Interview: Miller on Suns, adjustments, Aldridge, intensity, booing
Portland Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller spoke with the media Friday following practice at the team’s workout facility in Tualatin, Ore.
Miller on playing “nastier” in the series:
A sense of urgency. We showed some signs in the second half, but we kind of lost a little self control the way the game was going. But we did hit a few guys. Sometimes you have to do that to get yourself going.
On what has happened the past two games:
Transition. They’ve played their game. That’s something they’ve been doing all year. They went into the playoffs on a winning streak; good second part of the season. They just got back to what they’ve been doing.
On getting more from LaMarcus Aldridge:
We’ve just got to keep force-feeding him. We’re not going to go away from him. He’s still getting to the free-throw line. We’ve just got to get him in a better position to get the ball up to the basket before the double team comes. And it’s tough when a team focuses on you and wants to take you out. So we’ve got to keep force-feeding him the ball. And when the double team comes, we have to be able to rotate the ball around.
On being surprised by the Blazers’ slow starts:
A little bit. But that team, they’re leaking out. We’ve got to get more guys back to cover their transition and force them to play a little bit of half court. But you’ve got to get them credit. They’re double teaming, they’re rotating. And when the shot goes up, those wing guys are getting out and running hard.
On whether Portland still has enough weapons to win:
I think we do. We’ve just got to get back to our basics. We had a couple games of a lot of slippage, but we’ve got to get it together right away.
On whether he would have booed himself:
I wouldn’t have booed myself (laughs). But you’ve still got to go out there and compete. The fans want to see a good game. And they’ve got to understand: This is the playoffs, and the effort — we was trying to get there, but they played with a better game plan. They executed their game plan better than us.
On being surprised by the outcomes of Games 2 and 3:
A little bit surprised. It’s not too often you look at the playoff scoreboard and you see a team get blown out twice. But you put those games behind you. And you continue to keep working hard, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.
On making adjustments:
We’ve made adjustments. They’re hitting us hard, quick. We just talked about controlling their first-half output, and we’ve got to adjust. They’re trapping me and LaMarcus a little bit; putting a lot of length on us. We’ve got to have the confidence in the rest of the guys to get the job done.
On Portland’s adjustments:
We’re trying to be a little bit more aggressive on the pick-and-rolls with Steve Nash. When he’s controlling the ball a lot, everybody gets involved. Right now, he’s getting the ball and just kicking it up. He’s doing the right things at the right time. That’s what a smart point guard does. We just have to mix it up like they’re mixing it up.
On having Nicolas Batum in the lineup:
I don’t know. I don’t know what’s up with Nic.
On guarding Jason Richardson more and giving up a little on Amare Stoudemire:
No. We don’t want to give up anything to either of them. We’ve just got to pay more attention to Richardson. Face guard him and keep a body on him at all times. He’s just kind of running around there loose.
On being guarded by Phoenix’s Grant Hill:
It hasn’t really been difficult. It’s just they’ve been more aggressive on the pick and roll, so I can’t really turn the corner. Just making the simple plays. If they double team, kick the ball around. And then also, they’re loading up in transition, knowing that when we do get the ball, he’s right there for the outlets … kind of shadowing me down the court.
On whether Aldridge is frustrated:
I don’t think he’s frustrated. He’s a young guy. For the most part, I think he’s doing a pretty good job as far as still being able to get to the free throw line and keeping himself involved. When you’re getting double teamed, you’ve got to move the ball around. I think he’s been doing that. He’s been surprised with a little double team. Not surprised, but had a few turnovers against him. But for the most part, I think he’s done a decent job as far as keeping his head in the game.