Postgame quotes: Blazers-Spurs

Postgame quotes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 98-94 road defeat of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

December 23, 2009
Post-Game Quotes

Nate McMillan

(Opening statement)
“I would say we’re playing the game the right way. I firmly believe if you do that, you play the game hard, you play this game together, and you will give yourself a chance to win in this league. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not playing the game the right way, you won’t win games. This team, tonight, they showed again that they do have character. You talk about resiliency with a group. There’s no words. I’m so happy for this group. Even though we go 3-1 on this road trip, it’s the best road trip I’ve been on. With everything that has happened with this group and having to play this tough schedule, we knew we would be challenged on this road trip. Our guys responded and a lot of adversity as far as losing some guys and asking some guys to play tough basketball, but they hung in there and gave themselves a chance.”

(On Bayless)
“We knew what [Bayless] was capable of doing if given the opportunity. He’s playing off the ball and we need him to score. He’s showing that he’s capable of scoring. Once again he showed it tonight. At the start of the game we realized Brandon wouldn’t be able to go and I told him he had to step in at that spot. I told him to have fun with it. We gave it to him, moved him around, and he delivered. I’m more happy to see him come along defensively, to see him playing off the ball. His game has definitely picked up.”

(On giving Bayless the green light)
“He had the green light. He’s playing off of Miller and Blake and we’re running similar sets that we run for Brandon where we try and move him around and get him that ball and let him spread the floor. I thought tonight he did a nice job of not only scoring, but when he made the defense commit he gave up the ball.”

Jerryd Bayless

(On his performance tonight)
“If you give me the opportunity I’m going to try and help this team win in any way possible. It’s not about me, it’s about the team. I had a pretty good game, but LaMarcus had a good game and Steve stepped up. This whole team stepped up all around. With all these injuries it’s just showing the heart and character of this team. Hopefully we continue to win.”

(On being a tough person to guard tonight)
“I don’t know. I was making some plays, but LaMarcus was making shots, Steve was making shots, and Martell was making shots. If they’re all making shots then it makes it easy for me to get in the lane and create shots for myself and everybody else. It was a greatg overall win.”

(On his confidence)
“I’m comfortable. It’s just opportunities and right now coach is giving me the opportunities. I’m trying to make the best of it. My confidence is high but I’m just trying to make the best of the opportunity.”

(On him getting more aggressive as the game progressed)
“Coach came in and told me not to try and do anything crazy but to be aggressive and make plays. I was trying to make plays for myself and for everybody just to help this team. LaMarcus was making his shots in the second half once he got out of foul trouble a little bit. Everyone was making their shots so it made it easy for me to make plays.”

Juwan Howard

(On the team’s confidence)
“This is a big confidence booster for us because now we’ve beaten teams that, you guys as the media and fans, are saying that have a real shot at winning the title. Hopefully this will let you guys know that we’re good, too. It’s up to us though. We have the great leadership in Nate McMillan and his staff, we just have to go out there and continue to play hard and to fight and bring that workman like attitude. You never know what can happen.”

(On Bayless)
“That wasn’t our game plan. We’re going to go through L.A. first, and that’s how we started the game, milking LaMarcus Aldridge and knowing that we all have to feed off him. LaMarcus got off to a great start but then got into some foul trouble, but Jarryd Bayless is a very strong player, a very confident player and he just stepped up to the occasion. It was a team effort…everyone in this lockerroom contributed.”

Gregg Popovich

(Opening statement)
“It was a real tough loss. I thought that down the stretch in the fourth quarter we started to play with more aggressiveness and more urgency; which we didn’t have in early parts of the game. Down the stretch they did everything that we asked them to do. I thought they came back really well, but it wasn’t enough. The Trail Blazers made shots down the stretch, the three by Bayless and the shot by Aldridge. We missed a couple of wide open threes. Theirs went in and ours didn’t and that was the ball game at the end.”

(On Juwan Howard tonight)
“Juwan was great. He made tough shots; he made contested shots all night long. He hit the board well. He can be proud of himself. He did a heck of a job.”

(On not fouling early on the final play of the game)
“There was a 3.2 second difference which is plenty of time to tie a game. You don’t foul with a two point deficit and go down four. If there was no time then we would have obviously fouled.”

Roger Mason, Jr.

(on the Trail Blazers play)
You have to give them credit. They made shots and Bayless had a heck of game. It took us until to the fourth quarter until we turned it and we unfortunately lost the game.

(on their record against teams with winning records)
I don’t pay too much attention that. A lot of times it’s not so much who we are playing but how we are handling our assessments and our assignments and doing the things we are supposed to do. The majority of the game we didn’t do that tonight and they outplayed us.

(on the performance of the Blazers despite injuries)
This is the NBA. One guy goes down and another guy gets an opportunity. Tonight, it was Bayless. He had been playing very well and he got an opportunity. Other guys made shots and they are all NBA players. You know you are going to get their best shot.

(on the missed offensive rebound late in the game)
The last one really hurt. I think it was an awkward miss and we knew we needed that rebounded to have a chance in the game and we didn’t come up with it.

Richard Jefferson

(on LaMarcus Aldridge’s game)
He hit some shots. He did what he normally does. In the end of the day, even if Tim was guarding him he can put up those numbers. He didn’t have a 40 point game on us. I don’t know what his final numbers are but they aren’t probably too far off his average. Whether I am guarding him or whoever is guarding him and he hits his average, you are just trying to make it as difficult as possible.

(on the Blazers fighting through injuries)
It isn’t necessarily their best punch, you just understand they have some young guys out there who are going to get minutes who are going to play with confidence. They have a lot more of leash now and if they are hitting shots it makes it a lot more difficult. They are not one turnover and out of the game, they are getting to get their rhythm and feel. They were hitting a lot of tough shots against us and tonight just wasn’t our night.

(on Roger Mason’s hot streak)
I think that’s going to be the story for a lot of people on this team. Everyone is going to have their four or five game stretch where they are shooting the ball really well and then they are going to struggle because someone like Manu is shooting the ball well too (so the other player) is going to get a few more minutes. That’s what being a team is about. That when your number is called you are able to step up and do what Coach and team needs.

(on the last 3-pointer he took in the game)
No. It didn’t feel good coming off my fingers. The only shots I missed tonight where 3-pointers. I didn’t have a good touch from 3-point range tonight. You knock them down and shoot them all with confidence and tonight just wasn’t one of those nights.

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