Why are you off to such a great start?
The guys are looking for me more around the basket. A lot of it is Jason Kidd. He has the ball in his hands a lot so the only thing I can do is present myself in an open area and try to score whenever I get it. When I get fouled I just take my time at the free throw line and knock down those shots.
We've talked a lot about the chemistry this season. Do you think that has a lot to do with Jason Kidd?
It's more of everybody being willing to make the extra pass. Our defense starts our offense. We've got to go out and defend and rebound consistently each and every night - and not really worry about the offensive end. We have guys who can put the ball in the basket and we give guys different looks every night. If somebody isn't going, then someone comes off the bench and gives us the extra pep we need. We are a team, and if we play hard together good things are going to happen for us.
What is the focus for tomorrow night?
You're talking about a totally different defensive team. We know who the ball is going to go through there. Tim is going to get his touches, if he's back. If he's playing, we'll try to contest all of his shots and make him take contested shots at the basket -- keep those guys off the boards. We can't start the game the way we started tonight. We have to start the game better, so we're just going to go out there and give it a great team effort and play some great team defense -- hopefully come out victorious.
You showed real commitment to stay in the game after being down 17.
They started on fire. They were making everything. They were playing harder. I think we made a good comeback in the second quarter. At halftime coach got mad, started kicking a couple things, and got us back together. We knew we were going to comeback, and we had a hell of a second half.
What was that message in the second half?
It was just to get us pumped. 'Come on we need energy, we need to hustle, they're playing harder than us...' It was just about that. It wasn't about basketball.
How do you become a more consistent team defensively?
Keep practicing, keep getting better. It's a team defense -- five guys have to be on the same page at the same time. On the pick-and-roll we have to defend a little bit better. Brooks and Lowry were getting into the paint tonight. Keep getting better. It's a long season.
Talk about Erick Dampier.
He's one of the best. I love him as a teammate. I love him as my big guy. If he can be my big guy forever, I'll take him. He sets screens. He never asks for the ball. He does the dirty work, and we love him for that.
We were just getting our tails kicked and the guys got angry -- started playing a lot harder and with a lot more purpose. That started the turnaround. The play in the first half was really poor. We got scored on eleven straight times at one point. It was everybody. Everybody was involved. It was late first quarter to midway through the second. It's embarrassing how poorly we were playing. Give them credit, they were agressive, and making shots, and driving the ball, and persistent defensively. They had something to do with it. This kind of wild inconsistency is obviously something we've go to to work on.
Talk about Erick Dampier.
He was great He was not only a presence around the basket, he was a force. The numbers are monster numbers, so without him we would have been in real trouble tonight. but he's been playing big for us all seven games.
Defense on Brooks in the second half...
We just did a better job guarding him. And it wasn't just one guy left on an island, our whole team was reacting to what was going on. He played over 20 minutes in the first half, so maybe he wears down a little bit too. But we were a lot better. Our disposition was strong defensively, and we played better offensively. In the first quarter we turned it over eight times or something and just were disheveled. We're going to have to play a lot better.