On Rajon Rondo's big night
Rondo: "The floor was pretty spaced and I was able to get into the lane. Coach kept saying that they didn't have any shot blockers. That's about it."
Dirk: "He's great getting to the basket. Sometimes they were even trying to shoot under but he was so quick with the ball, on the account of beating them to the basket, he finished some tough layups there. Once he has rhythm, he made some shots, made a tough 3 there. That was fun to watch. We need more of the same going forward.
Carlisle: "I really love what Rondo is doing these past couple of games. He's playing with a lot of energy, a lot of force and making a lot of things happen in the paint."
Rondo: "I am thinking score. I think I played enough games to know when I need to make the pass when guys commit. For the most part like tonight I was just trying to get the ball above the rim, and when the guys come to block the shots that's leaving Amar'e or Dirk underneath to get the offensive rebound."
Rondo, on whether he needs to be able to attack more consistently: "The style's completely different here. We have a lot of guys who can drive the ball, which is different from Boston. Most of the guys who I played with were catch-and-shoot guys, so when I do penetrate it's not to get guys shots, it's to get the ball moving, or to get guys making plays off the ball, as far as moving the ball defensively on both ends of the court. Tonight I was living a little more aggressive. I guess I'll try to keep it that way."
Carlisle, on his play and specifically his free throw shooting: "Yeah, I want him to get fouled more because I think he's going to make free throws, I really do. The work he's put in with Holger and on his own -- I was real disappointed, there was one drive he did get hit on that he could have gone to the free throw line, they ended up just giving us the ball back, but look. This guy has a lot to him. He has a lot of experience. He's got a lot of moxie. He's learning about our team, learning what works with our guys that he's playing with. He's cast now with a much different team than he's ever been with. In Boston, when they had their long run of great success, he's out there with a bunch of catch and shoot guys who were some of the best shooters of all time. Our team is a little different. We're more of a slashing team. We have guys who can shoot but we're not set up the same way they were. He understands the adjustment and the great thing right now is all our guys are really working with him and he is working with them."
Rondo, on Devin saying the team's totally different with Rondo playing like this: "I'm not going to disagree with my teammates. I agree."
Pulling away with a big third quarter
Carlisle: "We came out of the locker room with a lot of fire, a lot of attitude and some real disposition. The bottom line is we've got to play an entire 48 that way. The other night, we played a pretty good first half and we laid an egg in the second half. Tonight, we were just okay in the first half. In the second half, we knew we needed to pick it up because they're a team that plays with juice and they do play with attitude. We did a good job in the second half."
Rondo, on the change coming out of half: "I think the 50-50 balls. We didn't turn the ball over much in the first half, we had two turnovers, which both I committed. They knocked two 3s down. We continued to take care of the ball in the second half and we ran them off the 3 and we got those 50-50 balls."
Amar'e: "We just had to grind this one out. It was an important win for us and we have a tough road trip ahead of us so we wanted to come out tonight with some aggressiveness from the start and get this win."
Rondo: "We came off two losses so we want to protect home court, give the fans something to cheer about. We didn't play up until half time. Even though we shot the ball well, defensively we weren't getting stops. I think they were 9-17 from 3. Obviously with the two teams we're about to face, they're obviously probably the best two 3-point shooting teams in the league. We've got to run teams off the 3-point line."
Carlisle: "The history of the league is, you go in to the fourth quarter with the lead, you've got a great chance to win, globally -- that's why first halves, first three quarters are so important. One big reason we've had success is Monta Ellis. He did it again tonight; he really closed the game down, made plays, made shots on offense. I thought Rondo played a great all-around game; he had a really good floor game. Dirk didn't have a great shooting night, but he made some timely shots and he did some very good things defensively; got his hands on some balls and some tip-outs and had one or two blocks. All those things are really important."
Rondo on his own adjustment: "It's going well. It's going to take time, it's going to take encouraging words from each other, his teammates, us. It's going to take some film, but he's a professional, he's a pro. He works at it. He's one of the first guys here in the gym. It's only a matter of time."
Rondo: "I think our focus is a lot more on the defensive end of the floor. Offense never wins championships, scoring 108 or whatever we were scoring. It's nothing if you're giving up 105 or 110. I've been trying to teach defense, get our strategy better, get on the same page defensively as a team. Just trying to get stops together, not just trading baskets, getting two or three stops in a row. That's what we did tonight to open up a lead in the second half."
