It was another win for the Orlando Magic in pre-season play, but it wasn't one that head coach Stan Van Gundy was satisfied with - specifically on the defensive end. Rather than get deeper in analyzing the game and recapping the game (which will come early in the morning), I'll reveal the quotes in which Van Gundy talked about the Magic's defense.
I was able to ask a few questions to Van Gundy amongst the media, as well as speak with Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat one-on-one, briefly, afterwards. Here's what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
Vince Carter seemed to be a lot more aggressive on offense. I know you stated that you wanted him to be more shot-first, was tonight an example of that?
Well, i thought ... I liked the plays he made tonight. I thought that he went at it pretty good offensively tonight. I thought he played a lot better, was a lot more aggressive, offensively I thought he was very good. I thought at the end of the game ... and a lot of guys were good offensively, I thought we played the game okay offensively, but to me it's all about defense that's got to get us through and I was just very disappointed with that.
You played some small ball lineups, with having Bass at the five. What did you think of those lineup combinations?
Well, because we didn't have Dwight tonight so Brandon would be our other five man. He can play there. They [the Houston Rockets] weren't huge tonight, he can play there so I don't worry about that. There's times that we can used that and get more energy and quickness. Brandon is another guy that I thought played really, really well on the offensive end and not very well at all on the defensive end and he hasn't rebounded as much as we would have liked him to the last couple of games so we got to get him on the glass.
How have you've liked Ryan Anderson's play so far?
Ryan has been terrific. I mean, I remember people, Brian Schmitz especially asking me in pre-season and I mentioned that Ryan would have a chance to start at the four early with Rashard out, he was like, incredulous, now after two games I don't think people would disbelieve as much. Obviously he stretches the floor when we play offensively but you saw other things, I mean, in both games. He can put the ball on the floor, he's rebounded the ball pretty well, he's had more rebounds than Brandon in each of the last two games so he's playing extremely well and I'm really happy with the way he's playing. I thought again, like everybody else, his pick & roll defense tonight was not good but other than that, like I said, other than two guys, I wasn't really happy defensively. Now on the offensive end and on the boards, I thought we did a pretty good job.
What are some adjustments you want to make defensively as the pre-season goes along?
The main adjustment, quite honestly, is ... there's really only two things, it's not a matter of adjustments, it's a matter of adjusting our attitude to truly having a commitment and a pride on that end, to play with relentless intensity all the time and then it's just repetition. I mean, I don't mind ... there's going to be mistakes, that's going to happen, as everybody getting on the same page so a lot of it is repetition and learning but that should not detract from the intensity and the commitment and what I saw right now is a lack of determination. I don't mean it's awful, I'm not going on a rant. I've been happy with this team, they've worked hard. I know there's a little bit of fatigue right now, I understand all of that, but I still just don't sense right now that people truly have a commitment to being a great defensive team and that's the main adjustment that needs to take place is our defensive mentality.
More after the jump.
Van Gundy stated to me yesterday in practice that he wanted you to be more shot-first offensively. Do you think you were doing that tonight?
I just try to play the game, regardless. I mean, I know what he [Stan Van Gundy] wants and I understand what he wants and I'm just able to put them both together. Take the open shot or the right shot that makes sense. It might be me being aggressive instead of opening things up.
Stan has been talking a lot about defense and wanting to see more intensity on that end. What do you think about that?
Well, I mean, we know we can score, we know that we can put up points so it's going to be very important for us to concentrate and focus on the defensive end to really put us over the top for the nights when we're not playing well offensively. We want to be a complete team, not just a very good offensive team, we want to be a very good defensive team so it's imperative for us to continue to get better and not be satisfied with the lackadaisical in between quarters like the second and third.
Do you think it's a matter of all the new guys on the team?
I mean, it could be a lot of reasons but we have to find a way to do it. We have been stamped as a team that has the ability to get back to the Finals but we have to play well throughout the pre-season. That's just the way he coaches, that's been his mentality, and now that's our mentality.
What did you think of Marcin Gortat's play tonight?
I think he really got after it. I mean, they didn't pay him the money for nothing. They didn't bring him back, they went out to get him and they didn't bring him back for nothing and I think he did that tonight and it's just great to have another weapon like that to back him up if he's in foul trouble or if he's not playing tonight so it's great to see.
Do you think that's an example of showing what you can do when you get starter's minutes, to be able to go out and get a double-double and a couple of blocks?
I believe I can do that. I've been showing these many games in the NBA, I've been showing these many games in the Eurobasket so I believe I can do that and obviously when we got Dwight Howard on the team, I'm going to fight for minutes with Dwight Howard but I'm going to try to work on my game to play maybe as a four man.
I know the Houston Rockets were interested in you during free agency. Was this game a little bit of showing them what they're missing?
No, I don't think so. It was just a game, it was another game with a team that was calling my agent a couple of months ago but still, it's just me. If the Houston Rockets like me, then they got to call my agent, whatever, but right now I'm an Orlando Magic player and I'm happy to be here. We got a great team, we got to work on a couple of things but we got a great team to win a championship this year.
I know that you stated you wanted to play alongside Dwight. When do you think you can get to that point when you can play with him?
Just be consistent with my outside game, I would say. I don't think there's a lot of things that I need to work on defense. I would say that I was pretty solid on defense but I got to work on my game, I got to be consistent with my jump shot, I got to be consistent with certain moves instead of habits with the four man gone, I'm still learning.