On what helped the team flip the switch and win the game
You know, good question. Probably getting our backs up against the wall...again. We responded, so it was a good finish. We got a bunch of stops in a row and scored, and getting into the bonus helped us. But look, it's not a good way of doing business. Tough trying to win that way. We just got to keep working and getting better.
On Dalembert's play
Great. [He's] playing really well. Really important tonight with Cousins out there to get a big guy out there with length who can get rebounds and block a few shots. He was getting the ball in the basket tonight, too. He played a huge roll.
On Shawn Marion's late success
Yeah, he was great. Great on defense, had a couple of free throws, knocked in the three. Those are big plays. Yeah, he did a good job at the end.
On why the team keeps having problems late in the game
We're struggling in some areas. With eight games left, what I would tell you is that we're 74 games into this. There's been so much of this that it's unfortunately part of our DNA and I just feel like we're going to snap out of it. I know that we have to. I'm a very positive thinker on this, and we're going to do to better on Tuesday.
On Dalembert's great stretch of play
He's been doing a lot of great things. Maybe it took a while for him to get things, I'm not really sure, but teammates have been behind him for most of the year. We ran the first play for him, he knocked in the shot. That gets him going, too. He really realizes how important he is to our whole thing, so he's doing great.
On the offensive rebounding woes (Sacramento grabbed 14)
That's just them kicking our ass. I mean, they got a bunch of big bullies in there. They're hard to play on the inside. I say bully in a positive way. They're just strong and physical. Evans is one of the best rebounders in the league. Their last five games, they're plus 14 boards in their wins and plus 9 in their losses. They're kicking ass, win or lose, so you've got to try to play them as even as you can, and we were -12, so we're lucky to survive.
On whether he's worried about the team getting "manhandled" in the paint
Am I worried about it? Yeah. I've been concerned about a lot of things, but it's always the same answer: we need to do things collectively and we've just got to play each minute with a great amount of force and a great amount of respect for whoever the opponent is. With eight games to go, our guys don't feel great about the way they lost another lead and stuff like that. We need a day off, we're going to take a day off tomorrow. We'll regather on Monday and get ready for Golden State. That's where we are.
On how he would evaluate the execution in the last three minutes
My team's execution? I'm in favor of it. (laughter) I include myself in that, too. We did some good things, but we had some challenges, but the only way we can overcome them is collectively. I've got to be a positive facilitator on things, and I've always got to look to be doing a better job. Our guys have to look to stay with it. Dirk getting his third and fourth foul within a minute, that was big in the game. That was a mental mistake on his part. Those are things we've just got to avoid.
After 12 years of this, I'm never going to make a win feel like a loss. Wins are just too hard to come by in this league, so I'm happy we won. Monday we'll have a good practice and we'll get ready for Tuesday. Golden State is another really hard team to play.
On whether he was worried this game would slip away
Yeah, that wasn't pretty there for a second. I thought the shot of the game was actually Jose's three in the corner. They had just made a run, they went up 5 with a couple of minutes to go. If he doesn't make that three and they go down a score again, it's really ugly. So that was a big shot for us, kind of woke us up, got it back to a two-point game. The good thing is that we were in the bonus early, and every little foul, we went to the foul line, and that was big. We strung together some stops, which all night, we really didn't, but there, we had three or four in a row and it gave us a little lead. That stretch right there is what we needed to win the game.
On Sam Dalembert's play
Yeah, he's been really active. He's been fun to watch, keeping balls alive on the offensive end, and on the defensive end he's going for everything, trying to get blocks, be physical in the post. He's rebounding well on this homestand, so all the things we need him to do, and it's been great.
On why this game was a struggle
We lose leads, that's what we do.
On how Holger being here helps
I actually felt good tonight. Felt confident, even though I only shot about 50 percent. I felt good today.
On if this is the best the team has played since Tyson
You're forgetting Kaman. Kaman's my boy, I had to give him a shoutout. But yeah, I said it before the season that Sammy can bring some of the stuff that Tyson brought because he's so athletic and so long. If he uses his length and is a factor in there, he's fast, he can run, he can jump. So yeah, he's an athlete, and that's definitely a plus next to me.
On the factors of losing all these double-digit leads
Well, you've got to keep playing. I feel like we turn the ball over too easily sometimes, and that's never a good thing. We're obviously not the fastest team, so that usually puts the other team right in transition or a layup. We've got to just keep executing on offense, keep getting good shots. We all know basketball's a game of runs.
On whether he's worried about not making it to the playoffs at this point in his career
I worry about not making the playoffs, not necessarily for my career, but just because I like to compete at the highest level and that's what the playoffs are all about. I don't think it makes or breaks my career. ... We didn't get there last year, so we said from day one of training camp that's what we're going to do -- make the playoffs. So that was our goal, and that's my goal. It's still doable, we just have a tough schedule. We play some of those teams right around us, with Golden State and Memphis and Phoenix. There are some fun challenges and hopefully we're ready for it.
On whether things are clicking
Defensively, it's been a challenge throughout the season with the three big man rotation and trying to maximize the time you're out there, and do the best you can. So it has been a challenge, when you find that way you can really make a big difference and try to stick with it -- not worry about the first five, six minutes in the first quarter, and not worry about fouls. Just go out there, study the teams your playing against, knowing exactly the tendency, and try to contribute offensively.
On the alley oop dunk at the end
Yeah, I told [Brandan] I still have a little fuel left. I took off a little bit. It was great, it was a great pass.
On when he started realizing how important he is to this team
Yeah, I knew that from the beginning. That's why I wanted to come here. The games I played last year to the games I played, I wanted to fill that spot. It was a little challenge, but after the All-Star, I really picked it up a little bit and really contribute and make an impact in this game before my time is up.