Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quotes: April 18, 2012

Lakers 99, Warriors 87.

"It's been good to see how much the guys have progressed in doing things they ordinarily would not try to do," Bryant said. "Now when I'm not out there, you have to do other things. You have to experiment with your game, and they had a great deal of success with that and their confidence is at a high level, which is great."

 "I'm so happy to have Kobe back -- if he comes back," said teammate Metta World Peace, who had 18 points and nine assists. "Get him back in shape. I came here to play with Kobe. I know what type of player Kobe is, and I want to win some rings."

 "That's always a point of emphasis," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "For us, we don't always have guys who can create off the dribble, so we try to go through our bigs and get some guys some looks if the ball goes inside-out. Our guys did a great job of sharing the ball all night."

 Thunder 109, Suns 97

"James obviously had a terrific game," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "He had everything going. He had his mid-range, he had his 3 and he had his free throw game on tonight."

 "It was good when you get on a roll like that," Harden said. "We bounced back from a bad loss and a bad second half to get a win."

 "It was a really really good win," Kevin Durant said, "a really good bounce-back win for us and against a team that's trying to get every win to get into the playoffs."

 "He was feeling it tonight," the Suns' Steve Nash said. "I feel like we weren't tough enough on him. We were just a little soft. On pick-and-roll coverage he was getting loose, and when he's feeling it, he can make you pay in different ways."

Spurs 127, Kings 102

 "Our best player (Duncan) doesn't play and we still win by 20," said Stephen Jackson, one of four reserves who scored in double figures. "It's our preparation, giving every team we face respect, and going out and playing hard."

 "Everyone wants to be in a rhythm now," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's too late in the season to lose a bunch of games when they really count at this point in the season. Being able to win down the stretch of the season, nobody would trade that."

 "They are a tough team to play; they have (good) players at every position that can go in and be productive," Thornton said. "And it's not just on offense, it's at the defensive end, too. That's the mark of a great team."

"They executed better than us in the third quarter, that's what happened," Cousins said. "They ran their stuff to perfection and took us out of our game."

 "The playoffs will be tough, every team in the West is very talented," Parker said. "You try to be playing well this time of year. We want to stay healthy, stay fresh."

  Jazz 112, Blazers 91

"It does wonders when you're shooting wide-open shots," said Harris, who finished with 27 points in Utah's 112-91 victory over Portland on Wednesday night. "I had a couple of those that kind of got me going, and it just snowballed from there."

 "We feel great. We're in the mix," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're just going to continue to take care of our business. We can't afford to watch and see what anybody else is doing. We've got to make sure we win our games and whatever happens from there on happens."

"Even when we're losing, they're still cheering and they're yelling at the top of their lungs," Hickson said about the fans. "That's something you can't buy and that's something you can't take for granted. I've played for other teams where it's not like that."

 "We've got three games at home where we play well," Harris said. "We've put ourselves in a nice position but we've still got to go out and play the games."

 Mavericks 117, Rockets 100

 "The first half I was a step slow. Then I got going. The guys kept us in it," Nowitzki said. "The second half, guys were looking for me. I got some good looks and got into the game."

 "Dirk put the team on his back," Delonte West said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Dirk was a prime example of that."

 "We could use some help," Chandler Parsons said. "We have to stay together, we can't get our heads down. As crazy as it sounds, it's not over yet."

 "This game was really pivotal in so many ways because it's a double-count game on the whole magic number thing, and it effectively takes one team out of it, which is big," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

 "Dirk got on fire and got to the line a lot in the fourth," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "They executed better than we did in the fourth and we couldn't get stops."

 "We still believe in our chances," Dragic said. "Ten days ago, we were really confident, but we've been playing bad. Four games left, win those, we have a chance."

Clippers 104, Nuggets 98

 "It's about winning basketball," Martin said. "Just never quit playing no matter what the situation is, always put yourself in a position to make plays. Just trying to get a 'W.' We're fighting for playoff position. We did an excellent job as a unit just staying with it."

 "That was my only rebound tonight," said Martin, who logged 30 minutes. "So, it was perfect timing."

