David Robinson Interview
San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson spoke with the media after the team's 2003 NBA finals game 4 loss in New Jersey to the Nets. With the loss, the series is now tied at two wins apiece.
Q: Was that about as physical a game as the Nets have played so far this series, and also, did the refs let them play that way a little more?
David Robinson: Yeah, it was a very physical game. You could say that. I think in the series, though, they played pretty physical. They have done a good job of that.
You know, the game has been about defense, about making stops. I think both teams have been very aggressive. We're obviously used to scoring a lot more points, getting the ball in the hole and they are doing a good job defensively. We obviously need to be a lot more effective. We are not going to win games if we get, you know, all of our best scorers scoring three points, going 1 for 9, that's not going to win games. We need to move that ball around, get a good balance scoring, get some of these guys involved in our offense, and just make shots. We had plenty of good looks tonight. Early on, we had a lot of good layups and stuff but we got blocked and didn't get in the basket and it makes it too hard. If you have good shots, you've got to knock them down and we didn't.
Q: They had some success tonight limiting Tony Parker, how were they able to do that?
David Robinson: That's a good question. I don't know. I'd have to watch the film.
I think we didn't do a very good job of getting the ball up and down the floor. That's where Tony really excels, in the open court, making good decisions. Obviously, early in the game, we got into our turnover thing again, did some turnovers.
We got a lot of buckets, inside opportunities so Tony was not involved early on. But Tony has to do a better job of staying involved in the game and picking and choosing his moments and I don't think Tony did a very good job of that tonight. He's so talented, he's got to understand, he plays a big role for us so he has to come in there and make good things happen. You don't make good things happen by necessarily standing out there and taking ill-advised jump shots. You make good things happen by playing that good D and making good transition in those situations, and we didn't do a good job of that tonight.
Q: As the Admiral of "Old Man Brigade," you and Kevin Willis brought a lot to the table, but don't you think Steve Kerr should have been in there to take some open shots?
David Robinson: You know, that's a coaching decision right there. Yeah, I've got a lot of confidence in those guys to shoot those shots. They may miss a few of them but I always feel like they are going to come back. I feel like Jack is going to come back and make some shots. Manu, he makes those big shots down the stretch, I always think he's going to knock them down.
Steve is an unbelievable shooter and a great player and you've got to make your decisions when you bring him in. That's really kind of a coaching decision there. I was disappointed tonight that we didn't get the ball in the basket like we could have, but, yeah, maybe he did make a move like that early on. But we didn't tonight. We still had good opportunities, still had a chance to win the game and a few things kind of didn't go our way down the stretch. It was a tough ending for us.
Q: I know you were not on the court but the last minute, the two offensive rebounds, what did you see happen on those plays?
David Robinson: The first offensive rebound, they just really outhustled us. On the second offensive rebound, we had two guys fighting for the ball and we kind of gave it back to them. That is extremely disappointing, understanding how important that board is. I mean, we just lost the offensive rebound to put ourselves in the toughest position, and then you give the second one away, you just feel like kicking yourself, like, what are we doing? Like, do we want to win this game? Is there some kind of urgency out there? We had opportunities, two straight opportunities, we make a stop, you don't come up with the ball. That's not good basketball.
And so obviously we are pretty frustrated with ourselves a little bit because there are a lot of things we could have done better. I give the Nets a lot of credit, they did everything they needed to do to win this game. They got those two big offensive boards. They did everything they needed to do. It's a good win for them.
Q: Are they starting to match up with you size-wise? You had the blocked shots, they had that advantage of the blocked shots, they had those two offensive boards, what do you think of that?
David Robinson: They did a great job, there's no question. Obviously tonight, we got our big guys into foul trouble and that really puts us in a tough spot if we're getting into foul trouble.
So we are going to have to be a little bit smarter that way. They did a great job matching up with us tonight. They had the advantage in a lot of ways, and especially like I said, when we are shuffling guys around and when Malik has a tough night like he had tonight, we don't have a whole lot of options.
Q: This late in the year, you know your team pretty well, what do you have to do to regain your focus to really get in on this thing?
David Robinson: I think we just have to understand what this game is about. It's a simple game. You've got two teams that are good defensive teams, two teams that are really grind-it-out teams, and for us, the key is just to play smart basketball. I think that's where we really get back to being ourselves. I mean, we have little stretches of six or seven or eight minutes where we do actually play pretty good basketball, but it takes us being down 15 before we realize, you know, the urgency.
I think the next game we just have to come in at the beginning of the game and understand, it's going to be a 48-minute game and let's do this, 48 minutes. Let's play good basketball for 48 minutes. I don't think we have done that yet. I know we can. I've seen us do it. We've been doing it through most of the playoffs. We've had our moments where we've kind of gone and played a half or whatever, but that's part of the battle of trying to become a champion, when you overcome some of that inconsistency.
We've got young players, a little bit of inconsistency or whatever, but when you can battle that and be more steady, that's what we are trying to do, trying to become the champion.
Q: Throughout the playoffs, you lost a game and then you won the next one. Today, when you were down 15, time-out, I guess Popovich was yelling at the guys, is it possible that your guys are playing better when Pop is mad at you?
David Robinson: (Laughing).
Pop is mad most of the time. I think that's just his Serbian heritage. That's from him, not from me.
He has a great sense for the situation. He's done a good job this year of balancing that out. He doesn't go crazy all the time. Before he used to get crazy a lot more. He knows. He does a good job of getting us fired up, getting us motivated. Tonight, he did, he got into us a little bit and then we responded extremely well.
But it shouldn't take that for us to play well and that's what everybody in our locker room needs to understand. It shouldn't take that for us to play well. We need to be self-motivated and keep our poise without somebody getting in our face and yelling at us.
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