Quotes from the Lakers-Hawks (12/16/99) and Lakers-TWolves (12/17/99) games

Quotes from the Lakers-Hawks (12/16/99) and Lakers-TWolves (12/17/99) games

Post by QUOTEP.. » Sun, 19 Dec 1999 04:00:00

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Saturday, Dec 18, 1999
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The Quote Post by Garret Okamoto
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Quotes from the Lakers-Hawks (12/16/99) and Lakers-TWolves (12/17/99)
games

I still don't have NG access (or time), so I have to again ask Ralph or
Geof to send this quote post to the Lakers NG and RSBP.  Thank you in
advance.

Lue said that he is feeling better and should be able to practice with
the team soon.  Knight is now eligible to come off the injured list,
but Jackson said that he would not come off the injured list unless one
of their current big men got hurt.

I sent some of the Atlanta quotes yesterday, so I apologize if I'm
confusing people by putting two games on the some quote post.  This
will probably be the last time I'll get to do one of these for awhile.
---

Trying to avoid blasting the refs after the game, Shaq:
"I'd rather save my money, it's Christmastime." (LBPT, LADN, RPE, LAT)

Unable to hold back, Shaq said:
"Three refs out there, six fouls -- one guy called five fouls, <Monty
McCutchen>. That should tell you something about these (bleeping)
idiots that they got calling the game. They suck. They stink. They need
to get some new ones." (LBPT, LADN, RPE, LAT)
Note: Earlier this season, Nick Van Exel also had a big problem with
McCutchen:
"I just said, 'You all are some sorry (expletives),' and (McCutchen)
threw me out. Do I regret it? I wanted to do more, so actually, I don't
regret it." (OCR)  OCR notes that Nick and Shaq are still close friends.

Asked about his Christmas money going to pay fines, Shaq:
"Don't care. I don't give a (bleep)." (LBPT, LADN, RPE)

About Mutombo, Kobe said:
"Same old Dikembe. Same old fouling Dikembe. . . . Everybody knows
Dikembe, he's known for his defense. And his fouling." (LAT)

About the importance of winning while Shaq had a bad game, Kobe said:
"I think if anything it will build character, because there's certain
times when he might get in foul trouble or I might get in foul trouble,
and we have to step up as a unit and do it together.... (The win) will
build confidence, maybe not for tomorrow night but later on, in April,
in May." (LBPT, LADN)

Feeling that Shaq was shortchanged by the refs, Phil:
"(O'Neal) started off with Mutombo getting a couple blocks that
probably should have been fouls that weren't called, and it just kind
of grew from there. One thing led to another and I think that
ultimately he wasn't even given a chance to play in the last part of
the game. Everything seemed to be a foul, whatever he did. .. Some
nights are going to be like that." (LBPT, LADN, RPE, LAT)

Praising their bench play in the game, Jackson said:
"I thought we had a real nice supporting cast. Salley did a nice job.
Obviously our bench played well. Experience helped them. Kobe picked up
the scoring slack, and we were able to play a pretty good third
quarter." (RPE)

Feeling that Horry's play has been critical for their success lately,
Jackson said:
"Robert's playing great. I've told him that there's a chance that he
could make us a great team or we'll just be a good team without him
playing the way he can play. And he's just elevated himself into a
position where we get stronger with him coming off the bench and into
the game." (LAT)

About how Horry's hasn't looked to score much, Phil:
"He's yet to really take an active role and desire to score, but the
rest of his game, the rebounding, the passing, the blocked shot
sequences . . . [there are] just multiple things he's helping us with."
(LAT)

About how they won despite his bad game, Shaq said:
"It means we're a pretty good team. We just have to maintain our pace
and just get better. We're going to be fine. I like the way this team
is playing now." (LBPT, LADN)

Praising his teammates, Shaq said:
"My teammates played well. They stuck up for me. We got out of here
with a win. That's all that matters. Nothing else really matters." (RPE)

