What the Spurs and Grizzlies said after Game 1

Here, courtesy of the fast transcribers and notetakers from the Spurs media services department, are some of the comments after Memphis claimed a 101-98 victory over San Antonio in Game 1 Sunday afternoon.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

(On his general assessment of the game)

“Good physical game as there was great effort both ways.”

(On the chances of Tiago Splitter playing in Game Two)

“I don’t know, haven’t thought about it.”

(On the game getting away from them in the fourth quarter)

“We were best when we were attacking more quickly and not letting them set up their defense. There were periods in the game where we slowed up a bit too much as we should’ve kept the pace up a little better.”

(On the physicality of the game)

“They’re a physical team. They did a great job as they’re the number one team league in the paint, so I would expect them to be very good in that regard. You defend that by doing your best.”

(On Shane Battier’s game-winning 3-point shot)

“What do you want to know about it? It counted for three as he caught it, he shot it and he made it.”

(On what his team needs to work on the most after this game)

“We are going to have the same general game plan as it wasn’t like we got beat by 25. We played hard, we missed some free throws down the stretch, had some good looks that just didn’t go in.  Shane hit a big three, Mayo hit a big three from the corner, so shots have to go in for us down the stretch. It doesn’t mean that you change your philosophy of what you’re doing.”

(On this looking to be a rough series with a lot of fouls being called)

“I don’t assess those things, the referees do what they do, as they don’t win or lose games, teams, players and coaches lose games. However the referees call the game how they call it, but I thought the game was fair and square as both teams were physical. I didn’t have any problem with it.”

(On George Hill’s performance in replace of Manu Ginobili)

“George has been really good for us all year long, as he gave us everything. Shots didn’t go down like he wanted, but his effort on both ends of the court was great. He’s someone who is real important to what we do and he’ll be ready to go again on Wednesday. ”

Spurs forward Richard Jefferson

(Opening statement)

“There’s some things that we can improve on.  We had a bunch of great looks coming down the stretch that we weren’t able to knock down.  You give their defense credit, but also we’ll take those looks again.”

(On if he liked the look he got at the end)

“Yeah, I was wide open.  I got a great pass from Tim (Duncan) and I just didn’t knock it down.”

(On if the team was sluggish because of Manu Ginobili being out)

“No.  They’re an aggressive team.  We picked it up as the game went on.  It was a battle.  We know what we’re getting into against these guys.  It’s not a surprise that the game was the way it was, that we shot as many free throws as we did or that they shot as many free throw as they did.  They’re a quality team.”

(On if there was confusion on the last play)

“No there wasn’t (confusion).  We tried to get something.  I tried to make a pass to George (Hill) and Gasol did a good job of reading it.  George got the ball back and then we did it.  We have a great team out here.  When Tim (Duncan) went down, our losing streak wasn’t about Tim going down.  We had our opportunities and we just didn’t take them.  With Manu being out tonight, that had nothing to do with us making the mistakes that we made or not hitting the good looks that we were given.  George had a great look in the corner, I had a good look from up top.  That’s pretty much the game.”

(On the halftime adjustments)

“Everybody goes in and makes halftime adjustments.  We just wanted to be more and more aggressive as the game went on.  I think as everyone settles in, that first half, everyone is really anxious and ready to get started.  You’ve been wondering who you’re going to play for a week and you’ve been sitting there staring at film for three days.  The first half of basketball for most teams is not very pretty.  I think after we settled in we played a little better.”

(On if it was tough since the Spurs held the lead late in the game)

“This one is tough because it’s the playoffs.  That’s really it.  We had an opportunity.  No one came into this thinking sweep.  We came into this knowing that it’s going to be a tough series, which it has been already and we look to just continue to get better.”

(On if the Spurs have confidence to bounce back since there are so many veterans on the team)

“We understand the challenges that are in front of us.  If we want to get to where we would like to get to, it’s never going to be easy, it’s never going to perfect, it’s never going to be seamless.”

(On how the experience of the team helps when they are down)

“We are a very experienced team, but they also have experienced players over there. Shane Battier has been in a bunch of playoff series, Tony Allen has won a championship, Marc Gasol like I said earlier today is a veteran European player, and even Zach Randolph has been in playoff series.  We have an advantage there, but for the most part, I think they’re an experienced team also.”

