What the Spurs and Hawks said after the game

Here, thanks to the folks in the Spurs’ media services office, is a sampling of some of the post-game comments from both locker rooms after the Spurs’ 105-83 victory over Atlanta. 

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

(How impressive was the lift from the bench?)

“Our bench was fantastic.  A number of people came into the game and played good solid basketball, both at the defensive and offensive ends.  I was really pleased with the bench.”

(On Matt Bonner…)

“When Matt makes shots like that, it certainly helps offensively and he was on tonight.”

(On Cory Joseph…)

“I was really pleased with Cory’s aggressiveness.  He didn’t play tentatively, as if he was trying to learn about the league or anything like that.  He just played basketball in a very aggressive manner and that was great to see.”

(On the defensive effort of Tiago Splitter …)

“It was no different than any other night.  What you see Tiago do, you’ve seen him do every single night that he plays.  That’s what makes him special.”

(On a nightly basis, what are you looking for out of DeJuan Blair?)

“Just to be a player who compliments Timmy and Tony.  That’s what they all do.  Everybody is a role player, complimentary player around those guys right now.  Everybody has the same job to know their roles and play it.  I think all those guys are getting a lot of experience and getting better at it.”

(This is a very good Atlanta team and you pretty much shut them down for most of the game. What do you attribute that too?)

“It’s just one night in the NBA and we played, expect for that period in the first half. We played real solid defense, we rebounded well, we executed and made shots.  We played better than they played tonight, but it’s just one night in the NBA.  We’ve had our nights where we haven’t played well also.”

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner:

(On his hot shooting touch…)

“I had the first couple to go down. It always makes things easier. My teammates did a good job of finding me when I was open, moved the ball, and got good shots. “

(On Spurs sharing the ball with 29 assists…)

“That’s what we focus on, offense. Do not hold the ball. Either you attack or move it and get the defense on their heels and get great shots.”

(Was the Spurs bench a big factor?)

“I think so. We came out a little stagnant in the third quarter and Coach Pop got really mad and made some quick substitutions, so we knew we had to come in with energy to get things back on track and luckily it worked out for us.”

(On third quarter positive play…)

“Half of the time I am not looking at the scoreboard in the third quarter but the ball was going in. It was not any one individual. I think it was a team effort. Everybody was executing, setting good picks, attacking and finding the open man.”

(On team defense holding the Hawks…)

“Well, defense is always the key. It is great to share the ball and get a lot of assists and shots. Not every night the ball is going to be going in like that and that is where the defense comes in and keeps us in games. Tonight we played great defense and made a lot of shots.”

(On Cory Joseph…)

“He looked really comfortable out there and did a good job leading us into sets and getting us in the right spots and also on defense.”

 (Is Cory Joseph growing up a little bit?)

“Tonight he did, hopefully he can keep it going.”

San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair:

(On playing a great Hawks team)

“We beat a great team and we played great. Pop got after us over the first half. So we came out after half and got out there and did a great job.”

(On understanding Popovich messages by calling timeouts…)

“Yes, of course we do. It’s a quick season and we want to get through and go. We can’t be half playing.”

(On keeping Tim Duncan rested…)

“We just have to keep playing hard and try to give the big man as much time off as possible. I know we want him out there, but we need him for the long run.”

Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew:

 (On the Spurs shooting tonight…)

“They shot the ball extremely well tonight, but we had some defensive breakdowns that allowed them to really get some good looks at the three. We climbed back in it right before the end of the first half. All the things that we talked about that we needed to do at a defensive standpoint; we didn’t get it done. We had multiple defensive breakdowns. When you allow them to get going particularly at the three, you are asking for trouble. We just didn’t do a good job at defending the three.”

(How uncharacteristic of your team is that?)

“In most cases, we do a good job at defending the three. It just seemed time and time again, we just kept losing people for whatever reason. At the same time you have to tip your hat to the Spurs. I thought the things that they ran; the things that they exploited, it got them going. Matt Bonner hit three threes in the third quarter. It’s just something we talked about prior to the game. Making sure we didn’t lose him, but we did time and time again. He knocked down some big three’s. It’s just one of those games, they outplayed us. If you look at that stat sheet, they beat us in just about every category. If you allow a team to shoot 51 percent on you from the field you’re not going to win many ball games, so we just have be better.”

(On the nice effort from Jeff Teague tonight…)

“Jeff has really been playing well for us all year. He was able to match speed for speed with (Tony) Parker. He got in the paint a few times and shot some nice floaters. I was very encouraged by Kirk’s performance tonight. I thought he would come back a little more winded. He played with a nice rhythm and his shot looked good. We’re just really pleased that he is back and hopefully there are no setbacks with his shoulder. In moving forward, we will learn from this game and get ready for the next one.”

Hawks forward Josh Smith:

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

“They went on a run.  We were unable to score the basketball. This is a good team where whenever you allow Tony Parker to get in the paint and Tim Duncan is getting involved, they’re a hard team to beat.”

(On Matt Bonner’s play…)

“Somebody’s going to step up. No matter who it is, everybody is a professional. Matt Bonner’s a stroker. They have good sets with the pick and roll play. They had us confused on the pick and rolls. Any kind of step-in, they were finding him with his quick release tonight.”

(On playing against the Spurs defensively…)

“They’re very simple. Simple on offense, but they never stop moving. You really can’t get relaxed and they make you help, and when we were helping on the defensive end, they were finding guys on the perimeter and they just made the right play.”

(On the Spurs’ defensive adjustments in the second half…)

“I just think that we got a little stagnant on the offensive end. The ball stayed on one side of the floor. When you’re playing against a great (team), no matter how old or whatever people say they are, they’re a smart team. They play great defensively as a team. You have to make the ball move from side to side against this team and when we got stagnant on the offensive end. We were in low shot clock situations where we had to take shots that we really didn’t want to take.”

Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich:

(On what did the Spurs do well on defense…)

“They stopped the ball when guys got in there (the lane), they played with confidence, they were aggressive and we just got outplayed tonight.”

(On what was different in the second half…)

“They just shot the ball well all night and especially in the second half. They are a smart, veteran team and they took advantage of our mistakes.”

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