After playing a season-high 20 minutes (7pts/1blk, 2reb/4foul), Salley
said:
"Felt like I'm worth my money now. I had to make up for that Houston
game (when O'Neal was suspended and Salley started)." (LBPT, LADN)

"Feel like I'm worth my money now." (LAT)

Glad his big game came in Atlanta, where his Mom lives, Salley said:
"She's 76 years old. She's sitting back watching [from home]. She was
probably saying, 'Johnny, you're playing too many minutes!' " (LAT)

About his role on their team, Salley said:
"Make something happen. Get a tip, get a rebound, get a pass, foul
hard, block a shot, score when the opportunity's there. Play
basketball." (LBPT, LADN)

About those who believe that the Lakers need another big man, Salley
said:
"Those are called critics, and I don't pay attention to critics. Phil
(Jackson) knows. Basketball people know what I do." (LBPT, LADN, LAT)

About blocking one of Mutombo's shots, Salley:
"That was for my teammates." (LAT)

Fisher had one contact knocked out of his eye by a Mutombo elbow, and
had to play the last 1:59 of the game with one contact.  He made 1-2
FTs and a steal over that time and described the experience:
"Definitely split vision -- one good eye, one bad eye. But I had to go
to the free-throw line and at least make one of those free throws."
(LBPT, LADN)

Shooting with both eyes open (resulting in blurred vision), Fisher said:
"I thought about it, but I figured I have a better chance with (both
eyes), a 75 percent chance of going in, instead of just 50." (LBPT,
LADN)

Rider got into a shouting match with a fan after the game, and while
being held back by security guards' Rider yelled to the man:
"Stay right there -- I got some boys that will come see you." (LBPT,
LADN)

Feeling that Shaq should continue to flourish in their system, Jackson
said:
"Shaq's game is a very simple game. Put him in the post and let him
overpower people. But the ability to throw the ball to him and
configure your offense around him takes five-man organization. (On Dec.
8) Sacramento was able to keep us from doing that at critical times.
Even though Shaq was very good in that ballgame in many ways (he scored
27 points in a 103-91 loss), he didn't get his teammates involved with
his passing and he didn't get shot blocks and he only had three
rebounds at halftime. Really, the energy was missing that particular
game." (OCR)
Note: Jackson called Shaq's play that day "good, but not great." (OCR)
However, Jackson said that Shaq has been "great" overall. (OCR)

About Shaq being "great" overall this season, Phil:
"That's what we have to have for us to be a top-echelon game. He can
provide that for us. He has that ability." (OCR)
Note: Shaq leads the league in scoring (27.6ppg), is 2nd in rebounding
(14.3), 3rd in blocks (3.3), and 3rd in FG percentage (.588).

Feeling that Shaq is the best in the NBA right now, Doc Rivers said:
"Shaq now has catapulted himself back to the top of the league. He's
the most valuable player, no question. He's the best Shaq I've ever
seen. He's doing all those things now that we always thought he could
do, but he didn't do." (OCR)

Feeling that Jackson has made Shaq better, Dave Wohl (a Lakers
assistant last season) said:
"Shaq really needed someone to push him, to make demands of him, to
demand that he live up to his potential. Phil -- because of what he has
done -- was the right person to do that. He laid down the auntlet for
Shaq and said, 'Here's the bar. It's higher than you thought it was.' "
(OCR)

After the Dallas game (the first game of their season to be shown in LA
on tape delay), Salley called home and talked with his confused wife:
Salley said: "It's me, John!" (OCR)
His wife hung up on him. Salley called again and insisted it was him.
She replied: "It can't be you. I'm watching the game right now, and
you're playing!" (OCR)
Note: Eventually, she believed him when he said the game was being
shown on tape delay.

