Quote O' Da Night
Credit: uberzev from LG.net
PHIL JACKSON: â€œI donâ€™t know if we can play much better than we played that second half. There are some defensive things we can do better, but offensively we played a real good game. Kobe is almost at the peak of his game. Shaq and Gary (Payton) contributed, we had players filling roles, it was very good.â€?
(On the Lakersâ€™ Big Three)
â€œThey did score some points. But there were some things done in the context of how the team wanted to play. It was very important to us. Moving the ball, running counter actions against Phoenix that we had to do in the second half. They made good adjustments as a team.â€?
SHAQUILLE Oâ€™NEAL (19 pts, 5 rebs): â€œThe first half, we got off to a fast start and we kind of let them get back into it. The third and fourth quarter, we played good defense. Kobe had an exceptional game. Gary played good. They doubled me a lot and I tried to hit the open guy.â€? (On Kobeâ€™s play)
â€œHeâ€™s just playing with a lot of energy. He likes to pick his play up in the second half of the season and heâ€™ll be real sharp for the playoffsâ€?
KOBE BRYANT (40 pts, 7 rebs): â€œWe played very well. In the third quarter, they came out with a surge and we were able to hold them off, and actually keep the lead going into the fourth quarter. I feel like Iâ€™m getting better every day. Tonight we needed me to score more points. Fortunately for us, I was able to do that and also get involved in other actions of the game. It was a good game.â€?
GARY PAYTON: (20 pts, 5 asts): â€œIt feels good because weâ€™re starting to get in a rhythm now. Everybody is starting to play. Weâ€™re being unselfish. Everybody is giving everybody the ball. Everybody is getting good looks and weâ€™re playing defense. Thatâ€™s the best part about it. As soon as Karl (Malone) gets back, weâ€™ll try to fit him in and hopefully weâ€™ll get him in the same rhythm that weâ€™re in right now. If we can get him back with about 20 games left and get him in a rhythm for the playoffs, weâ€™ll be fine.â€?
MIKE Dâ€™ANTONI: â€œAt some point we had a breakdown. Defensively they just killed us. Itâ€™s something we have to do offensively. We have to learn it. We just arenâ€™t getting it done. I thought there were a lot of great things. It was a good efforts by Shawn (Marion) and Jahidi (White). Jahidi did as well as he could do against Shaq (Oâ€™Neal). But Kobe (Bryant) got off. You get one hole plugged up and then another one opens, and then the whole thing starts to leak.
â€œKobe is unbelievable, thatâ€™s all we talked about, Kobe and Shaq. These guys are very good. We have to play Shaquille the whole time. We got shook a little bit. We just had some tough moments, but I thought we played the Lakers pretty well. They are experienced.â€?
AMARÃ‰ STOUDEMIRE (25 pts, 12 rebs): â€œItâ€™s tough to have to lose this way again. It is the story of this season. We felt that we had played a good game against the Lakers. Itâ€™s hard to contain a team that has two of the best players in the league.â€?
(On his fourth quarter flurry)
â€œKobe had a strong game going into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter, in close situations, is what this game boils down to. Kobe had a strong impact for his team in the fourth and I just wanted to try and adjust my game so that I could provide an impact for us.â€?
â€œThis game hurts us. We are fighting against an eight-game losing streak and itâ€™s not a good feeling. We need to get a win soon so that we can gain some confidence in ourselves and get back on the right track.â€?
SHAWN MARION (22 pts, 13 rebs): â€œWe played them strong tonight. We just have not been able to finish them off. I think that pushing the ball for fast break opportunities is are biggest strength right now, and we stopped looking for that. Our defense is key to our fast break opportunities, which was not there tonight.
â€œThis loss hurts because we were so close with them, and if we just had a few stops on the defensive end, or if we had not turned the ball over in a few situations, we could have had a win tonight.â€?
JOE JOHNSON (11 pts, 9 asts): â€œWe hung with them all night long, even coming back from a large first quarter deficit. But like most of our games lately, we were just not able to finish them at the end.â€?
(On Bryantâ€™s performance):
â€œHe had a good game. Itâ€™s tough to match up with the Lakers because they have so many different angles they can capitalize on. Shaquille (Oâ€™Neal) had some foul trouble, so Kobe picked it up and had a strong second half to compliment his first half.â€?