Quotes from the Lakers-Blazers game 4/29/99

Quotes from the Lakers-Blazers game 4/29/99

Post by Garret Okamot » Sat, 01 May 1999 04:00:00

PO = Portland Oregonian               LAT = LA Times
AP = Associated Press                 USA = USA Today
OCR = Orange County Register
LADN = LA Daily News
LBPT = Long Beach Press-Telegram
---

The last time these two teams met, the Lakers were at the
end of a b-t-b-t-b set and lost by 6 at Portland.  It should
be noted that the Lakers were rested for this game while
Portland beat Seattle the night before.

The Blazers are now 0-6 on the road against the Lakers,
Seattle, Utah, Houston, and San Antonio...all WC rivals
that they could see in the playoffs.
---

About the Shaq-Kobe relationship, Magic said during the game:
"They don't have to be best friends off the court, but they
have to act like it on the court." (LAT)

Before the game, Rambis talked about their lack of practice time:
"Is it reasonable to judge what I can do as a coach given this
season?. I think as long as you understand that there are
expectations that a team can have and as long as those expecta-
tions are real, that's the judge of whether or not a coach
can bring out the best in the ballplayers. . . . I know the
players listen to me. I know the players want to do the right
thing." (LAT)

"We have no practice time to get anything accomplished. I don't
care what anybody says, you can't tell players to do something
and expect them to do it without having to go over it and over
it and over it again. In practice, you build up those consistent
habits. That's something that interim coaches in any situation
don't have a lot oftime to do. And especially in this situation
in this season because there is no practice time." (LAT)
Note: Of course, if Rambis says that he can't expect the players
to be able to do something unless they can go over and over it
in practice, the question arises as to why he tried to change
their defensive system shortly after he took over...without the
benefit of practice time. They are now using a modified version
of Del's old trapping system.

Making the case for the permanent head coaching spot, Rambis:
"I know the players listen to me, I know the players want to
do the right things. We have no practice time to get anything
accomplished. I don't care what anyone says, you can't tell
players to do something and expect them to do it without having
to go over and over it again for it to become habit.

That's one of the things interim coaches in any situation don't
have a lot of time to do, and especially in this situation with
this (compressed) season because there is no practice.

There has been too much going on. It's very frustrating as a
coach not to have practice time. That's where you can make your
adjustments, that's where you can get players really thinking
along your lines and get them understanding your concepts and
get them accepting your personality and the way you want them
to play. That's where you get everything going in the right
direction." (OCR)
Note: These OCR quotes from Rambis were from before the game.

Blaming their poor defense on a lack of practice time, Rambis:
"It's like telling someone how to drive, but never giving him
a car." (OCR)

Asked if he had done well enough to earn the permanent job, Rambis:
"I'm never satisfied with what I've done. That was the way I
was as a player, too. I can always play better, I can always
play harder, I can always do more as a coach." (OCR)

Asked if he has had time to put his stamp on the team, Rambis:
"I think there's been too much going on. It's very frustrating
as a coach to not have practice time. . . .That's just where
you get everything going in the right direction. It's very,
very important." (LAT)

Repeating his standard quote about the playoffs, Rambis:
"Whether we have the home-court advantage over Houston or not,
it doesn't matter. If we're playing good, we're going to be OK.
If we're not playing good, it doesn't really matter." (USA)

About their as-yet unfulfilled potential, Rambis said:
"I know what this team's capable of doing. I know they're
capable of doing all the things we ask them to do. It's just
a matter of getting their mind-set together." (USA, PO)

"It was unbelievable, it was fun to watch, too. We know what
this team is capable of doing. It has a tremendous upside
potential. It's a matter of getting their mindset together."
(AP, LADN, LBPT)

"They showed themselves what they're capable of doing when
they do play hard, when they put a maximum effort into it
and when they play as a team." (LADN, LBPT, OCR, PO)

"It was unbelievable. It was fun to watch them. We know
what this team is capable of doing. We know that they are
capable of doing anything we ask them to do. It's just a
matter of them having the right mind-set and staying
together. The difference is night and day for them." (LAT)