Pointing underneath his heart, George talked about an incident 3 years
ago:
"There was just one bullet. There wasn't a lot of *** or anything.
There was just one, small, little bullet." (OCR)
Note: George had just completed his first year of college and was
visiting home that day.  He went to his North Minneapolis home to do
laundry. OCR reported that "he normally avoided going home because
their house sits in the crossfire of an urban war zone that back then
was gripped by a particularly vicious wave of *** rooted in gangs
and ***." (OCR)  He was upstairs when he heard popping sounds out
front.  He thought it was firecrackers. Devean's younger brother,
Chafe, was on the porch talking with two other bosy. Chafe's best
friend, Byron Phillips Jr., 11, also on that porch became an unintended
victim of a drive-by gang shooting.  Byron yelled:

"Chafe! Chafe! I'm shot!" (OCR)
Note: Devean heard this and ran for the phone.

When she came home, Devean's Mom said:
"Devean came out and said, 'Mom, (Byron's) been shot!' I was so
nervous, I remember telling him, 'Devean, you know that CPA or CPR or
whatever! What do we do?' " (OCR)
Note: Devean called 911 and the operator told him to take off Byron's
shirt and look for holes. His Mom Carol talked about what happened:
"When Devean saw that, he freaked out. He started screaming at
me, 'You've got to get out of this neighborhood! Right now! I don't
care how you do it!' " (OCR)
Note: Byron died at the scene.  A week later, Carol added that another
man was shot and killed outside their house. Carol said that from that
day forward, Devean always told his family that if he ever made it to
the NBA, he was going to get them out of that house.  Of course, then
Devean was a skinny kid who averaged just 15 points for unknown
Augsburg College (Division III).  Devean became the only Division III
player ever drafted in the NBA's first round.  He may also be the only
NBA player still paying off school loans.

About how things were in their neighborhood, Devean:
"You'd see ***, shootings, stabbings all the time. A couple years
ago, there were killings every day and I think The New York Times
called it '***-apolis.' It got out of hand." (OCR)

Crediting his parents for why he and his siblings never got involved
with the street life, Devean:
"A lot of kids don't have that kind of support and they go looking for
a family. The gangs make them feel like they have a family. We never
had to look for that thanks to our mom and dad." (OCR)
Note: Both of Devean's parents worked two jobs so that they could send
all of their boys to Catholic schools.  Eddie was a truck driver and
did night security. Carol operated a hair salon and worked as a
custodian.  Devean was just 5'10" when graduating from high school and
got no scholarship offers. Augsburg coach Brian Ammann, though, was
interested  in George who "looked like a skeleton with skin wrapped
around him." (OCR)  DIII schools don't have athletic scholarships.
Augsburg costs $20k per year.  George's parents said that they would
find a way so that he could afford the college.

Augsburg coach Brian Ammann said:
"When I recruited Devean, I told him that we don't produce professional
basketball players, we produce professionals in whatever field you
choose to go into. I told him we're not in the business of putting guys
into the NBA." (OCR)
Note: George spent his freshman year on the DIII school's JV team.
However, he went through a big growth spurt and went from 5'10" before
college to a well-muscled 6'7" as a senior.  Division I schools offered
him scholarships after he grew and began playing better...but he didn't
transfer because he figured he would lose too many academic credits.
Note: George was the very last player invited to the Portsmouth camp,
and was named to the all-tournament team, "establishing himself as a
late-blooming, Division III version of Scottie Pippen, who emerged from
Division II." (OCR)

About how George has always been the underdog, Ammann:
"Devean has been the underdog his whole life. He likes to prove that he
can play when nobody else thought he could. He proved me wrong about
the NBA, and now nothing Devean does surprises me anymore." (OCR)

About why he worked *** his academics, George said:
"I was paying too much money not to take my classes seriously." (OCR)
Note: George attended the graduation ceremony last spring, one course
short of a degree in marketing/communications. About the graduation
ceremony, George:
"I think my parents were more e***d on that day than they were on
draft day. It was something that they had invested in and gotten
results." (OCR)

About feeling more comfortable now, George said:
"I haven't looked around the locker room lately and said to
myself, 'Wow, I'm here.' " (OCR)
Note in OCR: "Jackson considers the athletic George one of the better
defenders among his small forwards." (OCR)