 "It's cool, whatever. It's about winning, it's not about anything else," Martin said. "They are cheering for their team, which I expect them to do. I had a good seven years here and they cheered for me every time I was here. I was here for a long time, played a lot of winning basketball, made the playoffs seven years, seven out of seven."

 "He made some big plays down the stretch," guard Arron Affalo said. "You hate to single out one singular play as to why you lose a basketball game, but the rebound and the block were huge for them."

 "We're going to have to win a couple more games," Denver coach George Karl said.

Grizzlies 103, Hornets 91

 "I can't say I didn't except it," Gay said of making the postseason. "This team expected to be in the playoffs and build on last year, and we did that."

 "I'm going to keep going out there and being aggressive," Gay said. "That's what I do. I'm a scorer by heart, and you can't score without shooting."

 "Coach (Monty Williams) just told me to attack, and that's what I was able to do," Dyson said of his offensive performance. "Once I got in the middle, I was able to get into a rhythm. I was just able to get to the basket."

 "We didn't impose our will," Mayo said. "We're a good team, and we were out there playing a little timid. They were shooting 50-something percent at halftime. I was like `C'mon, what's the big deal? What's wrong, you know?'

 "I just told the guys we had to impose our will."

 "The third quarter got away in a hurry,"  Monty Williams said. "Anytime you have that many turnovers, you can't be surprised. .We didn't have the execution we needed, and that is part of the growth that we need to see from our young guys.

 "When we started to get behind, I looked at the lineup and realized it was all youth. We didn't have any veterans or experience to slow the game down."

 "When you play teams that are under .500, sometimes it's hard to rev it up mentally," Hollins said.

 "We have high expectations for ourselves," Mayo said. "It's obviously the highest of expectations to win a ring. Last year, we could just be happy to be there. .This year, we definitely have a different focus. And we feel like we're supposed to be there."

Celtics 102, Magic 98

 "I wanted to just be aggressive, looking to score, and when they collapse I just wanted to make the easy pass," said Pierce, who had 29 points and a career-high 14 assists with Rajon Rondo sidelined with a sore lower back. "I just wanted to make the right plays when the ball's in my hand down the stretch."

 "This is unscripted," Pierce said. "I'm not thinking, 'Woo, I slipped let me go take the shot.' It's just something that happens. You play off instincts."

 "That's huge for our team," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "It allows us to set our defense and it's something that we really haven't done well this year."

 "There's been multiple games where we've been down and we just went away," Davis said. "I like how we fought today but, at the end of the day, we need to win the game."

 "Our effort was great. We just can't guard anybody," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Our 3-point shooting again was horrendous. We had the one possession to tie in (the last) two minutes and we missed two open ones."

 "Paul is not flashy," Rivers said. "I don't even know how Paul scores sometimes. He doesn't look like he's that quick but he is. He's got a gift. He's a professional scorer."

Knicks 104, Nets 95

 "It was a great Knicks atmosphere out there tonight,"  Carmelo Anthony said.

 "He's playing unbelievable right now," center Tyson Chandler said. "He's playing, if not the best, definitely in the tops right now, as far as individual basketball."

 "He was phenomenal in the first quarter. I think he hit two or three shots from half court," Johnson said. "He got them off to a great start but when Anthony went out the game I thought our second unit, some of our subs did a really good job against their bench and then we got back into the game. We did a good job of guarding Anthony in the second half."

 "It felt like a home game for us," Anthony said. "Most of the crowd was our fans, here in New Jersey, so it didn't really feel like a road game for us."

 "You must (have) forgot I was (in) Charlotte for like seven years. The first three years it felt like we were somewhere," Gerald Wallace said. "Every team we played it felt like we were in their city. That's not a big thing. I'm kind of used to it.

"They're a playoff team, we're not. So obviously they're going to have more fans and their fans are going to be more energetic than our fans."

Heat 96, Raptors 72

 "They play the right way," Casey said. "They have the star power to do it. My hat's off to Miami. They're a great team. I'm going to enjoy watching them. I hope my guys were watching and learning and that they learned from tonight and how fast and how physical the game is for 48 minutes. Not 24 minutes -- 48 minutes."

