Quotes from the Lakers-Sonics game 5/2/99

Quotes from the Lakers-Sonics game 5/2/99

Post by Garret Okamot » Tue, 04 May 1999 04:00:00

ST  = Seattle Times              LAT = LA Times
OCR = Orange County Register     USA = USA Today
CBS = CBS Sportsline             AP  = Associated Press
SPI = Seattle Post-Intelligencer
LADN = LA Daily News
SJMN = San Jose Mercury News
LBPT = Long Beach Press-Telegram
Ruben Patterson missed the game because he's home in
Ohio due to a family illness.  Shaq said that his knee
started to bother him late in the first half.  He played
all of the first quarter and 22 minutes in the 1st half.

Columnist in the Seattle Times: "Remember those consecutive
years in the 1990s when the Sonics lost in the first round
of the playoffs to Denver and Los Angeles?  Those look like
the good old days compared with this." (ST)

here is that Laker management didn't expect everything to
be sorted out by any interim coach, which is why Rambis
was served up as Del Harris' replacement. Longtime assistant
Larry Drew is considered by insiders to be more head-coach-
suitable. Rather than write off Drew in a suicidal assignment,
the Lakers wrote off the short-term solutions." (ST)

About Karl Malone, Danny Ainge said:
"All he does is play dirty and show no remorse for the
players he leaves injured on the floor. You never know
which Karl Malone is doing the talking, anyway. Is it
the one who says he's never playing in Utah again? Or
the one who is crying at a podium after renegotiating
his contract - for the fifth time. Or is it the one
who refers to himself in the third person. You might
as well call him Sybil." (ST)

About how they control their destiny about who will
have home-court advantage in the Houston series, Rambis:
"Right now we're in control of where we play in the first
round. The players were made aware of that." (OCR)

About how this team may not realize their potential for
a year or two, Rambis said:
"The team can be very good, but when do we reach our
capabilities? With all the changes and the newness of
some players, that may not be realized for a couple of
years. But I don't know when that's going to come.
Nobody does." (OCR)
Note: The above 2 quotes were from before the game.

Not quite satisfied with this win, Rambis said:
"I will never say I'm satisfield until we're winning
every game by 20. In my mind, there's always room for
improvement. We did an awful lot of good things today
and we still made some mistakes; some mental, some
physical." (USA)

"Until we're winning every game by 20, will I ever say
I'm satisfied with how we're playing? In my mind,
there's always room for improvement. We did an awful
lot of good things today. We still made some mistakes.
Some mental, some physical. But just based on what we
did defensively, I'm very happy." (LAT)

About how they need time together and to mature, Rambis:
"We have a lot of growing and maturing to do as a team.
People don't realize how many changes we've made. The
expectations of this team to return to the Western
Conference finals or win the NBA title would be realistic
if it were the same team. But it's not. We play like that
sometimes, just not consistently." (CBS)

Praising Fisher's solid 34 minute performance, Rambis:
"He was steady and distributing the ball to the right
people. He had a really steady and heady game today."

About how Kobe's whole game changes when he gets on a
roll after hitting a few shots, Rambis said:
"He gets it going, he makes a couple, you can tell that
he starts getting 'geeked.' He just plays stronger, he
plays harder, he plays more confident. You can see
that." (LBPT, LADN)

Understanding Rice's frustration with his strengths not
being integrated into the offense, Rambis said:
"I absolutely wholeheartedly understand his frustration." (LAT)

Not concerned about Rice's shooting percentage, Rambis:
"I'm not going away from him because he's missing shots.
Scorers are like that. They'll miss three or four in a
row and then they'll make five or six in a row. . . .
He has the confidence, I have the confidence in him,
that he has that capability to do that." (LAT)

About how the Lakers and Rice have to adjust to each
other, Rambis said:
"It's a matter of finding him when he's open. He's getting
open, we're just not finding him right now." (LBPT, LADN)

"It's a two-way street. We have to learn to play with him,
and he has to learn to play within the structure of our
team, too. He's gone from being the major go-to guy, to
being the second or third option sometimes in a lot of
our offense. It's gonna take him awhile to get used to
that. It's gonna take our players a while to get used
to what he likes to do. With the short season, the trade,
no practice time, it's just not conducive to players
learning how to play together." (LBPT, LADN)

About how Rice has to develop a spot-up shooting game
and sacrifice for the team, Rambis said:
"He's going to have to learn to develop that in his game." (ST)

"What it all comes down to is all the players have to
understand they have to make sacrifices for the benefit
of the ballclub. If that means giving up part of their
game for the team and improving in areas where they
haven't been asked to perform on past teams or past
years, that's something we all have to do." (LBPT, LADN)
Note: Rice *has* been getting a lot of open looks, but is
just missing them right now.  The one time he came off a
screen to catch-and-shoot, he buried the jumper--but Reid
was called for an illegal screen which wiped away the FG.