"It was like night and day from before. It's an excellent
game to build on." (OCR)

"This is what we've been capable of doing all along." (OCR)

"Leave the basketball, play good defensively -- these are
all the things they did and were successful with tonight." (PO)

About the dominating game by Shaq, Rambis said:
"We keep saying it--he is the leader of the ballclub. We
know he's capable of doing basically anything we ask him
to do." (LAT)

About the win, Shaq said:
"We just got tired of losing. Tired of playing like crap.
We just figured it was time to take a stand." (LAT)

"We just got tired of losing. It was time to take a stand.
We had two good days of practice and that showed tonight.
... Guys did a good job of looking at me tonight and I did
what I do best." (USA)

Hoping they can learn from this game and build on it, Shaq:
"That's the first time in a long time I think we played
together. I think we played smart. I think if we can learn
from this game and play the next three like that and go into
the playoffs playing like that, then we have a good chance." (LAT)

Taking motivation from the criticism by Wilt and Kareem, Shaq:
"To me, criticism is very motivating, I like it personally. I
got criticized this week by two great legends. Criticism is
only going to help me. I'm not where they are yet. I'm working
hard to get there." (AP)

Happy about Horry's good game, Shaq said:
"Rob's been been taking a lot of heat, taking a lot of
criticism, because he's been playing out of position. But
that's Rob right there." (LAT)

About his 6-8 shooting from 3-pt range, Horry said:
"The first one I shot, it felt good. The second one I shot
felt better. Then when I shot from way downtown, it felt
even better than the rest of them. Sometimes, you get that
little feeling, you have to keep shooting." (PO)

"First one felt good, the second one felt even better, the
third one from way downtown felt even better than that. I
just decided to look for my shot tonight." (USA)

"That first one felt good. The second one felt better. That
one I shot from way downtown felt even better." (LAT)

"The first one I shot felt good, the second one I shot felt
better. When you get that feeling, you keep shooting." (AP)

About how there is still time for them to put things together,
bringing up the '95 title team in Houston, Horry said:
"You are never dead. We came out of the six spot and won the
championship (in Houston in 1995).  We still have plenty of
time as long as we keep faith in ourselves.  We have a whole
lot of talent, we just need to mesh it together." (USA)

About their most impressive win in a LONG time, Horry:
"That's a glimpse. There's more to come." (LADN, LBPT)

About the "Horry" chants by the Forum crowd, Horry said:
"At first, I said, 'Are they saying Kobe? Or are they saying
Horry?' " (LAT)

About the criticism they have been taking, Fox said before
the game:
"I was watching Jay Leno. He started in with a joke about
HDTV -- high-definition TV -- about it's so clear that you
can see the string the Lakers are*** on by. That's his
job, but it makes you realize we're in a situation where
we're a laughingstock." (PO)

"It's true. We're dangling there because of the way we've
performed. We've put ourselves in a situation where we're
the only ones who can go out and fix it." (PO)

About how they can't take any season for granted, Fox said:
"I think it's that feeling sometimes that, 'Oh, well, I'm OK.'
'I'm signed up long-term,' or 'I'll survive it all.' We have
to be careful to look more at the fact that, hey, there are
only so many opportunities to win a championship in this
league.  There are only so many years you're in the league.
Regardless of whether you're signed to a contract or not, God
knows you could get hurt tomorrow and never have a chance to
play again or be traded and never have the chance to be on a
quality team. You count your blessings, and it's not always
about how you're doing individually, and it's not always about
how much money you're making." (PO)

About the criticism that they have been taking, Reid said:
"Nobody's really saying much good about the Lakers right
now, but we're just trying to play, not worry about what
other people's expectations are. Just get it done ourselves.
... Guys are ready, we're focusing in now, we know it's
crunch time, and this is what it's all about." (LADN, LBPT)

About coming back from their 2 losses at Portland, Reid:
"They kicked out butts. We've been getting our butts kicked
the last couple weeks, guys have gotta be tired of it.
Tonight was just an opportunity for us to try to get our
self-respect back." (LADN, LBPT)

A very nice (and different) quote about their attitude, Reid:
"Better than (the win), is that when we asked if we wanted
to practice tomorrow, everybody said 'Yes.' . . . We're
focusing in. We know this is crunch time." (PO)
Note: In this compressed schedule, the players and coaches
have talked about just resting on their days off. This quote
is the first time anything like this was said this season.

