What the Spurs and Trail Blazers said after Monday’s game

Here’s a sampling provided by the Spurs media services department of some of the post-game comments  after Portland’s 100-92 victory over the Spurs Monday night at the ATT Center.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

(On the game)

“It was a great game.  I thought our players were fantastic; super competitive; communicated well.  We just didn’t shoot the ball very well; from three or from the line.  If we could have added a little bit of that to the competitiveness and the heart they showed, we would have been in great shape.  I’m really proud of them.  They were super.”

(On the way Tiago Splitter contained LaMarcus Aldridge)

“I liked the way everybody played.  I thought everybody busted their noodles on defense and shared the ball on offense.  George Hill and Tiago were really special for us tonight.”

(On the stretch where the Spurs scored only scored one point…was it not getting shots or just missing shots?)

 “It’s called ‘game’.  It’s a game that happens to everybody from time to time.  Sometimes they don’t go down.  We got a lot of shots.”

 (On the play of the bench…did they start getting tired)

“Probably.  They haven’t played that much.  But they sure didn’t play like they were tired.”

(On the play of Danny Green)

“How can you be disappointed in somebody who has never played here before and he goes out on the court and played competitively and wasn’t afraid to shoot it.  He played “D”; he played physically and aggressively.  What’s not to like?”

(On the timeline to bring back Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and TonyParker)

“We’ll see how they are tomorrow.  Tony will be the quickest coming back, I think.  But we’ll just see how it goes.”

Spurs forward Richard Jefferson

(On the game tonight)

“It was a tough one.  It’s the fourth game in a row having a lead in the fourth quarter and not being able to finish it, but I think we did some good things tonight.  Some young guys got some good minutes and everybody contributed.”

(On the Spurs’ second unit)

“I believe our second unit is a great team.  That’s why we’ve been so fortunate to have a good record this year and to have a good team is because our second unit, a lot of them are starters on other teams.  For them to come out and play and get the opportunity to play like they did was no surprise.  There was no one playing out of their mind, no one make miraculous shots or anything.  We didn’t shoot the ball well from three and we didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line, so it was more just playing hard, playing good defense, and playing together.”

(On if everyone got tired in the fourth quarter)

“No, there’s no need to make excuses for it now.  We’ve struggled in the fourth quarter in the last few games.  You’ve got guys like myself, Gary (Neal), George Hill, a lot of guys that have played a lot of minutes this year.  Both teams are coming off a back-to-back.  They (Portland) played later than us later last night.  Fatigue happens but you can’t let it be an excuse.”

Spurs forward Tiago Splitter

(On how much it helps him to start and get experience)

“Of course it helps for myself, but today I’m not happy at all.  I think we could’ve won this game and we had it in our hands, but we let it slip in the end, so I’m not happy at all.”

(On if it says something about the team that the game was close with all the injuries)

“Yeah, we fight, we hustle, we do everything that Coach Pop asks us to do and we almost got it.  I feel bad for the last three or four minutes when they hit a couple shots and we didn’t.”

(On his confidence level)

“Of course.  I’m getting more confidence and feeling like I’m part of the team and I can play.”

(On if Tim Duncan is giving him advice)

“Of course.  He is always trying to help, trying to cheer, and lift our confidence up.”

Spurs guard George Hill

(On what the attitude was like before the game with all the injuries)

“Actually it was fine.  Our leadership really showed up and really encouraged us to go out and still play hard.  I think the competitive nature of all the players and the guys we have in here showed and we played hard.”

(On what it was like without all the starters)

“I think we’re good enough to do that.  I think the Spurs organization has enough guys that can go in and fill spots and give 100% every night.  You have to give our guys credit for doing that tonight.”

(On if he has to be more aggressive when all the starters are out)

“A little bit.  If they were still there, I would still be doing the same thing.  It’s been in my head lately to just try and be aggressive, but I think it turns up a little bit more when you don’t have a lot of fire power that you normally have out there.  I just wanted to be aggressive and get the other guys involved.  I think we had great help from everybody, so that’s all you ask for.”

Trail Blazers c0ach Nate McMillan

(On taking the win.)

“Yes of course we will take that win.  We knew that was going to be a tough challenge and it was a trap game that we basically got information about as we got to the arena.  All of the sudden Coach Popovich holds out a couple of his guys, and you throw in some scrappy players like they have, their whole team is good, and an opportunity for those guys and they play great basketball.  Our guys coming off of a back to back—it was a gut check for us in the fourth quarter and having to refocus in that fourth quarter and make stops.  You know a challenging game for us but we got it.”

(On the defensive switch of Nicolas (Batum) on George Hill at the end of the third quarter)

“We were mixing up the guys we were putting on (George) Hill because our guys have heavy legs.  We started to look like we were in quicksand, so just started to substitute quickly and try and rotate guys in and out.  Nicolas had live legs, he wanted Hill and did a good job of making him work, got beat a couple of times but did a good job of making him work.”

(On what your game plan was to wear out George Hill)

“Well we just played our game.  The one thing you don’t want is to go away from the things that you do when you are playing games like this.  Play the game the right way.  We don’t need guys to go off and try and do something that they don’t normally do and we need guys to do the things they normally do so we established LaMarcus (Aldridge) and Gerald (Wallace) in the post, Brandon (Roy) came off in the first half, so we tried to isolate him some.  That worked for us and then down the stretch we tried to go with (Andre) Miller, LaMarcus (Aldridge) and (Gerald) Wallace.  We felt like we had matchups, and they did a good job of double teaming and forcing us to scramble and as you always do is make shots.  Nicolas made a big three and so did Wallace.”

(On if Popovich sitting key players created a mind game)

“Well it was a challenge.  Like I said it was a trap game once we got to the arena but he is in the position to do that.  They are the best team in the league and he wants to rest some of his guys and they have somewhat of a cushion to do that but it does become a trap game.  You come to the arena and Tony (Parker) is not playing and (Antonio) McDyess is not playing.  For our guys you put pressure on yourself and you can’t do that.”

(On Andre Miller’s performance)

“He did put us on his back.  We tried to to take advantage of our matchups and Andre made some big plays down the stretch and he had to carry us.  We got a little stagnant with that second group and couldn’t get into our offense, so he had to play big minutes again.  It seemed like he had good legs after coming off of a 37-minute game last night.”

Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy

“We needed the win. Now we have a big match up coming up in New Orleans.”

(On if he was surprised not to see Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess tonight)

“I can’t say I was surprised.  I thought it was good for us, that they weren’t going to play those guys.  It was important that we came out and got the win.”

(On if beating the Spurs three times boosts Portland’s confidence)

“Yeah we’re confident, but for two of the games they didn’t have Tim (Duncan).  We know they’ll be in the playoffs; they’ve been there a lot more than we have.  They’ll be ready.  You have to throw away the regular season with a team (the Spurs) like this and refocus in the playoffs.”

(On if it’s harder to play a team like the Spurs tonight when they had nothing to lose)

“I can’t say it’s harder, because Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili) are so good down the stretch, but tonight we had more experience going down the stretch.  So that played to our advantage.”

Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge

(On him not starting the second half)

“I was gassed the whole game.  I tried to push through it.  I couldn’t find my rhythm, because I was tired, dead tired.  Luckily I found some of my teammates and they made some good plays.  Guys played big for us tonight.”

(On if he was surprised not to see Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess tonight)

“No.  When you’re in first place and have an eight-game lead, then why not.  Why not get your guys healthy for the playoffs.  They’re playing for something bigger then the playoffs, they’re playing for a championship. I wasn’t surprised at all.”

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