About the win, Shaq said:
"We played pretty good today. We played all-around ball.
We're gonna have to use our weapons and we did that
tonight." (USA)

About how they have been improving, Shaq said:
"We'll be a dangerous team in the playoffs." (ST)

Not surprised that the Sonics fouled him repeatedly down
the stretch (he made 5-of-10 FTs), Shaq said:
"I sit around the house and dream about situations like
that. I dream about being down by one and they foul me." (OCR)

"I sit around the house and wait for a situation like
that. I always make one. I'm gonna start making two. I
ain't missing no more." (USA)

"Usually, I make one. But I need to start making two so
they stop doing this." (AP)

"You guys may not believe this, but I hang around my house
dreaming of going to the free throw line down one to win
games for my team. I have since I came into the league.
(Today), I made some and I missed some. I'm not going to
miss that many down the stretch the rest of my career.
A couple of times, I didn't feel comfortable. I'll always
make one. I should make two. I'm not missing no more down
the stretch like that. I'm pissed at myself." (CBS, LADN,

"You guys probably don't believe this, but I sit around
the house and wait for situations like that. Especially
with me being 50% at the line. I have a dream of that,
my team down by one, they foul me and put me on the line.
I've been waiting for that since my second year in the
league. I'm not going to miss any more down the stretch--
not that many, anyway. I always make one. I'm going to
start making two at a time. I ain't missing no more."

About he, Kobe, and Rice, Shaq said:
"We have a lot of weapons. I was there in the first half,
and Kobe went off in the third quarter. Glen's going to
be there. He knows I need him and he needs me. We kept our
composure today and we would like to have home-court
advantage going into the playoffs. We just want to build
momentum." (CBS)

"First half, I had my way. Third quarter, guys were
looking out for Kobe, we kept going to him.  We're going
to have to use our weapons until they're not working.
. . . We played good defense and we played good team
ball and we're developing that momentum we're going to
need going into the playoffs." (LAT)

"I had my way in the first half, and then in the third
quarter, the guys recognized that Kobe was feeling it and
kept feeding him the ball. We're going to have to use all
our weapons." (OCR)

About how he constantly tells Rice how much their team
needs him, to encourage him, Shaq said:
"Glen's going to be there for me. Me and him, we talk
every day. He knows I need him and he knows he needs
me." (LAT, ST)

Expecting Rice to get his shot back soon, Kobe said:
"I ain't worried about Glen. Glen is fine. He's going
to be fine. He's going to continue to shoot the ball,
he's going to knock them down." (LAT)

Kobe told Shaq during the game:
"Shaq, you can line them up, and I'll shoot them down."

"I told Shaq, 'You can line 'em up, and I'll shoot them
down.' When I caught the ball, I noticed they were
backing off. I just figured why not shoot?" (LBPT, LADN)

About their wins over Portland and Seattle, Kobe said:
"We just want to go to the playoffs playing good
basketball with a little momentum." (USA)

About the criticism they have been taking, Kobe said:
"Obviously, everyone has been wondering what the hell
is going on." (ST)

Expecting Seattle to be back strong next year, Kobe:
"Because of the lockout and the changes they had to go
through, it's been tough on them. But they'll be back
next year." (USA)

About outscoring the Sonics by himself in the 3rd, Kobe:
"I just took my time. I caught the ball, I noticed they
were just backing off of me. So why not shoot it?  Kind
of had an Orlando flashback a little bit." (LAT, SJMN)

"I just took my time, taking the first half to read the
defense and find the gaps. Then in the second half, I
thought, 'Why not shoot?' I did have an Orlando
flashback." (OCR)

"In the third quarter, I wanted to come out with a little
more aggression." (USA)

"I just read the situation in the first half and I
started to assert myself in the third quarter." (AP)
Note: Kobe outscored the Sonics 19-13 in the 3rd quarter.
The 13 points the Sonics scored was the tied the Lakers
low for an opponent in a quarter this season.  It also tied
the Sonics low for a quarter this season.

Asked if it was strange how the Lakers were battling for
the 4th seed while the Sonics were just trying to make the
playoffs, given their records over past years, Horry said:
"Nothing's strange for this season. Everything has been off
the whole season - 50 games, three games in three nights.
It's almost like this season if you thought something
might happen, it wouldn't happen." (LBPT, LADN)

Happy that they played well in a second straight game, Horry:
"It's good to see. It's good to go out and play one good
game. But when you carry it over that's the more important
thing. So we carried it over today, which is great for us.
There's still some things we gotta work on. We see the
things we need to work on, we get it done -- that's the
sign of us growing as a team." (LADN)

About how they still had time to put things together,
Horry said before the game:
"There's more to come. We have a lot of talent, so it's
about us meshing together. (The 1993-94 Rockets) came out
as a sixth seed and won the championship. We didn't start
clicking until the last few games of the season. We've
still got plenty of time to practice; we have two full
weeks to get out there." (OCR)

