We were much better tonight defensively, and we had to be. The first two games we were poor. We were very fortunate to win the first game. But tonight, we played championship level defense for the first time in the series, and now the challenge is to sustain.
I know what we’re capable of because the first ten games of the playoffs we saw it. When you come up against a very different kind of opponent you can get seduced a little bit into a different style of play, and you can get a little bit seduced out of what’s made you successful. I believe that happened to us in the first couple of games. But then you get hit in the face at home. It’s sobering for everybody. So we refocused, guys recommitted to the defensive end.
This is as hard a team to guard as there is in basketball because they’re great at putting constant pressure on you off the dribble, off screens, in transition – so many different ways.
I thought they came out and did a great job from the start with their defensive pressure, and we did not do a good job offensively. But they did a great job, really took us out of our sets. Their trapping on the basketball just got us playing on our heels, and that’s not how we play. The start was tough to overcome, but I give our guys a lot of credit. They fought back and made it a game.
They guarded us much better; there’s no question. They started the game off really hitting us and knocking us out of our offense, and we missed a lot of threes. Those weren’t all contested. We have to get better.
Great defensive effort, I think, early on. It really set the tone for us. “Trix [Shawn Marion] has really taken the challenge, I thought Sevenson was great early, and that set our offense up there in the first half.
Second half was a little rougher. We really had to grind it out. I thought we fought through some stuff. We kept our composure when they made a run and made some big plays down the stretch.
To hold a very good offensive team to 36% shooting at home was very good and really won us the game.
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