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Post-Game Quotes

Feb. 21, 2011

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Opening statement:
“Got off to a pretty good start. Did some of the things that we wanted to do: try to score in transition; if we didn’t have anything in transition, use the clock a little bit and space the floor out. I thought we did a pretty decent job, but the one thing we didn’t do for the entire first half, which was a number two priority behind stopping from three, was defensive rebounding. They had six in the second chance points, which was something, they feast on that. They get second shots, get offensive rebounds and kick them out for threes or drive them up too easy. That was tough to overcome.”

On satisfaction with the three-point defense:
“Yeah. I wasn’t satisfied with the rebounding because the rebounds led to some of the threes they got. I think they were 2-for-6 in the first half, excuse me, 4-for-10 in the first half, and I’m going to guess three of them were from inside-outs off the offensive rebound, which is hard to defend.”

On defending Nolan Smith and Shumpert getting into foul trouble:
“In the second half he just got going. I thought in the first half, I really think it was our inability. We gave up 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and that might change the game a little bit. I’m not sure the foul trouble had much to do with that difference. He’s [Nolan Smith] a great player. He’s having a great year. More than likely the player of the year in the league. He’s got a chance to do something that’s never been done in this league and that’s a pretty big statement to say that something’s never been done in a positive way.”


Opening statement:
“I was pleased with our performance tonight. Georgia Tech is always a difficult game, especially with [Iman] Shumpert and [Glen] Rice. They’re two of the better players in the league. They started a little bit different line up. They didn’t start their two bigs and the game plan we had was not appropriate defensively for the team we were playing against. We put our guys in positions that weren’t very good. [It] got us scattered. We changed it after a few minutes. Once we settled down [and] played our regular defense, I thought we played really well defensively. [Tyler] Thornton was a huge plus for us. The offensive rebounding in the first half and then our defense … we got nine fouls, and I’m not saying they weren’t fouls, well most of them, we were fouling too much and then we started just playing very disciplined defense. We got Nolan [Smith] in there with two fouls and he played about four minutes without getting a third. We ended the half in really a beautiful manner. I thought it was outstanding the way we ended the half. In the second half, it carried over. We continued to play well. We didn’t turn it over very much. Eighteen and 10 on assists and turnovers, but Thornton gave us just a really huge boost.”

On adjustments made at timeout before half:
“We just wanted to get a two-for-one and we wanted to make sure Nolan did not foul. Tyler [Thornton] made a play on his own there. His defense of [Iman] Shumpert was very good, so that kept Nolan out of foul trouble even in the second half. We just executed really well. It was really good basketball, those last few minutes, for us, of the first half.”

On game plan heading into tonight:
“Going into the game, their two guys averaged taking 25 shots apiece. They were taking almost all their shots. When they were in different spots, we wanted to make sure we were running people at them. When they have two big guys in the game, you can do that and not give up threes, but when they have four perimeter guys in, it’s just not a good strategy. [Maurice] Miller got open. [Lance] Storrs got open. We got spread out too much and were reaching and grabbing. We needed to get back to playing a different way, the way we normally play.”

On the national rankings:
“After Kyrie got hurt, we were just No. 1 for a long time because we didn’t lose. That’s just the nature of the polls. I never felt we were the No. 1 team in the country after that. I did when [Kyrie] was with us. I think we’re a good team and we just got to keep winning. Whatever happens in that, with seeding and all that will just work out. We just need to take care of our own business on getting better. It’s the time of the year where people are desperate. You’re playing desperate people sometimes. The teams that are ranked high all get great shots from everyone. I do think that can make you better before going into the tournament. I’m not surprised at all these games. We play Temple on Wednesday; they’re top-25 and go to Blacksburg on Saturday. Those are going to be really difficult games for us, but that’s good. We shouldn’t worry about what it does in the polls. The conference race we should be concerned about. We want to finish well in the conference race.”

On Nolan Smith:
“He keeps getting better. [Brian] Zoubek got better. You get better if you want to get better. He wants to get better. The fact that he’s one of two leaders, he understands this responsibility of showing up at a high level every game. I’m sure that he was excited about matching up with [Iman] Shumpert. We believe Shumpert is as talented as any guard in our league. He’s done well; he’s been very good. That gets you going, too. It brings out more in you. Nolan’s had an incredible year. I never talk about player of the year, but it’s not even close in our conference. This kid nationally has got to be recognized. He’s been consistent even with Kyrie and then Kyrie goes down and that’s a big load. I don’t think anyone in the country has had that change and especially not the preseason and the first part of the season to prepare for your role. He just, `Ok I’ll be Spider man. I’ll sing the lead. I’ll take all those.’ I think it’s one of the best performances in a long time in our league, especially when you consider those things.”

On the team’s improvement:
The big guys keep getting better. Mason [Plumlee]and Ryan [Kelly] had really good games. Our defense has been pretty solid. We’ve been a very good defensive team. And we’re rebounding well. Whenever we take care of the ball like we did tonight, 18 and 10, then we’ve played pretty well. We still win sometimes when we get 10 and 15, but it taxes your defense. When we don’t turn it over, then they have to come against a good set defense. That’s still our staple and has been our staple for 31 ye


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