Spurs forward/center Matt Bonner

(On if the game had a physical playoff feel)

“Definitely.  Both teams were battling, sacrificing our bodies, and it just came down to a few shots down the stretch that didn’t go our way and went their way.  Now we’re down 1-0, just have to get ready for game one.”

 (On if there was confusion on the last play)

“I think the confusion kind of helped us because they did a good job reading the play.  We wanted a flare for George (Hill) over the top and I think Gasol read it, got the steal, and George came away with it.  Because everybody was confused, it created a scramble situation and we got a good open look with a chance to tie it.”

(On how important the experience of the team is when trailing in the series)

“It’s definitely important.  We know it’s a seven-game series and they did a great job tonight, got the win.  They deserve it, they beat us, but we’re going to go back to the drawing board, come out and leave it all on the court in game two to try and even the series.”

Spurs guard Tony Parker

(Opening statement)

“Tough loss.  We had it at the end and we just couldn’t make the shots that we needed and the stops that we needed in the end.  We fought back, Matty (Bonner) made two big threes, we had a good lead, and it just didn’t happen.  It didn’t go our way.”

 (On being in this situation before)

“You try to prepare yourself.  You know our history that we haven’t played well in game one and it happens again, so just have to focus on game two.”

(On how much the experience of the team is going to help in this situation)

“Definitely it’s going to help. That’s all we can control right now is to play better, make sure we play better defense, and make sure we play better in game two.”

(On playing more aggressive in the second half)

“They were playing very physical with a lot of intensity.  I was talking to George (Hill) at halftime trying to make a conscious effort to go to the free throw line.  That’s what we did and it worked out pretty well for us.”

(On being without Manu Ginobili)

“Manu is a big part of what we do.  Obviously he’s a great player, everybody knows that, and we definitely miss him.”

Spurs forward Tim Duncan

(On not getting the ball late in the game)

“It’s just kind of the way the game developed. We had some success in other areas and we were moving the ball pretty well and getting some pretty good shots down the stretch from the perimeter. They just didn’t go down for us. But all-in-all we got the shots we wanted.”

(On beating Memphis in all the hustle stats but still losing the game and that being a formula to win)

“It should be, but it wasn’t. We didn’t do enough down the stretch and that was the game right there. We stuck to our game plan. We did a good job keeping them off the offensive glass, but they made more plays than we did down the stretch. We gave ourselves a chance. We were right there. A lot of credit to them. They played hard and they played well. We just have to prepare for next game.”

(On whether he expected them to call a timeout at the end)

“I don’t know enough about them to expect one way or another. They knew what they wanted and they got it.”

(On the play of Randolph and Gasol)

“Zach played great and made some great shots. Same with Mark. They are some big bodies and that’s what Memphis’s game is based on is having those bigs inside and then making shots. We need to pay a little bit more attention on defense, especially myself with Mark. I gave him a bit of an easy time there trying to keep half an eye on Zach instead of focusing on Mark. I need a little more focus in that respect. With Zach I thought we did a pretty decent job, he just made some great shots all over the floor. ”

(On the physicality of the game)

“It’s the playoffs…it’s always physical. We did a great job of getting into penalty early in two of the four quarters. We know they’re good in the paint. They’re an inside team and they’re a big team. They’re going to challenge every shot we take. We gave ourselves the opportunity by attacking and going to the iron. All-in-all our game plan went the way we wanted it to, we just didn’t finish.”

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins

(Opening statement)

“It was a great effort.”

(When asked what was said at halftime to his players about being uncharacteristically out scored in the paint)

“It was offensive rebounding first; they had 10 points on offensive rebounds.  They had eight offensive rebounds and that will hurt you.  Then we were in foul trouble.  In the second half we did a much better job.  I think they only had one offensive rebound in the second half.  Then we started really attacking the basket.  We played high-low, we ran pick-and-rolls, and we did everything to get into the post verses running post plays. That was a big key.”

