Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts joined Mike Barrett and Mike Rice on Blazers Courtside to preview his team's upcoming Western Conference semifinals series against the San Antonio Spurs.
Here's the video via YouTube user portlandtrailblazers.
Here's a partial transcript.
Was it hard to get focused after all of the feelings surrounding Damian Lillard's game-winner?
I think that the fact that we have some time to enjoy that moment and move on to the next series. If we had played a Game 7 yesterday, and then had to play tomorrow night, and if we had won the game yesterday in that fashion, I don't know. Coming down from that and then getting back up for Game 1 would be a little bit more difficult.
The way it was, we played Friday, everybody really got to enjoy the moment, savor the victory, and then have a day off where you kind of just were able to wind down, and then gear back up for San Antonio. I don't think that's going to be a problem for this series.
Do you agree it's good to open on the road with the pressure on the Spurs to win at home?
I do. I thought that, especially in the Houston series, not so much in the second round, because second round, you know, reality hits: you're in the second round and you got to be ready to play. For us, having been a surprise team to make the playoffs, not a lot of people were picking us to do much, the fact that we could go on the road and steal one or two games on the road and then come back home, I thought, would be an advantage for us.
There was a chance, that if we had somehow gotten home court against Houston and lost one of our first two home games, then I don't know how we would've responded on the road, having lost home court. It all worked out, but I really liked the way we came out in that series. Our focus: we were locked in. Not only did we get Game 1, we got Game 2, and that really helped us. Certainly, there was pressure after we lost a home game, and then lost Game 5. That's the beauty of the playoffs.
[San Antonio] averages 45 points per game from their bench. Their starters play less minutes than anybody in the NBA. Do you have to make a special game plan to keep an eye on your starters against their bench? Is it something out of the ordinary that you wouldn't have to do with other teams?
They certainly rely on their bench, but they didn't have a starter average more than 30 minutes during the season. In the series against Dallas, they had three guys average 33, 34, 35 minutes. Their rotation has shortened as well, and certainly they have a lot of guys, and they'll use their bench probably more than I will use mine. I think it's important that we got to this point by rotating our guys.
We certainly rely on our starters, but our bench is going to be important. [Mo Williams], [Dorell Wright], [Thomas Robinson], [Joel Freeland], and who knows beyond that. [San Antonio] plays small -- we might have to match up to that. I don't anticipate us changing the way we play very much, and certainly, I think San Antonio has already shown against Dallas that they're shortening their rotation and their bench isn't getting as much time as it did during the regular season.
[James Harden] was the guy that did a lot of picking and rolling, and you had [Wesley Matthews] on him. For this ball club, [Tony Parker] will be doing a lot of that. In fact, he averages 8.5 points on pick-and-roll plays -- number one in the NBA. Would you have to do something special, looking at Parker and the way he does pick-and-roll?
Their Big 3 starts with Parker, [Manu Ginobili] is kind of the x-factor in how he goes, and [Tim Duncan] is just as stable as anything. With Parker's pick-and-rolls, [Lillard] will start on him, but I'm sure you'll see [Matthews] and [Nicolas Batum] on him at times as well. Keeping [Parker] out of the paint is a challenge. Dallas had trouble with it -- he got to the middle of the lane. With San Antonio and where they shoot the three, you kind of have to pick your poison.
Dallas really made it a priority to limit their three-point attempts, and consequently, they gave up some penetration in the paint. Right now, you go into the first game and you kind of do what you're comfortable with. We played them in three or four competitive games, and they pose a problem. They're a great offensive team and we know we're not going to stop them.
Our job is to limit their effectiveness, and Parker's pick-and-rolls -- it's going to be a little bit like Jeremy Lin, a little bit like James Harden. We got to control his effectiveness and his passing. They are such a good passing team, much more so than Houston, and that's going to be one of our challenges -- to limit the effectiveness in passing the ball in those pick-and-roll situations.
-- Sagar Trika | @BlazersBySagar