The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Indiana Pacers 123-111 behind a barrage of threes on Thursday night. The team talks about how they got so hot and what it took to slow down reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Month Paul George. Post-game interviews via CSNNW.
You do things to make it tough so [George] has to exhaust a lot of energy before he even touches the ball, therefore he usually don’t have a lot of energy in order to make moves or stuff like that, so things like that is what I try to do.
Have you looked at his final line yet?
Season-low 11 points, 4-17, 0-9 from deep. That’s pretty good. How would you assess the job you did?
It’s another tack on my—that I can put in my bag, so they say, knowing that I can be a really good defensive player, which I try to be.
The coaches showing they trusted me to go out there and make plays. Even coach was calling a couple plays for me down the stretch and, you know, me making shots, I feel like that builds the trust even more. So, I just feel like just being out there more and more just allows me to get more and more confident.
How often does he call plays for you?
Not too often, but, I mean, I got hot and he kept calling plays for me.
Big threes when they were back to coming back— no doubt about it, would have left you in. You felt good, get a good look.
Yeah, not at all. I didn’t hesitate. I just felt like my shooting was pretty good tonight, and I feel like I can make a couple, feel like I’m going to have a good shooting night, and it’s about me just, you know, just keep shooting. Missing or making. That’s what they want me to do. If I’m open, all night.
What was the key to your defense, team-wise, on Paul George tonight?
We wanted to make him play against the crowd. You know, a guy, he’s Player of the Month—been getting 30 on everybody, so we knew that it wasn’t going to be one guy to go out there and stop him, so we made sure that we shrunk the floor, guys were giving stunts, guys were physical, and he felt our team. It wasn’t easy for u and it wasn’t easy for him.
[There were] 31 combined threes between the two teams. Are you surprised it was such a shootout?
I’m not surprised at all; especially with the pace of the game, with the lineups that both teams had in. We had Meyers [Leonard] and they had C.J. Miles, both stretch fours now, and they both shoot a lot of threes. So once the pace picked up, the floor was spaced out and, you know, both teams shot a lot of threes.
On the offensive end too, you had a lot of people giving a lot of things. Can you talk about that?
Yeah, offensively I think we did a good job of getting out and running in transition and running. You got to get stops to run, and I think we did a good job—for the most part—securing rebounds and preventing second chance opportunities. Once we did that it was easy to get out and run and look up and hit guys. AC got it going, I think [Mason] Plumlee had some good passes, finished in the lane, Dame was Dame tonight, and Chief… Everybody—Everybody stepped up.
[Can you talk about what] this second unit is giving you with Meyers and Ed [Davis]?
Yeah, Meyers and Ed, those guys are big. They’re huge for us. They come in every night and Ed’s, you know, cleaning up on the boards, getting offensive rebounds. Offensively, we don’t give him a lot of touches, not a lot of plays ran through him, so I understand his aggressiveness on those rebounds, and we try to reward him when we can, hitting the roller. Meyers did a good job knocking down shots and running the floor well and it was a good night.