Still shocked that George is playing basketball for a living, Carol
George said:
"I never saw this coming. We worked extra jobs because that's what you
do for your kids. We wanted him to have that education. It never
crossed our minds that he would someday play in the NBA." (OCR)
Note: Carol still holds her second job, even though Devean has offered
to pay her not to work. Three men were convicted for Byron's ***--
They had been gunning for a rival gang member and hit Byron instead.
The George family bought a house this week in Champlin, Minn, about 30
minutes away from their old neighborhood.  Devean is making good on his
promise to use part of his NBA salary to get his family out of harm's
way. About that, Devean:
"My brother and his friend were just sitting on the porch. They weren't
involved in anything. That's what scares me. My mom could be walking
home from the grocery store and get caught in the middle of something
going down. It's not worth it, and that's why I'm working to get them
out."
(OCR)

--- Some quotes from the Minnesota game ---

The Lakers led 56-28 at halftime, with a 31-12 reb edge. They ended up
winning 97-88.  They have now won the first two games of their 4-game
East Coast road trip (one of their 3 East Coast road trips this
season).  They have one day off and then will have another back-to-back
set of road games.

The Lakers are now 17-0 with the rebounding edge.
---

Note: George got into the game for the last 22 or 28 seconds of the
first half, and received a nice round of applause from the Minnesota
crowd.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't touch the ball then and the
TWolves' comeback prevented him from getting any garbage-time minutes.
He had 30 people at the Minnesota game, and said:
"I've been getting minutes some nights, but not tonight. Still, it's a
thrill to be back, to be in a Lakers' uniform. We've been winning, and
that makes everything great." (MST)
Note: George got 18 tickets from teammates and coaches and purchased
the other 12 tickets from the ticket window at the Target Center lobby.
A pro basketball player actually stood in line to buy 12 tickets for
friends and family for a game that he was playing in!

About George, Jackson said:
"Right now, Devean's learning to play basketball. He has a future in
this game, but it's going to take time." (MST)

Evaluating the game, Jackson said:
"I thought the game was played sporadically, if anything. It was a
poorly focused effort by the Lakers in the second half, although you
have to give the Timberwolves some credit for scrapping. . . . They got
back in the ballgame just purely on hustle." (LBPT, LADN)

"The game was played in spurts. I just felt it was an unusual, strange
game. We blew it open in the second quarter, then held on. We just sat
on the lead and played only when we had to." (MST)

About having a talk with his team after the game about how they blew
their lead, Jackson said:
"It was a very unusual, strange game. We just blew it open in the
second quarter and then sat on a lead in the third quarter and were
willing to play when we had to play. That's not the way I like a team
to play basketball, so we had a discussion after the game about that."
(LBPT, LADN)

"I had a little talk with the team about how we played this game. We
started out the third quarter like we were playing street ball and let
them outhustle us. Minnesota got back in the game purely on hustle."
(SPPE)

Easing up a little but on the criticism, Jackson:
"We had some good execution on a few plays down the stretch. Right now,
it's more important that our defense stays strong." (SPPE)

After the game, Jackson wasn't sounding that pleased:
"It was a matter of us having to spend too much energy to win a
ballgame." (OCR, SPPE)

Of course, before the game Jackson said:
"I don't see anything but a tough contest." (OCR)

Jackson added before the game that this game was:
"something that will test the mettle of our character as a team." (OCR)

Jackson warned before the game that Minnesota would be: "out for
***." (OCR)

About the defense Minnesota used in the 2nd half to fuel their
comeback, Jackson said:
"They got a real job done because they got turnovers and ended up
squeezing us a little bit. And our guys didn't shoot the ball well in
the second half." (OCR)

After noting that the defense Minnesota used during their comeback was
often an illegal one, Jackson:
"I think the referees just wanted to make it a competitive game." (OCR)

"I guess the referees wanted a competitive game." (MST)
Note: When Flip Saunders was told that Jackson said that their zone
defense was an illegal one, Saunders replied: "Knowing our guys, it
might have been." (OCR)
Saunders said that they meant to just use a strongside zone (which is
legal), but they might have been messing that up and using an illegal
defense. According to SPPE: "Jackson believed the Wolves were guilty of
double-teaming away from the ball on both sides of the court. New rules
allow double-teams and traps on the strong side (the side the ball is
on) away from the basket." (SPPE)

