We had to change a lot of things and they reacted real well to it against a heck of a team.  Doug’s done a great job with that group.  They’re one of the most physical groups in the league, one of the best defensive teams in the league and they come out every night with that physicality.  It’s a good win when you can play like that against a heck of a team that is well-coached and really athletic like that.”

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili:

(On the upcoming rest for the Spurs after three games in three days…)

“For some of the guys that played in all three games it was hard and it was not easy, especially traveling in the middle. But I think we played very well. We played great defense in the second half. Defensively, we were not that sharp but overall it was pretty good.”

(On playing with the three new players for the Spurs…)

“I like the way they play. They are team-oriented players. Boris (Diaw) and Jack (Stephen Jackson) are always looking to pass and create. It was good to see them. It is good to see them adjust everyday. We need time on the court together, but it looks promising. I am excited today. We only played today with one big. That is not easy to do and we overcame that difficulty and we did a good job.”

(On the effort needed throughout the stretch of three games in three nights)

It is very important not to make too many mistakes. In the first half we gave them the ball too much. They are a team that forces you into turning the ball over. In the second half we took care of the ball. We made them play five-on-five and really collapsed the paint. We got a lot of steals. I am glad to see the team did not have a great night offensively but winning it with our defense.”

San Antonio center/forward DeJuan Blair:

(On the adjustments the Spurs had to make with Splitter and Duncan out…)

“They are both a big part to our team. I just try to score and play defense the best I can. We got it done tonight.”

(On the up and coming back-to-back scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday…)

“We will play two tough teams. We just need to go out there and play Spurs basketball. We need to go out there and play tough.”

(On the message sent by winning all three of the back-to-back-to-back…)

“I don’t want it to send a message. It was just something that we did. We have another one in a week or so. It is fun. I get to play with the team all day everyday and that is what I love.”

San Antonio guard Kawhi Leonard:

(On holding the 76ers to 27 points in the second half…)

“We went in at half time and discussed our rotations and shifts. We bought into the coach’s game plan and went into the second half ready to play.”

 (On the second quarter run…)

“Coach (Popovich) pulled guys out and telling them what places to be in. They were getting easy baskets but everybody sucked in (to the paint) and we got the win.”

(On the 76ers having 21 turnovers…)

“Coach Popovich always tells us to get out on misses and if we get steals to get up the court.”

(On Leonard learning the 3-point shot…)

“Everyday. When I go into practice everyday, I really focus in and work on my all around shot. I will be confident and ready to hit it when they pass me the ball.”

Philadelphia coach Doug Collins:

(Opening statement on tonight’s game…)

“This team (Spurs) brings out the worst in us.  They spread the floor and they get you in the middle pick-and-roll and they just put you in a bind the entire night. (Tony) Parker, (Manu) Ginobili you can’t keep them out of the paint.  We gave them 27 points off turnovers.  We normally turn the ball over 11 times a game and tonight it was 21 turnovers.  When it’s all said and done with, I think with 3:30 to go in the third quarter it was 68-63.  We missed Andre (Iguodala), because he’s another ball handler.  I thought Sam (Young) did some good things for us.  The one thing is we lose spacing on the floor when we have a couple of guys who don’t stretch to the three.  Then you’re playing in a phone booth.  We played in some tight spaces tonight.  We were very careless and that’s unlike us.  They did speed us up.  I have to give their (Spurs) defense credit. They stripped us around the basket around six or seven times.  Once it started going south we just couldn’t get it stopped.”

Philadelphia  forward Elton Brand:

 (On being out of sync tonight…)

“They have been scoring 103 points at home and 113 in the last five games. They just spread the court and they put guys in the right spots to score easy. They got Bonner outside the lane and then Blair on the inside, then you add Parker and Ginobili driving into the lane, it makes their offense difficult to attack.” 

 (On the Spurs’ defense in the second half…)

 “No, it was the same defensive intensity but our turnovers really hurt us. We had over 20 turnovers and that really hurt us and every time we turned it over, they made us pay.”

 (On missing Andre Iguodala tonight…)

 “He does so much for us offensively and defensively. He gets easy shots for everybody and his defensive presence was certainly missed and hopefully everything goes well with his knee.”

 Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes:

 (On how to rediscover what the 76ers had going the first few weeks of the season…)

“The schedule we have played recently has been tough on us. We have to understand that everyone goes through stretches like this and we know that the pace we started off with would be a tough one to keep up with the way the season is set up.”

 (On when he felt tonight’s game got away from them…)

 “In the second quarter, we exerted ourselves pretty well and then they can come at you in a hurry. The Spurs really put everyone in the right positions to get easy shots and at the end of the games, they really put it together. We noticed towards the end of the game it seemed that they either shoot shots in the paint or 3-pointers.”

 (On the Spurs offense…)

“There is no secret to their offense, it is one of the most efficient offenses going and they got the better of us tonight. They have been doing it for a while now and that is why they are one of the top franchises in the league for the last decade.”

 (On defending the pick and roll tonight…)

“It is tough because the way they complement each other with the guys diving in and with Bonner spacing it, you have to pick your poison.”

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