Gary Payton Interview
In the 2006 NBA Playoffs the Miami Heat are battling the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern conference finals. Veteran NBA star Gary Payton, member of the Heat, spoke to the media on Friday, the day after Game 2. Here's what was said:
Q. What was the big point or points that Pat made today, the things that have to be done differently?
GARY PAYTON: Everything. I mean, there was everything. He made a point about everything, about effort and all this stuff. It was not one thing, just things that we did in the first game that we didn't do in the second game. We went and had a lot of video, and he just told us we had to have a lot more effort.
Q. When Rip is defending Dwyane, what is it that he does? I mean, I know there's a lot of grabbing and holding and stuff like that, but what does he do to Dwyane?
GARY PAYTON: He doesn't do anything. He's just locking and trailing on him. I think he's just being a little bit more aggressive than we are against him. We've got to do the same thing against him. When he locks and trails, we've got to do the same. We let him go either way and we let him put his hands on us, push us off. We should start doing the same thing and make the plays the same way, make it happen the same way.
Plus they're setting picks. They're setting picks on us, hitting us. I think we've just got to go back and do the same thing. We've got to set picks the way they're sitting picks, and we'll be fine.
Q. When a guy plays Dwyane like that or any player, you know, how much does that can that serve to bother you if a guy is just grabbing on you? Did you ever do that to try to get to mess with a guy?
GARY PAYTON: I think he's just taking a Reggie Miller-like tactic. He's doing the same thing. I think that right now the rules have changed so much that they're letting people grab and hold like that, and in the day, about ten years ago, there would have been fouls on him a lot, especially a player of this caliber. There would have been fouls and we would have been able to do it back to him. He's just taking advantage of what he can handle.
Q. Is it hard not to think that this series will go, depending on how Ud and Toine and Zo play when you're in the game?
GARY PAYTON: It might go that way, so we've got to come out and play every night. We have to get it going. I think our first team has to get it going, too. When we go in there we've got to keep the momentum and the energy up. I think even if it's a 50, 55 game but we get in the game, we've got to change the momentum to get us going a little bit more. I think this we can't be coming in there when we're down 20 points. We can't change that and try to make a spectacular comeback. We were trying to do that and getting in the games to do that, but sometimes it's going to fall short, especially against a good basketball team. We've got to go in there with the mentality that we've got to keep the momentum, even if we have to give a boost to get us to win.
Q. Offensively or defensive?
GARY PAYTON: I think both. If they're struggling defensively we've got to give them offense. I think on defense we've got to come every night. Offense doesn't have to be there for us all the time because we know we're going to get them from them guys. We've got to be there defensively every night to hold them down.
Q. How hungry are you right now or how much do you sense that this is your chance right here?
GARY PAYTON: I thought it was my chance every time I went to the finals, but it just didn't happen. I feel that it's a good opportunity for me. We've got a great basketball team. If we can make it to the finals, we've got a good chance of winning it. Right now I don't think about it as much as I did in the beginning, in the beginning of my career. What I think about it right now is I take one game at a time, and it'll come. If we get to the finals, we've got to get by this Detroit team for me to even think about that. Once I get into the finals then I can start thinking about it more, but right now I think we've got to get by this great basketball team right here, and once I get my foot in the door then I'll start thinking about it.
Q. You've had to make a lot of adjustments over the years. How big of an adjustment was it to work yourself into this team?
GARY PAYTON: Well, I've got to take my time. I'm adjusting from the Lakers to Boston and here. There's three teams that I've had to adjust to. This year was an adjustment... no, Milwaukee wasn't an adjustment, George Karl. I went right into it, and when I was scoring and doing everything, I had to. I was getting looks, and it was basically me and Sam Cassell, and then I had my old coach.
Here the other three teams I was on I had to adjust to because I had Kobe and Shaq and then I had Paul Pierce, played with him, then you have Dwyane and Shaq here. It's a big adjustment when you don't get to get looks 20 times or 15 shots a game. I knew what I was coming into this year, so I'm fine.
Q. It always kind of takes all year for you to come together.
GARY PAYTON: Basically, yeah. You can't put seven or eight guys together, four or five are always the dominant ones on the team who get the ball a lot and then you have to adjust so you're going to take four or five or six shots, and then the shots that you take have to be counting shots. You usually get six shots, and if you go 1 for 6 you know you're going to get 15 looks and then you'll go 8 for 15. It's a big adjustment but it's an adjustment that you've got to think about, if you want to sacrifice and be a winner or sacrifice and be a loser. We decided we wanted to be a winner and we adjusted to it.
Q. It looked like you guys had been making an adjustment, sort of turning a corner but kind of fell back. Was it mostly kind of Detroit's tactics?
GARY PAYTON: I mean, no, I don't think so. When they missed shots in the first game, was it our tactics, no, it was just that we made shots, they missed shots. When you miss shots, things happen. We're not really worried about it. They made shots in Game 2, we missed shots. We made them in Game 1, they missed shots. It was one game that equaled out. Now we've got to come back here and give a little bit more effort and a little bit more energy to the game.
Q. In Game 1 you could see the chemistry was working but last night maybe it wasn't working. Is it that changeable or have you gotten to a point where you have figured each other out?
GARY PAYTON: We have figured each other out. Just like tomorrow if we win you're going to write we've got our chemistry back again. Every game is not going to be perfect. I'm going to tell you that, everyone is not going to be perfect every night. We had lapses in this game and Game 2. I think our effort and our energy wasn't there in Game 2. We missed a lot of shots, we did not rebound the basketball. They had a lot of second opportunities. They did a lot of things... I didn't see too many of them shoot that well; one was 7 for 18, one was 5 for 14 or something like that. It's not that, it's just an effort thing, and that's what happened. The game wasn't the way we wanted it to be, we didn't bring a lot of energy to the game, and they took advantage of that.
Q. What about Shaq saying that you guys relied too much on the jump shot last night?
GARY PAYTON: I don't know what we did. I think we were relied too much on turnovers. I don't care about the jump shots. We turned the ball over and let them get a lot of shots. You understand they've shot 20 more times each game than we have, so that's a problem. You're going to have to overcome something like that, if they get 20 more shot attempts than you are. That's because we're turning the ball over and giving them more opportunities. I don't know about that, but I just think that if we don't turn the ball over we're going to get more looks at the basket.