Unhappy with their lack of aggression in the 1st half, Dunleavy:
"I thought in the first half we went through stretches where we
didn't match how physical the game was and we settled for jump
shots. We turned the ball over offensively.  We let them get out
and get easy baskets. That gave them a lot of confidence." (USA)

Praising the Lakers, Dunleavy said:
"They are a very talented team, no one can argue that. If they
didn't come out and play a good game, I would have been very
surprised, having just lost three games in row. They played
with a lot of emotion and they played very well." (AP)

About how he expected the Lakers to play well, Dunleavy:
"They had lost three in a row and had like 27 meetings in
the last couple of days -- we knew they would be ready to
play, we addressed that." (PO)

About how the Lakers could be unbeatable if they can play
that way, Dunleavy said:
"I don't know if anybody in the league can beat them if
Shaquille O'Neal is inside and four other guys across the
board are making shots. The bigger surprise is where they
are with their record. . . . If we let them get into the
open court, we're not going to win that footrace. (Arvydas)
Sabonis is not going to beat Shaq down the court. And if
they have a step on us, they're going to win, as athletic
as we are." (PO)

About Horry's hot 3-pt shooting, Rider said:
"That's the type of night it was for them. Everything was going
their way.  How many of you expect Horry to hit all those 3s,
too?" (USA)

About how they didn't underestimate the Lakers, Rider said:
"We got outplayed, they were more physical, it's that simple.
We didn't take them lightly at all. Anytime you're playing a
team that has Shaquille O'Neal, you don't take that team
lightly. They just outplayed us in every aspect of the game."
(AP)

Providing bulletin-board material for Wednesday's rematch, Rider:
"They just had a good night. They're capable of playing good
basketball, but they haven't played that well in a while. ...
We lost to an L.A. team that shouldn't beat us. They're not
the Laker team of old." (USA)

"We lost to an L.A. team that shouldn't beat us. They're not
the Laker team of old, so they shouldn't beat us." (LADN)

"The worst thing about tonight is that we didn't play good
and we lost to an L.A. team that shouldn't beat us. They're
not the Laker team of old, so they shouldn't beat us." (LAT)

"It was unlike us tonight. This is the worst game we have
played all year. We lost to an L.A. team that shouldn't beat
us. They're not the Lakers team of old." (PO)

About the Lakers' excellent play, Damon Stoudamire said:
"That was the Lakers team everybody is afraid of. This game
showed why everybody had them rated so high at the start of
the season." (PO)

Asked before the game about his left ring finger, which was
swollen to twice its normal size at the lowest joint, Damon:
"It's been broken for a long time. It happened before the
season even started." (PO)

Asked why he hadn't told anybody about it this season, Damon:
"You don't like to let people know about injuries. Then you
can become a target. And I didn't want anyone to think it
was an excuse. It's not." (PO)

About the finger injury on his shooting hand, Damon said:
"Your fingers get hit every game. You just can't do anything
about it." (PO)

Not blaming his broken finger for his 40% shooting, Damon:
"It hasn't affected my shooting at all. I've always lingered
around 39 to 42 percent. That's about what I've always shot." (PO)

About how he's been working on his mid-range jumper, Damon:
"My mid-range game has been getting better. I've found some
room there in our offense. I like that shot. In fact, I like
to start the game with shots from that range before I move
back behind the three-point line." (PO)

About being outworked by the Lakers, Greg Anthony said:
"They outworked us, outhustled us, outshot us, outdefended us.
No one likes to have it handed to you like happened tonight,
but we're not going to cry about it." (PO)

--
Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University
http://SportToday.org/
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