Using the prod again on Shaq, Jackson said:
"Shaq didn't rebound the ball in the second half. I think he had 12 in
the first half and one in the second. He had a lackadaisical effort in
the second half." (AP,
OCR)

"Shaq didn't rebound at all in the second half. It was a lackadaisical
effort for him in the second half." (MST)
Note: Jackson has done this type of criticism all season, mainly
directed at Shaq, Rice, and Kobe (on a type of rotating basis it seems
to me). Whatever area he's singled out for criticism thus far (Rice's
defense, Kobe's passing, Shaq's FTs and weight) has shown a noticeable
improvement since the criticism (even Shaq's FT shooting). I'll bet
Shaq gets 20 or so rebounds in the Lakers next game, with this type of
comment from Jackson.

About their strategy in this game, Kobe said:
"We just wanted to dissect them. We wanted to take our time and really
pick them apart. We were able to cut them up in parts of the game." (AP)

"We were just trying to dissect them.  We just wanted to take our time
and really pick them apart. We were able to do that. We were able to
cut them up in certain parts of the game." (LBPT, LADN)
Note: Kobe had 28 points and a career-high 12 assists.

About coming to the NBA straight from high school the year after
Garnett did it, Kobe said:
"Yeah, I would have come out [directly to the NBA] if Kevin hadn't. He
just made it easier for me to do it." (MST)

After noting how his improved passing is a sign that he's getting
comfortable with his teammates and their new offense, Kobe said:
My (court) vision is coming back." (LBPT, LADN)

About how he and Shaq have been getting involved in more and more nice
passing plays, Kobe said:
"That kind of comes from playing with each other. . . . We're still
getting to learn one another, but we're getting better at it. Like I
knew he was going to be there before I made the move to the baseline
(in the fourth quarter)." (LBPT, LADN)

About tying his season high with 7 assists, Shaq:
"They were doubling and tripling and I'm very unselfish, so I was
getting guys like Rick (Fox) and Robert (Horry) open. They made me look
good, just like last night." (AP)

About how he/Kobe/Rice combined for 75 points, Shaq:
"Three amigos do it again. We got three weapons on this team. Nice to
have." (LBPT, LADN)

About only being credited for 1 rebound in the second half, Shaq said:
"I had more than that. The local statisticians just don't want me to
get the league lead in rebounds. I had more than that. I had more than
one (expletive) rebound." (OCR)

"That's not true. I had more than that. That's just the local stat guys
not willing to give me my numbers." (SPPE)

Not satisfied with how they played, Shaq said:
"They brought their 'A' game; we brought our 'B' game." (OCR)

Asked why they stopped going inside in the 2nd half, Shaq:
"There was too much dribbling out there." (MST)

Not satisfied with how they played, Rice said:
"We realize that it was definitely not one of our best games, and we
could've played a lot better." (OCR)

Having trouble adjusting to coming off the bench, Fisher:
"Starting the game, especially as a guard and floor leader, it's
important to set the tone. Coming off the bench, you kind of have to
adjust to the flow of the game instead of setting the flow of the game.
For me, it has been a little different and difficult at times." (OCR)

"Once I get out there for a few minutes, it's not much different. But
those initial three or four minutes have been a little weird for me."
(OCR)

About having a talk with Fisher about his shot selection, Jackson said:
"I've been on him a little bit about his choice of shots --to make sure
that his shots are legitimately coming out of this offense. That's what
the offense is for." (OCR)

About how Fisher's struggles to get used to coming off the bench is
something to be expected, Jackson:
"It's natural coming off the bench that you're not going to have quite
the same level of play or be quite as proficient as you were before.
But there are also advantages to being an impact player or sparkplug or
giving the team something by being prepared." (OCR)
Note: I think that Fisher has been doing a good job off the bench, and
gives the Lakers another source of scoring off their bench.

