The Orlando Magic extended its winning streak to six games after a victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. For head coach Stan Van Gundy, he praised his players for taking a mature approach to the game after a big win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Instead of having a letdown, the Magic defeated the Clippers with relative ease.
I was able to speak with Van Gundy amongst the media, as well as Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass one-on-one, and Dwight Howard.
Here’s what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
With Brandon Bass, what was the one thing you liked most from him in tonight's game?
I thought his energy was good. That’s what we need, more than anything, is for him to come in and play with great energy and give us a boost there and I thought he did that. We know he can score and we know that he can put the ball in the basket. Again, I’m a broken record on this. It’s a matter, with he and Ryan [Anderson], better defensive rotations, better rebounding the ball, and giving us that energy.
More after the jump.
Would you say that games like these are beneficial, in terms of getting a little extra rest?
Yeah, it helps to get rest, especially with the starters. We’ve been going on a lot of minutes this year. We're trying to get some of the guys on the bench a little more experience because when the playoffs come, we’re going to need everybody on the bench.
A few times, it seemed like Drew Gooden was losing track of you a little bit when you were shooting threes in the corner. Given the position you play …
Yeah, I mean, we spread the floor. We have Dwight [Howard] down low. Our job is to spread the floor and knock down threes and try to get him one-on-one match-ups because he’s so dominant.
With the amount of consistent playing time you’ve been getting lately, how has that been able to help you out?
I mean, it’s a process for me just to get comfortable with the team and everything but I just really want to be out there. I’m just going to bring a whole lot of energy and a whole lot of effort on both ends of the floor.
With the playoffs coming up, are there any specific things that you, or perhaps the team, are really focusing on at this time of the year?
Just continue to get better in every aspect of the game. We could use help in every aspect but to me, the team is just showing a lot … it’s just smooth. I understand what coach [Stan Van Gundy] was talking about earlier in the season and we’re getting better at it. Hopefully we just continue to grow.
With the playoffs coming up soon, are these type of games beneficial for you guys in terms of getting extra rest?
Well, with the playoffs coming up, we just want to make sure that we get ourselves prepared by challenging ourselves every night to get better and that’s what we did tonight coming off a big win against the [Los Angeles] Lakers. Our team could have very easily came in tonight and not focus on the right things, but we came out tonight, we was ready to go from the jump, and we got the win.
At this time of the year and with you guys playing the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, do you see that as a possible playoff matchup? Do you start to think about that?
I couldn’t tell you our record. I couldn’t tell you where we stand. I just know at the end of the year, we want to be holding up the [Larry O’Brien] trophy. That’s the only thing that matters.
Today, it’s Adonal Foyle’s birthday. What type of impact has he made in your career?
I think Adonal is just another mentor. He’s just been telling me night in and night out, ‘Dwight, I know you got this in your game, work on it tonight. Work on doing it tonight.’ He’s always been like a person telling me, ‘Dwight, you can do more. You can do better. I like what you’re doing out there.’ And then at the same time, he’s able to come back and tell me, ‘Dwight, I need you to be more mature. We need you to take a greater leadership role with the team.’ He’s done an excellent job with that. I think after the talk we had as a team and after the talk he and I had in January, as a team and for myself individually, we’ve gotten a lot better.
Does he talk to you in games?
He does. During games, he tells me what he sees on the floor. He tells me ways to attack. The biggest thing that guys always tell me, the coaching staff, Adonal, ‘just be patient.’ Have patience on the court. If you don’t get the shots you want, you just have to be patient.
What’s the first word you think of when you think of Matt Barnes?