Before the Orlando Magic face off against the Miami Heat tonight, I was able to speak briefly with Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass one-on-one. Here's what they had to say:
Is there a different mindset for you starting as opposed to coming off the bench?
It's the same. For me, it's simple, give it my all on both ends of the court. Grab every rebound, play solid defense, and run the floor and whatever else comes, then that's just comes with the game.
What's your expectations for the team after getting a game finished with?
I mean, just getting better. That's one of the things that Stan [Van Gundy] is teaching us, that's basically it. Just trying to fit in with the team and trying to ... that was a game [against the Dallas Mavericks] where I think it was just ... another step to jelling as a team and that's all we're trying to do and keep going.
Offensively, do you expect to see a ton of pick & pops for you tonight?
I mean, I don't know, whatever. I can pick & pop, I can post up, I can drive, so whatever the defense presents to me, I'm going to try to take advantage of it.
First home game, how do you feel?
Mixed emotions, kind of excited, I don't know what to expect but I'm just going to play hard and try to stay even-keel.
You're starting tonight, do you have a different mentality starting a game as opposed to coming off the bench?
Not really, I just have to be warm earlier. Same mindset, just got to go in there, bring energy, help run the offense, and play defense.
What was your impression of your first game in Dallas? It seemed like you were able to bring in toughness and energy off the bench.
I played well. I'm still trying to finding my spots that I'm going to be the most effective to help the team and really just getting to know the scheme in a real game atmosphere so we practiced a lot but you can't really simulate the game so we're just trying to find our way.
Offensively, has Stan stated what type of role he sees you in?
Just to be aggressive, be a playmaker, and knock down open shots.
What's been it like getting a game under your belt against the Mavericks? Do you think it's been beneficial for a team that's trying to get to know each other?
Yeah, I think that's important. I know that we had a lot of time together with everyone being here early and the training camp but like I said, you can't simulate the games. I think getting these games experience is good and we're going to be missing Rashard pretty soon so it's going to be a whole another kind of chemistry to get going since we're missing one of our best players so guys are going to need to step up and be ready to play.
[ed. note: Forgot to include my one-on-one session with Ryan Anderson.]
I know that Stan stated that you were going to play tonight, anything specifically that you want to try to work on? I know that you said that you wanted to work on the defensive end, so what do you think?
I didn't play last game, so really just trying to get a feel of the game back. It would be nice to get back on the court, feel the game out, go through defensive rotations and new stuff and see what it's like really live. We practice so hard defensively and we gone through every offense. We're working real hard so I mean, we had some great reps so it's not going to be super hard jumping on the court but I think tonight I'm really just going to get my comfort level back on the court, shoot the ball when I'm open, rebound, be physical, play defense.
I know that you didn't play against the Dallas Mavericks but was there anything you saw from the bench that you might want to apply in tonight's game?
Just be smart with the ball. Coach [Stan Van Gundy] really hasn't liked how we've been jumping in the air and passing and really have to work on taking care of the ball. Defensively, just keeping your man in front of you and rebounding and not fouling. Last game combined, we shot like 90 free-throws so there was a lot of fouling going on but that's early in the season. But yeah, basically just focusing on that stuff.
In terms of repetition, I know that Stan has been big about teaching you guys in that manner. Do you think that teaching style has been beneficial, not only for you, but for the team in general?
I think so. It's made everything, like the adjustment as far as this team offensively and defensively, so easier because each practice, they've been long, long practices where we've been doing so much and he's been pounding information into us basically so it's been pretty easy to pick things up and learn our offense so I mean the transition hasn't been super-hard as far as X's and O's and stuff so it's really about getting back on the court and feeling what it's like to be out there.