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InsideHoops [NBA Playoffs]

Ben Wallace Interview

 


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| May 26, 2006

Ben WallaceIn the 2006 NBA Playoffs the Miami Heat are battling the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern conference finals. Here's what Pistons center Ben Wallace said in Game 2's post-game press conference after Detroit won:

Q. Ben, at one point early in the game you had more points than the entire Miami Heat squad. Was there an emphasis coming into this game to get you going a little bit more often?

BEN WALLACE: We wanted to run Shaq into pick-and-rolls, force him to guard the pick-and-rolls. I was trying to slip out the pick-and-roll to the basket. The team did a great job of finding me at the basket.

Q. You're known for your defense, but it seems sometimes you get it going defensively more when you're involved offensively early in games. Is there anything where the offense actually feeds the defense?

BEN WALLACE: No, not really. You know, I think we need everybody on the offensive end to be active, get everybody involved, force everybody to play honest on the defensive end. I think we're a team like that. We come down and hold the ball to one side and don't get the ball moving. A lot of teams make it tough for us on the defensive end and force bad shots on the other end.

Q. Can you tell me, you guys let them back into the game at the end of the game. Does it concern you that you guys let them back in?

BEN WALLACE: You know, I would like to see us finish the game the way we started, but we know guys are going to keep playing until the very end. They made some tough shots down the end. We missed some free throws. We had an unforced situation with the time-out at the end. It was a dogfight. We'll go back and try to correct those things.

Q. How important was Rip's 21 points in the first half? Seemed like he was carrying you guys?

BEN WALLACE: Rip did a great job. Coming off the screen, forcing Dwyane Wade and those guys to run behind him, he was making shots for us. He was big in the first half and he got us off to a great start.

Q. You just referenced the start. How much of a point of emphasis was that and how much did you think it set a tone compared to the other night?

BEN WALLACE: You know, we came out and started the game well, got the ball moving. We forced the team to play the way we like to play. Any time we can take the tempo of the game, I like our chances.

Q. Would you talk about your offense in that first quarter in particular. I know a lot of people who were coming out and seeing the Pistons for the first time don't know that you were once an offensive player and scored points. How important is that for you to feel in the flow of the game and score some points? How much does it affect your performance up and down?

BEN WALLACE: I think it weighs on the defense, still allowing teams to come down and zone in on what we're doing. We've got everybody involved, now you've got to play honest and coming down at us trying to run off offense 4 against 5. When I get involved in offense, it forces the team to keep a guy on me and not allow him to roll me around. It opens up things for my teammates. I thought Rip and Chauncey made a couple passes that got me some lay-ups, and I was able to get good looks.

Q. The team had a lot more energy today and moved better. Last game probably tired legs were in the way. How important was it, number one, not to have worked out the last couple of days or not had a full practice, and number two, about the substitutions, getting more rest for the starters, how important was that?

BEN WALLACE: I think that plays a part in it, but I think for the most port, our focus was a little bit better tonight. I think the last game we were a little bit relaxed and didn't play the way we were capable of playing. Everybody was focused, everybody was on the same page. We had guys coming off the bench, had their heads in the game right away, were able to come out there and contribute. Once we play like that as a team, we're tough to beat.

Q. Your bench throughout the playoffs and throughout the regular season was sort of criticized for not producing. Talk about what this bench means to you guys when they get opportunities to play like they did tonight?

BEN WALLACE: Our bench means a lot to us. Our bench has been there for us the whole season, and when those guys come off the bench and play well, it moves the energy toward the starters, so now the guys in the starting lineup can relax and cheer for the guys on the floor knows that those guys are going to go out and perform and you don't have to put pressure on yourself to try and save the game.

Q. You guys got a lot of bad cuts tonight for layups. Was Miami overplaying in any way or was it better execution for you guys?

BEN WALLACE: I think it was better execution. I think early we was able to knock down some jump shots. I know Rip knocked down a couple shots. Once you make a couple shots, forces guys to play honest, and they got up and pressured up and we was looking for the back door cut. Rip was able to break away a couple times and get a couple lay-ups and got everything we wanted on the offensive end, made shots and did take the tempo of the game. When we play like that, man, it's good basketball, fun to play, and everybody gets involved, and that's the type of basketball we love to play.

Q. Talk a little bit about the challenges of dealing with Shaq throughout the game, defending against him and playing at the other end against him, as well.

BEN WALLACE: You know, Shaq presents a lot of different challenges. I got a busted lip, a black eye, but he's just about going out there, trying to do what he can do to help the team win, try and stay in front of him, make him shoot over the top and not allow him to get too many dunks.



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