 "First half, we brought the fight to them, let them know they were in a basketball game,"  James Johnson said. "In the second half, different story. They came out and brought the fight to us and they brought it good."

 "It was a great pass, first of all,"  Lebron James said. "I was able to just go up and get it. I looked at the opposite clock ... and I knew I had enough time."

 "It's just how I am," said James, who entered Wednesday having played the sixth-most minutes in the league this month, the fifth-most in the league for the entire season. "When I go on the floor, if I'm in uniform, I'm trying to play at the highest level. If I'm in uniform, I don't try to take minutes off or take games off when I can. ... I just want to be the best."

 "It would mean a lot," James said when asked what MVP No. 3 would mean. "Honestly, it would mean a lot."

Hawks 116, Pistons 84

 "That was a lot of fun," center Jason Collins said.

 "We really wanted to come out with a lot of energy," Collins said. "We want to finish the season strong with the last five games on our home court. We've still got a lot to play for."

 "We ask a lot of those guys," Green said. "When we come in the game, it's up to us to continue their level of play or even pick it up a notch."

 "One day you play like a king, the next day you don't," Frank said.

 "We were two different teams," Detroit's Walker Russell said, referring to the previous night. "I don't want to blame the back-to-back because we're supposed to come out and be competitive every night. But sometimes it just happens. They came out and really put it to us."

Sixers 103, Cavs 87

 "Once he got it going, he was masterful," Collins said. "He got upset. He thought he got hit a couple of times on drives. I've ordered some 'ticked off' cream for the rest of the year."

 "You kind of feel unstoppable," Holiday said his mindset during his torrid streak. "Every shot's falling. There was one 3 that kind of popped out and went five feet up in the air and it still fell in."

 "It was a great win, much needed," Collins said. "Hopefully we can get a little rest. That third game in three nights is not easy to do. All good stuff."

Irving spent a moment laying on his back before being helped to his feet  "My heart kind of dropped a little," Scott said. "He got right back up, which is a great sign to show me that he was fine. He didn't grab his shoulder or anything. Matter of fact, he started laughing a little bit when Elton grabbed him and asked, 'Are you OK.'"

"I'm going out there to try and win as many games as possible," Kyrie said. "It's about competing. I would rather be out there on one leg than on the bench."

Wizards 121, Bucks 112

 "Wrong time to have a bad game," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said.

 "It's an absolute must-win for us. We have to find a way to get that game," Skiles said.

 "It's tough, tough to be in this position," Gooden said.

 "I think they might like it -- the way they're playing," coach Randy Wittman said. "We want to be Milwaukee. We want to be in the hunt, but if we're not, let's cause some grief coming down the stretch."

 "They just had way more energy than us on both ends," Jennings said. "I guess just going out with pride, I guess that's what they're playing with."

 "We're going to have to come out with a lot of energy and just play that game like it's our last," Jennings said.

 "We have one fortunate thing going for us in that we do play Philadelphia," Skiles said. "There is a night coming up here where we have full control. We need to make sure that we're in position for that night."

Chicago 100, Bobcats 68

 "We had a bad loss against Washington and we talked about getting back to playing how we play and that's rebounding, playing defense and trying to share the basketball," Hamilton said.

 "We just want to get out there and hopefully get a win," Hamilton said. "Miami has a lot of special players. It won't be easy."

 "Usually, this team responds," Thibodeau said.

 "Everyone was sharing the ball," Thibodeau said. "So the ball was hopping and they were making the right plays. Defensively was very good. Rebounding was very good. And then the most important thing was the low turnovers."

 "Each and every game I get better and that's a good thing," Hamilton said. "When I first came back the problem wasn't getting shots that I wanted to get it was just being able to get in a rhythm and get a feel for the game again. I'm definitely pleased with that's going on."

 "That's been our problem all year," said Bobcats coach Paul Silas.

 "We don't want to set that record," Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson said. "That's something that we're thinking about and we've talked about. We just want to win. That's my sole goal. We've set goals for ourselves at the start of the season and haven't accomplished hardly any of them. But with these last five games, that's one that we've set and we want to accomplish that one."

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