Here’s some highlights of the postgame reaction, from The Garden:
Doc Rivers On The Defense:
“Yeah, our defense was terrific all night. We broke one rule consistently on defense tonight. After the game they all yelled it out when I came in, corner threes. We never give up corner threes, and I think they had four or five of them in one stretch. Other than that, I thought for the most part we tried to make them play against five. That was what we were saying going into the game, and keep them out of transition. The turnovers were too high. You know, it didn’t hurt us as much in the second half, but they still hurt us, and that’s what kept them in the game.
But I just loved their defense. I felt we lost our pace, completely off in the second half. The first half we were running, pushing the ball up, had ball movement, getting early in our offense. I know the second half we tried to just slow the game down, and I don’t want to play at that pace.”
On Pierce’s Return: “Actually when he hit the floor, you could see he hit it pretty hard. I thought he was out, honestly, even when he came back. I asked him if he wanted to go back in when he walked on, and he really didn’t answer. So I actually thought he was out. He came back, he was great. He was terrific. That’s huge. I don’t know if we win if he doesn’t come back.”
On 3rd Quarter Struggles: “I thought it started before he went out obviously, and again, it was our pace. I felt we were looking for things, and I agree with some of the things we were looking for, but I thought we were taking too long. We were trying to exploit match?ups, instead of running our offense and moving the ball. I felt we got away from it, and then they started scoring and then the game got tight.’
Paul Pierce on Shaq’s Debut: “He’s huge for us. I think the numbers don’t really tell you how big he is for us because I remember at one point in the game going to Ray, I think it was the third quarter, we looked up and we were six minutes and in the bonus because Shaq drew about four or five fouls. We’re not a team that usually gets in the bonus that early, and that’s the presence that he brings. Hopefully it’s going to be like that all year long, when you get into a penalty and every foul from then on you go to the free?throw line. Just having him, he’s a great finisher.
I think him and Kevin, they’ve been working well and having a lot of dialogue in training camp. I think they’ve been feeding off each other. I think he opens up Kevin and Kevin opens him up for a lot of one?on?one opportunities. We want to take advantage of that night in and night out. I think that’s where our greatest strength is, on the inside, and I’m glad to have him on our team.”
PAUL PIERCE on Ray’s Big 3 with 47 seconds left: “I mean, it’s just ?? we talk about it every day. That’s what we work on every day, making that extra pass, not trying to play hero ball. I saw him collapse on me, and you’ve got one of the greatest shooters in NBA history wide open in the corner, it’s a no?brainer. I wanted to get it to him. I have total confidence. That just shows our unselfishness and how we play the game. We make the extra pass. We love playing with each other, and he came up big tonight, and I’m glad he knocked it down.”
KG On Rondo’s Play: “ Well, he’s probably ?? I mean, I think Paul will concur with this, but it’s a dominant force. You have to pay attention to him when he’s on the floor. The things that don’t show up on the stats sheet, the motivation on the side, the things he sees, his expertise, his experience, you can’t teach that. You can’t have someone come in and draw it up on the board and say, hey, this is what you do. It’s instilled in him. He opens things up. Him and I, like Paul said, have been having a lot of extended dialogue about the game, and I think the more we play together, the better we’ll be. But so far, so good.”
Wade on his team’s problems: “A little bit out of rhythm, of course. This is my first ?? LeBron’s and my first preseason game. Just getting a little bit out of rhythm and continuity is still ?? with me being out, the continuity is still not there yet. But I thought defensively we played well. We did a good job of holding this team to 88 points, and we’ve still got a lot of things we can work on. So the offense will come. It just didn’t come tonight like we wanted it. But that’s the least of our worries.“