About how Shaq made both FTs in a clutch situation with 1:34 left,
TWolves coach Flip Saunders said:
"That's not great for the whole league. Because if Shaq gets to the
point where he gets a comfort level being able to make those coming
down the stretch, then that's going to put a lot of misery on a lot of
teams in this league." (AP)
Note: Shaq's FTs gave the Lakers an 8-point lead. It also short-
circuited the rally by the TWolves.  They weren't able to cut the lead
below that 8-pt cushion.

About how they couldn't match up with Shaq, Saunders:
"We don't have any size." (MST)
Note to McHale: Elden would have helped you folks here.

Happy with much of this loss, Saunders said:
"I was happy with the players and happy with the crowd. The crowd could
have turned on us when we went through the bad stretch and the players
could have folded. Those things happen. [But] the crowd really juiced
us and the guys responded. Young guys, that's what they need." (MST)

Sharing some habits with Jackson, Saunders said:
"I've actually read some Zen books." (MST)

About Jackson's charge that they were using an illegal zone defense,
Saunders said:
"If Phil says we were playing a zone, I take it as a compliment. He was
doing the same thing when he had (Michael) Jordan, (Scottie) Pippen and
(Ron) Harper in Chicago." (SPPE)

After they cut the lead to 7 with 5.5 minutes left, Garnett shouted to
his teammates in the huddle:
"This is our chance right here." (AP)
Note: Garnett set a franchise record with 21 rebs. He also added 28
points and played his great fire.

Impressed by Tiny Archibald in their locker room, Garnett told
reporters:
"There's a legend walking around here and you guys are waiting on me."
(AP)

About their losing streak, Garnett said:
"I have no idea what to say. It's not an easy journey. With these
losses, when we start winning, it should feel that much sweeter." (AP)

"Right now, it's tough being a Timberwolf. But the fans are like the
outlet and I'm the battery charging up. For anything to work, you have
to plug it up." (MST)

About how this was the best they have played in awhile, Sam Mitchell
said:
"But for the first time in a while I saw some light. We did some good
things. We just have to stick together and we'll come out of it." (MST)

After he published his book on the triple-post offense, Tex Winter got
a letter from a rancher:
"He wanted me to send him a copy of the book. He said the triple-
post 'fence' was just the thing he was looking for to help him with his
herd." (SPPE)

About the offense, Winter said:
"It's really very simple. It's basically a junior high, high school
type of offense that entails the principles, the fundamentals, that
every player should start learning at those levels . . . The
complexities of the triple-post really are overrated." (SPPE)

"It's not the offense, it's the execution of the offense that matters."
(SPPE)
Note: Winter's book has 135 diagrams in the 230 pages about the
offense.  He has since had 37 years to refine the offense.

"With the Bulls, the focal points were Michael (Jordan) and Scottie
(Pippen). They could score from anywhere on the floor, including the
post. With the Lakers, our apex is Shaq (O'Neal), and it will be Kobe
(Bryant). It's the execution that makes it work. The better basketball
players you have, the better the offense is going to work." (SPPE)

"The offense begins with a triangle down the post, on one baseline. One
player sets up in the corner, one in the low post and one up near the
three-point line. They form a triangle, leaving the other two players
on the weak side for one-on-one isolation. Everyone is
interchangeable. . . . New triangles form depending on where the entry
pass goes and where everyone cuts." (SPPE)
SPPE note: "In the Lakers' version of the offense, which does not
require a true point guard because everyone can play everywhere, guards
Bryant and Ron Harper take the ball up the floor most of the time.
O'Neal, 7 feet 1, 315 pounds, sets up on the low post, forming the
prominent point of the triangle. Veteran A.C. Green often makes up the
second point in the corner, leaving Harper -- one of the best passers
on the team -- to make the initial entry pass, which determines where
the next triangle forms. Forward Glen Rice sometimes starts on the
strong side of the triangle, in place of Green, but lately he has been
setting up on the weak side, where he can isolate his defender.

Then the motion -- and commotion for defenses -- begins.

