What the Spurs and Bulls said after Wednesday’s game

The good people of the Spurs Media Services office were ready with their notepads and tape recorders after Chicago’s victory over the Spurs Wednesday night.

Enjoy their efforts.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich:(How tough is it to get stops on demand, down the stretch, when Derrick Rose is initiating all the offense?)
“It’s very tough.  He’s a great player.  I thought the guys gave a heck of an effort.  They did a great job, considering everything.  I was really proud of them, but down the stretch Chicago showed why they’ve won all those games.  They made shots and they were real solid defensively.  We made a couple of errors on a couple of guys and they knocked down some threes, so that’s the ballgame.  That’s what it’s all about down the stretch against a good team.  The effort was there, the guys are getting better and I’m really pleased with that.”

(On Gary Neal’s game in the fourth quarter…are those plays designed for him?)
“Some are designed and some are just making an effort. A second effort using his abilities to do what he did, but mostly it was him.  He was amazing.”

(On Tiago and TJ…they looked like they were struggling a little to find their way back after being out…)
“Yeah, I think it’s going to take some time to get them back into the rhythm of things, but we need to do that.  We need to get ready for down the stretch.”

Spurs guard Tony Parker:

(On the toughness of getting back into the swing of things?)
“Yeah, no excuse. Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball well. We’re a team where we rely on great shooting. Timmy, myself and others didn’t shoot the ball well. At the same time, you have to give credit to Chicago as they played a good game as they made the shots they needed at the right time.”

(On the numerous players besides Rose making points tonight…)
“Yeah, you know that Rose is going to be aggressive, but we didn’t know that Watson would score twelve. Brewer made some timely shots and Deng made some timely shots too. That happens sometimes as they played a good game. We have to go back to work, get some shots up and we’ll be ready against Charlotte.”

(On if the good defense of Chicago caused more dependability to make every shot tonight?)
“They have a good defense. At the same time, I thought we missed a lot of good shots that we usually make. I know I missed three tear drop shots that I usually make. I missed some easy shots and Timmy did too. They have a good defense but at the same time I thought we missed some shots that we usually make.”

(On if Chicago wore them down as the game went on?)
“No, not really. They’re a physical team but I think our team is ready for that. We’ve played against physical teams all season long as we’ve been doing fine.”

(On if they changed their game plan after the first half)
“Yeah, we got a lot better in the second half. In the first half, we were trying to stop Rose as it hurt us a little bit. Noah got some rebounds and Boozer did too. We tried to get the small guys on the weak side to help out as we did a better job at that.”

Spurs guard Gary Neal:(On his aggressive style of play tonight)
“Yeah, I was just being aggressive in the first half. In the second half, Coach Pop was calling my play a couple of times when we were coming out of timeouts. In that situation, you just want to be aggressive and let the chips fall where they may.”

(On if he saw something on the court tonight to exploit…)
“No. Chicago is one of the best defensive teams in the whole NBA as they’re athletic and extremely disciplined. It was just a matter of making shots tonight. I had a couple of contested floaters that went in for me tonight.”

(On how tough it was to get stops on them down the stretch…)
“Yeah, Derrick Rose is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Like I said before, they’re a disciplined team as they come down and get into their sets and are not uncomfortable about anything. They got the shots that they wanted and it just was a matter of trying to contest them and keep them off the offensive boards. Tonight they were a little bit better than us at that.”

(On how he felt out there tonight?)
“Oh yeah, I felt fine. The hamstring injury, there was just a little tightness as the game before the break as I had four days of rest. I’m fine.”

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau :(What do you think about the team’s resiliency tonight?)
“I thought our bench was terrific. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a great team and they’ve been very good all year long. They’re well coached, they play hard, they play unselfishly, and they play smart so I thought our guys did a great job. For the bench in particular, they provided a big spark for us and they allowed us to buy some time for our starters.”

(Do you even have to tell Derrick Rose to be more aggressive now or does he just take over when he wants to?)
“I think he has to read the game. Things weren’t going well for us early on and I thought defensively he played very hard. Our ball movement wasn’t great tonight. We sort of got stagnant and down the stretch he has the capability to make big shot after big shot. Then, he made the right play. I thought it was a great play when he hit Ronnie (Brewer) in the corner and Ronnie touched it to Luol (Deng). That was a big three right there. We had a lot of big plays down the stretch and a lot of guys contributed.”

(Did you see a lot of intensity to match the kind of night it was?)
“They’re a tough team. I think when you are on the road, you have to play that way every game.  In particular on the road, it’s just you, your teammates, and your coaches. That’s it. So, you have to have resiliency, you have to have toughness, physical toughness, mental toughness and courage. You need all those things. You have to have perseverance when things aren’t going your way to keep on marching forward. That’s what our guys did.”

(Luol (Deng) talked about his maturation process and riding out those nights when he’s not shooting well and still trying to find a way to contribute, Is that a difficult thing to master in this league?)
“Yeah, you think about his game tonight. I thought he started off; he made a couple good plays off the pick and roll. His shot wasn’t falling, but he had the mental toughness to stay with it. Then, he wasn’t rattled, he made two big shots. One off the pick and roll and then the three off the touch pass by Ronnie (Brewer).

Bulls guard Derrick Rose:(On battling back after a tough back-to-back)
“We are definitely proud. We came in here and played a team that plays great at home. We played together, stuck through it and came out with a good win.”

(Is playing in San Antonio difficult?)
“Yes, the intensity in the crowd and in the players showed. When each team comes out and starts playing you never know how the match-ups will be. We just tried to come out and play hard against them.”

(Refocusing their energy)
“We came in and knew it was going to be a hard game. It’s like a playoff atmosphere. Their fans are great and our fans also supported us. They have great players and a great coaching staff. We just tried to come out and play a complete game.”

(Matching up against Tony Parker)
“I love the challenge. He’s a veteran point guard. He has always played great for the Spurs and is one of the leaders for their team. My teammates and I tried to hold him. Sometimes our bench can win games for us. Tonight, we are thankful for that. We were down three to five points until we came back and tied it and that’s what we needed from them. Our bench was playing great. C.J. Watson was playing aggressive, getting after them and knocking down shots. This is how we ended up winning.”

Bulls forward Luol Deng:(Aggressive court play because shots were not falling)
“No, I felt like it was one of those games where I did not have a lot of shots. I was not thinking that I was shooting bad, I just felt like I did not have a lot of looks. That is how it goes sometimes. I believe I finished with eight shots. Even though I did not get a lot of shots coming into to the fourth quarter, I knew I was going to get shots and looks. I knocked them down.”

(Difficulty of playing Spurs)
“This is a great game for us. They are a great team especially at home. They are playing so well. So for us to come in here in this building (second game after the all-star game) and play like we did was a good win.”

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