(When asked how gratifying it is to get the first playoff win for the Grizzles franchise)

“Well the most gratifying thing is that we got a win and we’re in the playoffs.  We would like to keep being ahead in the playoffs.  It’s not important to me that it’s our first playoff win ever.  That’s all past history.  The only thing that’s fitting about this is that Shane Battier hit the three to put us a head and he was a part of the three teams that had gone 0 for 12.  So it’s nice from an annoyance perspective to have it out of the way so I’m not asked about being 0 and 13.  The series is just beginning and it’s nice to get the first win.  Like I told our players in the locker room they are capable of coming into our building and beating us twice.  So we have to be greedy and come out and play smarter.”

(When asked if that was a designed play for Shane to take the final three)

“We wanted whatever we were going to get.  We were going to go into the post, the last two times we went into the post out of that same setup.  It just so happened that the ball swung to him and they lost him for a second.  They closed out at the end and he made the three.  It’s just quick, early offense trying to get down the court before they can setup their defense.  If I had another timeout I probably wouldn’t have called it again, because once they get set in their defense they’re tough to score on. We just have to play better.  They’re going to be hungrier. They’re going to be desperate to get a win at home.  So we have to come out and play better then we did tonight.”

(When asked how he thought his young players without playoff experience played)

“It’s still a basketball game.  You still have to execute and it doesn’t matter what age you are.  There’s no limit or maximum before you can do it.  You learn how to do it and then you do it.  There are a lot of great players that did it when they were young and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do it, if you come in a pay attention to detail.”

Grizzlies Forward Zach Randolph

(On getting the first win in post-season history)

“It feels great, it feels like a ton off our back. We came out and fought hard, we believed, and this is just the beginning.”

(On the game)

“It was a tough game, it s a physical game. The Spurs are veterans, so we knew it was going to be a physical game and it was, so that’s what I expected. We just kept fighting.”

(On the play of Marc Gasol)

“Marc is great, he’s one of the best young centers out there. He works hard, he plays the right way, and I love playing with him. He is going to be an all-star.”

(On if he was surprised by the play from the young guys)

“No, not really because the young guys have played great this whole season. They have been stepping up and that’s what we expect from them. They have confidence and they believe that they can play good, no matter regular season or the playoffs.”

 “Tonight was one of those games. It was a fight. You have to scratch and claw. It was up and down, we’d get the lead then they would get the lead. It was playoff basketball”

 “My head hurt. I got hit in my head by Blair. Hit in the temple so it’s sore a little bit and I have a bit of a headache. But this is the playoffs. You get bumps and bruises you have to keep on”

“They beat me up down there but I expected that. This is the San Antonio Spurs and they are a physical team. They’ve won several championships and have one of the best coaches in the league. They know how to get things done.”

“It was great. Shane hit the biggest shot of the game. It feels good getting this off our back. Getting this first playoff win in franchise history feels really good.”

“Me and Mark, we made adjustments He told me to step up and I told him to stay down on the pump fake. We talk to each other, sometimes we yell at each other, but we are together. That’s the main thing going into this kind of basketball, playoff basketball, just to be together.”

“We believe we can play with anybody. We aren’t looking we out ahead and trying to say we are going to win. We are taking it one game at a time. The next game is going to be a whole new game. We just have to come out, play hard and stick to our game plan – play defense.”

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen

(On the focus of the team)

“Let me start with myself first, I thought I was a little lackadaisical early on. My teammates encouraged me to come back in, and they said they were going to need me. I threw the first half away, came back in, third quarter I sat more than I normally sit but I was ready to go in the fourth quarter. With that being said, I thought it was great focus down the stretch. We didn’t get rattled, we stayed confident, and we knew to execute on the offensive end. We knew that we needed to value every possession, but most importantly what I liked down the stretch is that we played defense. They got away with the lead a little bit but that’s why I said we didn’t get rattled, we stayed with the game plan. This was a big team win.”

(On the play of the bench today)

“Well definitely, old grand daddy Shane was big today. It was a tough shot as he was big all throughout the game. I was in foul trouble, Juice (Mayo) hits some shots but I’m going to just keep it real, Zach Randolph is our leader right now. We kept pounded inside to him and Marc had it going, I just like how everybody contributed tonight. ”

(On the big shot from Shane Battier at the end of the game)

“He’s a great 3-point shooter, I don’t know what he shoots from the field but he has been doing it for a while in that corner. He had a wide-open look, he took it, I saw it go in so I just wanted to get back on the defensive end and get a stop.”

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