Ben Wallace Interview
The Detroit Pistons, after being down 0-2 to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2005 NBA Finals, have won the last two games to tie the series. Every single game has been decided by 15 or more points. Here's Pistons center Ben Wallace the day after Game 4 was played:
Q. Can you talk about your role in helping stop Ginobili after those first two games, just keeping him out of the lane. What is it you're doing?
Ben Wallace: You know, it's not just one guy that's doing anything special. We all are collapsing in the paint, forcing him to shoot jumpshots.
Q. Do you think the day will ever come where a defensive specialist like you will get the attention, and more important, the money, the glory that the big time scorers get?
Ben Wallace: I don't know. But I'm not complaining. I'm having fun being able to go out on the floor, night in and night out, play basketball and, you know, I'm eating pretty good (smiling).
Q. Tim Duncan has obviously been a Finals and regular season MVP and he's looked ordinary, at best, the last two games, do you feel like you guys have done that to him?
Ben Wallace: Yeah, you know, we are back to our defensive press. Everybody is playing with a lot of energy and we are not overreacting when they put the ball on the floor. So that way we can keep a body on him and force him to shoot over the top. You know, we've got a couple of guys that we can rotate in and out of the game and put on him. We just want to make him fight for 48 minutes trying to score the basketball and trying to keep him off the boards and keep him from getting easy buckets, unlimited looks.
Q. He's been known to be so steady and consistent, but even his open shots last night he's missing. Do you see him getting flustered?
Ben Wallace: I think our guard play is really the big key to slowing Duncan down, because they are pressuring up the floor and then when he does catch the ball, he's got to fight against either me, Rasheed, McDyess and the shot clock.
So I see him get a little frustrated doing that.
Q. Can you talk about coming to the Washington I guess there were Bullets back then, what your expectations were, how hopeful were you and how fearful were you?
Ben Wallace: You know, coming to the Bullets, it's just one of those things, I was sort of on the rebound. I had worked out with Boston. I had played had in Italy for a little while, and coming to the Bullets was just another opportunity for me. You know, being able to make that team, it sort of boosted my confidence a little bit and the next year I was able to step on the floor and play some amazing minutes.
It was a great feeling to be able to play in this league and get your name called every now and then. I just thought maybe I could pick it up from here, trying to move on.
Q. Were you expecting anything? I mean, you're an unusual player, most players come in, most of them they are offensive players, most defensive players playing big man positions are bigger than you. Did you worry that you just didn't fit here?
Ben Wallace: I was a little concerned because my first work out with Boston, I'm pretty sure everybody knew I played the two three, so coming to Washington, they said they were looking for a center. They brought me in as a center and the rest has been history.
Q. Obviously the home crowd energy obviously helps, but what is it specifically the past two games that has turned you guys into this Herculean team?
Ben Wallace: It's the energy, everybody coming out and playing with incredible energy. I wish I could say it's this or it's that. Man, it's just the energy everybody brings. We're not playing the perfect game in no way, shape or form, but everybody is playing so hard, so if one guy makes a mistake and everybody else is on the same page, they are able to make up for those mistakes.
Once the crowd gets involved and gets behind, it makes you want to play a little bit harder anyway.
Q. So there's no specific adjustment then that you guys make?
Ben Wallace: No, not really.
Q. What determines which way you're going to wear your hair for a game?
Ben Wallace: My wife.
Q. Now that you've had two games with it up, do you have to stay with it up? Is that pretty much it?
Ben Wallace: Until she feels like braiding it up again.
Q. Is she the one that does the braiding?
Ben Wallace: That's it.
Q. How long will you get it cut?
Ben Wallace: I don't get cuts. I haven't had it cut in about six years now. (Laughter).
Q. Are you guys fronting Duncan a little bit more than you would normally front others, and did you make any suggestions to Larry about how to guard him differently after the first two games?
Ben Wallace: Yeah, you know, Coach Brown wants us to front. He want us to front all the time, but we try to tell him, if we can force him off the blocks a little bit, then there's no need to front. So it's either, you force him off the block or if he gets deep post position, you front him.
But I think that only works when our guards pressure, when our guards up pressure, it makes it easy for us to front down in the block where they can't just come down and throw the ball over the top of you.
Q. You mentioned shot clock, what from your standpoint, what's an ideal time for him to catch the ball for you defensively?
Ben Wallace: You know, for us we want him to start their offense, start going into their plays at like 14 seconds on the clock. By the time they move the ball around from side to side then you catch with seven seconds, and then he's still got to make his move and be aware of if guys are going to help or do whatever. You know, then he's still got to try to score the basketball. So that's a lot to put on your plate.