Carlisle on the team defense improving: "We won't really know until Tyson's back. Tonight we took some real positive stride, holding these guys to 93, that's a good defensive night. They started the game, they were over 60 percent for the first 15 minutes. That's not a good start, but we stayed after it, and that speaks to the length of the game and the importance of sticking with it. We're not a perfect team, but I don't see any perfect teams out there. I'm encouraged. I like this group and I think we're going to stick with it and we're going to find a way to keep getting better."
Carlisle, on Amar'e: "He's a really good player, and he's in to it. I knew how hard it was to gameplan for him this year, so I expected him to be good. He's just a super guy, too. He's a really positive guy in the locker room and at timeouts and stuff like that, and that's really impressive. He's doing a terrific job for us."
Carlisle: "[Harris is] playing with a lot of energy and the rest of us gotta follow his lead. We've had some trouble getting the energy going these last couple of games for whatever reason, the second half of Brooklyn, the first half tonight. Playing with energy is one of the biggest keys to winning in this league and we need him to keep doing what he's doing, and we gotta follow his lead."
Carlisle: "Nobody's asked any questions about Sarge. He was +23 and didn't score a point. He's another guy who plays with a lot of energy, does a lot of good things on both ends even if he's not scoring. I think it's more than noteworthy. We need guys can step in like he did tonight in the absence of Tyson and do a lot of the little things to help us win. What he did tonight was very important for us."
Dirk, on closing out fourth quarters: "Well, you know, Monta's been phenomenal. Our closer. We go to him almost every time down the stretch and he's come through more than not, making tough shots, making plays for others. That's a big reason. We've been decent with leads. We get in trouble when we have suspect first halves. We need to chase our game and run out of gas in the fourth, but we're usually pretty good when we take a lead."
Dirk, on giving up the role of closer to Monta: "Yeah, I feel like Monta's in his prime. He's got the pull ups, he's got the drives, he's got the range on his shots, so, you know, we feel like putting the ball in his hands he's going to be in a great position for us. It doesn't always necessarily mean shoot it, but make plays for others, for Tyson on the roll, for me on the pop. Sometimes he'll find Parsons on the weak side. Just put the ball on his hands and let him make plays."
Dirk, on knowing what the team is right now: "Unfortunately, honestly, we haven't been healthy enough to put it together here this month. Really, our starting unit hasn't been together much if you look at it. We were looking okay, then Rondo broke his face -- *laughter* that's what he did, right? -- and then he came back after the break and the two Chandlers have been out for a minute now. We're hoping to get them back together, and, you know, there's only 20 games left. You got to go for it and stay healthy, carry some momentum into the playoffs and go from there."
Dirk, on whether that concerns him: "Yeah, I think at this point, 60-something games in, there's a lot of teams banged up, so you can't complain. Obviously everybody knows we missed the Chandlers, especially Tyson's energy and defense, but we got to get them right. We don't want him out there 50 percent and then he reinjures himself, so we're waiting on these boys to get right and hopefully play some good basketball.
Dirk, on defensive improvements he has seen: "I think we're guarding the 3-point line a little bit better. We used to be murdered there pretty good. I think in the first half, they were like 9-17 again today, which you've just got to be better. We all know the league nowadays is 3s and going all the way to the rim. Sometimes we've got to do a better job getting to the 3-point shooters and making them put it on the floor, and then we scramble, rotate for each other, just open 3s in this league these days are a killer."
Richard Jefferson on his play: "I just have to credit my teammates, really to tell you the truth. I've been working the last couple of games I wasn't too pleased with my performance especially in the second half. I would normally get off to a good start in the first quarter and then kind of miss some shots. I just tried to focus on driving the ball a lot more and letting that open up some shots for me. I think you have to know your scouting report. Teams are trying to run me off the line so when I'm looking for threes they're typically difficult."
Jefferson on the team's cohesiveness going forward: "Well we just know we have to keep attacking. You know we've been down a few guys; some other guys that are playing are banged up. We're still incorporating Amar'e; we're getting into a rhythm so there is a lot going on. Like Coach said we just got to continue to stay the course but our effort wasn't as high as it should be and I wouldn't say we're hanging our heads but we just didn't have the energy that we needed too."
Amar'e on his role in the offense: "Yeah I am, it's taking a little time but I'm definitely getting more comfortable, offensively and defensively as well. As the season goes on and as I continue to practice more and kind of get with the guys I'm sure I can get more comfortable."
Amar'e: "Well we have to show some character, we have some tough teams ahead of us with Portland and Golden State, two renown teams in this league, and then L.A. so two tough games ahead of us on the West Coast. Then we got to make it after that but we have to make sure we stay together and keep working."
Note: locker room reporting was done by Rebecca Lawson, transcription was done by Tim Cato.