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June 23, 2005

Gregg Popovich


COACH GREGG POPOVICH: First, I'd like to congratulate the Pistons organization, the coaches and their players for a fantastic year. They are one heck of a basketball team as we all know, and what they did last year and this year back-to-back is pretty incredible and pretty hard to do and very few are in that position. I also need to thank Coach Brown, because without him, I wouldn't even be sitting here. And I'd also like to congratulate our organization from top to bottom, you know, from owners, players, coaches, staff, everybody who worked so hard. It was an unbelievable year. I still don't believe what happened tonight. And they deserve a lot of credit, too. So, that's that.

Q. Congratulations. How easy does having a guy like Tim Duncan make your job?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, you know, when you call plays or do things on the court, it always works better when he's out there. I do the same things with someone else on the court, it doesn't work. So obviously Tim is a factor. He's the reason things go. If he scores, that's great. If he doesn't score, he's spacing the floor, getting the ball to other people who do score, and he's always rebounding and playing D. So his complete game is so sound, so fundamental, so unnoticed at times, because if he doesn't score, people think, well, he didn't do anything. But he was incredible and he was the force that got it done for us.

Q. It seemed like in the second half when you fell behind, your defense found another level and that's what you back in the game. Can you talk about what you guys were doing out there, and how important the switch to the zone for a few possessions was to that?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: We thought after going back and looking at games 1 and 2, the difference they scored -- you have to help me, I think 86 and 79, whatever. We made stops in that game. We followed the stops with a rebound and reran. We scored points. When we didn't make stops in Detroit, they ran on us, and we didn't rebound well. We thought no matter what we did X's and O's-wise, our halfcourt did was important and it was important to make stops and get the rebound. That quickens the pace for us, so that was important. We thought we'd go ahead and take a chance tonight, they are so tough to guard, especially after time-outs, because Coach does a great job of putting you in awkward positions. We did some zone, and it happened to work tonight.

Q. Coach, I understand that a few moments ago you met with Coach Brown, and I was wondering if you could either share what was said or how difficult that was for you and/or he?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, he's a whole lot more mature and wise than I am, because he was fantastic. He gave made me feel real comfortable and he was congratulatory and is just classy beyond belief. Yeah, it felt weird. I felt for him and his group, because they are just as good as we are. They work just as hard as we do, and we made shots tonight and they had a tougher time than the other night making shots. It was very heartfelt and he made it easy for me.

Q. He was very classy to you, but yet how much could you tell that this hurt him and what did you say to him?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, you know, he's a competitor. He didn't want to lose. He's hurting a lot. It will dissipate like it does for all of us, but he handled it such that you would not even know it. Any other comments are, you know, just our own.

Q. If he does have to give up the coaching, how tough do you think that's going to be for him knowing how much he loves the game?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, let's wait and see what happens.

Q. This third trip The Finals, for you personally, how different was it? It seemed like you were the funniest guy in the press conference the whole last three weeks.

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, thank you. (Laughter). It's a pretty volatile league, and you never know what you're going to get the axe. So I've been working on my future. Somebody might have thought I called time-outs wrong and a month from now I could be back in Pomona-Pitzer. I used to coach there.

Q. Could I ask you, I got here a bit late, everyone focuses on Tim throughout the year; when you lose, it's his fault, and when you win. Can you talk about what he showed tonight, not necessarily to you, because I think you know what he is, can you talk about that?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: I'm kind of used to that. It was the same way when David was here. If he wins, well, it's expected and if he loses, well, you know, that's bad. The same way with Timmy, and it's like that with all great players, I guess. He was special throughout the entire playoffs. When he did have a bad game, he always figured out some time in the series to come back and lead us to where we needed to be, and everybody follows him. He sets the tone, and all of us, our staff, myself, he's unbelievably incisive, mature, and always kind of steady. Some of us are a little bit more like that (indicating up and down), but he's more that way (indicating steady).

Q. What about tonight?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: He was special tonight, because you could tell when he caught the ball, how much more physical he was, getting in position, bumping and grinding and getting shots and making sure he got toward the rim, so that when people came at him he was in good position to open up a teammate for a wide open shot and he did that. He played D, he hit the boards and he did everything.

Q. I'm going to try this for the third time to ask you this question.


Q. Now that you have three titles in seven years --

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: So bored of this. So boring.

Q. Let me ask you this.


Q. About you? You always say --

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Let's talk about Iraq or something that matters. But it doesn't matter. But go ahead, it's your deal. I'm supposed it sit here and answer. I apologize.

Q. That's okay. It's part of the game.


Q. You always say that it's your job, and you have success if you don't mess it up. Can you assess what you did in the sidelines in this series, is it simply not messing it up, or is it actually mixing it up perhaps with defenses?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: I probably did some good things and I probably made some mistakes. I mean, don't you think that's fair? That's probably what happened. There were -- you know, you go back after a game, there's always something the next day, why did I do that, why did I do this. And probably we did something good and we want to continue to did it. It's always a little bit of both, but when you talk about those championships or credit and that kind of thing, that involves a lot of people. My staff is great. They have ideas that sometimes I don't even think of them. During the game tonight, I'm saying, we're going to, you know, Bruce will be -- (shaking head). So we change it. So really it's a participatory sort of thing, honestly, that we do. Everything can have an opinion. Obviously I have to make the final decision and we go with it, but I'm blessed with guys that have the character and judgment to know that when we decide something, that's what we are all going to do.

Q. What wine are you going to celebrate this with?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: It's not going to be the champagne in the locker room. My eyes are burning, so it's pretty cheap stuff, so we have to find something different. (Laughter). We're playing these guys a lot of money, you would think the organization could buy some decent champagne. What's up with that? (Laughter).

Q. Can you talk about the success your defense had toward the end of the game and the stops you made on Chauncey Billups towards the end?

COACH GREGG POPOVICH: Well, they did a good job, I don't know how else to say it. Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen and Manu on the perimeter, all three of them I thought were very special down the stretch the last five or six minutes in a defensive way. Manu is going to be a do a little bit more for us offensively at this point than Bruce and Tony. But I'll tell you, Tony was real key defensively on the perimeter, and Manu and Bruce followed suit. Bruce is always there doing it, but you add Tony and he does what he did at that point, you know, we were really good on the perimeter on D and I thought that got us stops, got us going back the other way. Fast. Thank you all, women, ladies, you're all great.

End of FastScripts...

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