Some naysayers believed the offense wouldn't work in Hollywood. After
all, it requires discipline -- and some questioned whether O'Neal would
adapt to it.

But the offense, although it sputters at times, is working, and Lakers
general manager Jerry West said O'Neal is the league's most valuable
player so far. It doesn't workas well as it did in Chicago, but give it
time. It took the Bulls at least 18 months to fully learn it.

The Lakers, although still working out the kinks, are 18-5 and lead the
Pacific Division." (SPPE)

About the Bulls' triangle offense now, Winter said:
"They've done a good job, as far as keeping the concepts.  They just
don't have the players right now to run it." (SPPE)

About the Lakers' triangle offense, Flip Saunders:
"I think no matter what offense they'd run, if they keep the same
principles as far as team basketball, running the ball, then they'd be
successful. What the triangle offense does is make it very difficult
for teams, because of the movement it creates, to go trap people. But
in order for that to be effective, you have to have a dominating player
that has the ability to play. They have that in Shaq and also with
Kobe. When they had that in Chicago, they had it with Michael. That's
one of the keys. You can't run that offense with just any players. You
can run it, but it's not going to be nearly as effective." (SPPE)

About defending the Lakers' triangle offense, Saunders:
"I think you've got to decide what you want to take away and what
you're willing to give up. More than anything, you have to defend the
personnel. You're not defending the offense, you're defending the
personnel in the offense." (SPPE)

Not satisfied with how they played, Jackson:
"It was a matter of us having to spend too much energy to win a
ballgame. . . . We just blew it open in the second quarter and then
just sat on our lead in the third quarter and were willing to play when
we had to play. That's not the way I like a team to play basketball,
and we had a discussion after the game about that." (LAT)

About the limited playing time George got, Jackson:
"Well, Devean's learning basketball and he's learning it the hard way."
(LAT)

About getting the bulk of their points from Shaq, Kobe, and Rice,
Jackson said:
"That's what you have to win with on the road, with the guys who come
to the dance and the guys who are the tickets." (LAT)

Not satisfied with how they played, Shaq said:
"Every team we play, they're going to bring their 'A' game. They
brought their 'A' game. We brought our 'B' game. It was good enough for
us to win." (LAT)

About being credited with only 1 rebound in the second half, Shaq said:
"I had more than that. The local statisticians just don't want me to
get the league lead. I had more than that. The local statisticians
don't want me to lead, they won't give me any rebounds. I know I had
more than one rebound." (LAT)

About the production from he, Kobe, and Rice, Shaq:
"The three amigos do it again. Yep, got three weapons on this team.
It's nice to have." (LAT)

About how he and Shaq are learning to play with each other in this
offense, Kobe said:
"That kind of comes from playing with each other. I know you've seen
certain times when I come off pick-and-rolls, and I'll hit Shaq and the
pass will be too hard, because I think he's still stepping out. We're
still going to learn one another, but we're getting better at it." (LAT)

About their play in most of this game, Rice said:
"We had a rhythm. We had a lot of shots that were pretty easy shots,
guys were moving to the open slots, we were working the ball around
very well." (LAT)

Praising his teammates, Shaq said:
"They were double- and triple-teaming (Kobe and me) and other guys were
getting open. And they made me look good." (USA)

Feeling they have a lot of room for improvement, Kobe:
"This year, we've been doing a pretty good job of putting teams away. I
feel like we're playing OK basketball. We can play a lot better." (USA)

After scoring 23 points, Rice said:
"It was one of those games where I came out and shot the ball when I
was open. Most of them were going in, that's what I have to continue to
keep doing." (USA)

Evaluating their loss, Flip Saunders said:
"We played hard, getting better, but nothing to show for it -- that's
where we're at. We've all been there many times before and you can't
fall behind a good team and exert so much energy trying to catch up. At
the end, our guys were really tired down the stretch." (USA)

About the loss, Brandon said:
"Tonight was a tough game to come out and get a win. They are well-
coached and Shaq and Kobe play so hard, especially on national TV."
(USA)

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