Rice and Fox were sitting with Shaq and Kobe when NBC made
the comment that Shaq and Kobe weren't getting along.  All
four looked at each other and laughed. Fox yelled at the TV:
"Why don't you just shut up?" (OCR)

About how they squandered their chance to catch up when
Shaq was missing FTs by not scoring on their end, Westphal:
"We decided every time Shaq touched the ball, we'd foul him
and let him make his free throws. And we figured we could
get good shots at the other end and come back that way." (ST)

"We figured we could get good shots at the other end and
come back that way. (O'Neal) did his part enough, but we
didn't do our part enough." (OCR, ST)

"He did his part (by missing). We didn't do ours." (CBS)

About how they couldn't score on the Lakers in the 3rd,
Westphal said:
"We went dead in the water on offense (in the third
quarter) and we just couldn't score." (USA)

About their slim chances of making the playoffs, Westphal:
"Now, we have a minuscule chance of getting in (the playoffs).
We have to hope for all kinds of help from other people. . . .
We won't give up as long as there is a ray of hope, and that's
all there is right now. " (SPI, AP, ST)

"We're going to prepare for Dallas and root like crazy for
anybody Minnesota and Sacramento plays. As long as there
is a chance, our guys will be motivated." (SPI)
Note: The Sonics have Dallas at home and the Clippers on
the road left.  Any combination of 2 losses by them or
wins by Sacramento will eliminate them.  Seattle must beat
Dallas and the Clippers (very possible) and Sacramento
must lose to both Denver and Vancouver (not likely at all).

About not putting Payton on Kobe instead of Hawkins when
Kobe got hot in the 3rd quarter, Westphal:
"When you play 48 minutes (as Payton did), it's pretty
hard to do everything for 48 minutes." (ST)

"Bryant was really great in the third quarter, and then
Gary went on him (in the fourth quarter) and quieted him
down a little bit." (ST)
Note: Payton WAS on Kobe for at least part of that streak.
Kobe got his lone dunk out of the halfcourt offense during
that streak vs Payton.

About how their losses to bad teams cost them a shot in
the playoffs, Polynice said:
"You get Vancouver, New Jersey, Denver. That's three wins
right there. We're in the playoffs. . . . Losing to those
teams was retarded. That was our downfall." (ST)

About how they needed this game for their playoff push,
but feel short, Olden Polynice said:
"We had to win the last three games. This one was probably
the most critical of all and we just didn't do it." (USA)

"Slim just hopped on the train. None is left." (SPI)

About putting Hawkins on Shaq to play Hack-a-Shaq, Polynice:
"I'll never understand that one. We're doing things we
normally wouldn't do. . . .They went to their strengths.
They went to their advantages. I guess we didn't think
they were going to see it was a mismatch." (SPI)

About his decision to sign with the Sonics, Polynice said:
"A lot of things happened this year that I didn't expect.
I came here knowing I would be in the playoffs. That's why
I made the decision." (AP)
Note: Of course, Polynice first went to all of the voluntary
practices and camp with the Lakers and publicly begged them
to sign him.  He said that he'd be signed by the Lakers once
they traded Elden, calling Elden "the albatross". Only after
the Lakers didn't trade Elden at his urging did he go to
Seattle to sign with them.

About returning after missing 6 games with a bone bruise,
only for them to lose this game, Vin Baker said:
"I feel disappointed. I came back to help us win these
last three games." (USA)

"This is real disappointing. I felt good today, but this is
the way I should have been contributing all season. But the
nail isn't all the way in the coffin, yet." (CBS)

"This is a bitter pill to swallow." (ST)

"I was just thinking how disappointing it's all been." (ST)

About playing 38 minutes on his bruised right knee, Baker:
"I felt fine. I was blessed my knee held up." (AP)

About how he couldn't worry about his knee, Baker said:
"I couldn't come in and feel myself out. I had to play
aggressive to stay in the game. . . . There is no
tomorrow." (SPI)

About how they still have hope for the playoffs, Baker:
"The nail seems like it's all the way in the coffin but
right now it's not all the way in. I'm just going to be
an optimist right now and hope we just get some help.
But the nail is not already in, yet." (ST)

"It's tough . . . There's no doubt about it. The playoffs
are just out of our control." (SPI)

About just shooting 37% while playing at home, Hawkins:
"You're not going to win many games that way. The effort
was there. We played hard. We just couldn't make shots
for some reason. For the most part the ones I shot felt
good, and I think the other guys will say the same." (SPI)

About how the loss puts them on the verge of missing the
playoffs, Hawkins said:
"I hate to use the term mathematically still alive because
that means you're almost dead. But right now it doesn't
look good." (AP, ST)

Not convinced that the Lakers were back after losing to
them on Thursday, Damon Stoudamire said:
"It's just one game. They'd been sitting on this for
three games." (OCR)

Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University
eval: http://www.ee.scu.edu/eefac/okamoto/14613.html

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