Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts discussed his team's Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Blazers Courtside with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice.
Here's a condensed transcript. Video is below.
The rotation was changed little bit, and it seemed like, maybe for the first time in this series, you got San Antonio off balance a little bit. We know series are long like this and there are lots of adjustments and lots of key times. Last night seemed like a real key time in this series, obviously, with you guys in a "do or die" situation.
It did. Particularly in Games 2 and 3, the first quarter was okay and then they went on a run, and we had a hard time recovering from it in both those games. The way we came out in the first quarter was terrific. We had good energy from the crowd, but more than anything else, we were able to sustain what we were doing throughout the game, rather than having lulls that San Antonio had been able to capitalize on.
[Mike Barrett] just mentioned [Nicolas Batum] on the defensive end, but on the offensive end, when he became the backup point guard and you had [Will Barton] in there, it gave you some length on both ends -- on offense and the defensive end. Both of those guys really rebounded well from the back court. It just seemed like a lot of questions were answered last night. Can this carry over to Game 5?
It certainly can. It's going to be tough. San Antonio is a tough place to play. [Batum] was really good at both ends. He was able to defend [Tony Parker] from the beginning. It really took a toll on him, but when he became point guard, he was able to get the ball and really start pushing the ball up the court quickly and get us into our transition game. It worked out really well, especially in the first half, where we didn't have a true point guard, although [Batum] was probably our primary ball handler.
We had [Batum] and we had [Barton] and we had [CJ McCollum], all guys who are good ball handlers, but not necessarily point guards. That was part of the thinking: that we would just play in flow, play in movement. [LaMarcus Aldridge] was on the court, so we'd keep it simple and get him the ball with some shooters on the perimeter.
What kind of mood is the team in going down there? Is there nervous energy or are they thinking "we've got a shot at this team. We played so well in Game 4?" What is the feeling like?
To be honest, it's really not any different. You know their personalities. We just finished a team dinner at a restaurant, and there was good camaraderie. They're in a good mood, but I know they'll be ready to play tomorrow. I think the win last night certainly gave us confidence. We hadn't put together a game yet, and we haven't played the way we know we can play. I think not just getting that win last night, but more importantly how we got the win, just gives everybody a chance to exhale for a little bit and realize that we can get a win down here.
[Damian Lillard] in the fourth quarter had nine points of his 25. Do you think he was a lot fresher not having the responsibility to chase [Parker] around?
Yes and no. He was guarding Parker in Game 1, and then [Wesley Matthews] guarded him in Game 2 and Game 3, and [Batum] guarded him in the second half of Game 3, so [Lillard] hasn't really been on Parker since Game 1. I don't know if that's necessarily the case. I think his stamina was fine in all the games. I don't know if that's necessarily the explanation or not.
Well, 62 points in the paint. Did that surprise you, coach?
For us, yeah, because we're not a team that scores a lot in the paint. We're 30-40 points in the paint at best. I thought [Lillard] came off the first ball screen on the first possession and nailed his first jumper, and it looked like he was really locked in. I thought he did a nice job of mixing up when to pull up for jump shots and when to go to the basket. In the fourth quarter, he got to the basket three or four times. He was aggressive and he was able to finish. The tough thing, just like with any great scorer or great point guard, for example [Parker], is they know when to do what. They know when to take it to the basket. I thought [Lillard] mixed it up well last night.
Here's the video via YouTube user portlandtrailblazers.
-- Sagar Trika | @BlazersBySagar