First, just your initial reaction to giannis diagnosis. Yeah. You know, i think uh considering the range um you know for him and for his health and um. You know pretty positive and we’ll. Just take uh we’ll. Take it day by day and see how he’s doing, and then we understand that he’s listed as doubtful for tomorrow, you know doubtful isn’t out what what’s sort of the things that you guys are looking for in order to make that final decision one way or the Other for game five yeah – i mean you know i think it’s it’s, mostly probably should have our medical director come and speak to you. You guys got the bomb, the coach to talk to you. So you know, i think it you know it’s. A lot of this is happening in real time and um. I think it’d just be best to leave it at he’s. Questionable and giannis is going to do everything he can to be available and um. You know we’re going to put his health and safety um first and um. You know together make good decisions. We’Ll happily take the medical director, but thank you, i’m guessing he’s running to the car and unavailable eric name: hey bud, um we’ve all seen some falls in our years in the league um. That is one of the nastier ones. I think i’ve seen um just how relieved were you that ultimately, you don’t have like a torn acl or you know like a torn mcl or whatever might be like something torn in that knee when that fall was just kind of like so violent yeah.
You know, i think, that’s. Why, when you talk about the range of possibilities um, you know, i think, where this has landed. Um you know, has to be looked at as a positive. You know it’s it’s, still a really difficult fall, um a lot of what you just described, um. You know worried for both players for capella, um and obviously giannis, both so um yeah. You know it’s it’s it’s. I guess part of sport it’s part of uh, the playoffs and um. You know we’ll just we’ll manage it and both from a giannis perspective from a team’s perspective and um. You know we just got to keep keep moving, get ready for game five um. You mentioned it last night: uh giannis does not ever want to stay off the floor. He wants to play at all times. Um. You guys went through this last year, obviously in having him set out at game five against the heat. But how do you try to – and i guess in this way you have to protect him from himself in some ways: uh at least possibly going down this uh, this decision making tree yeah – i mean, i think, the good thing for for giannis. You know he’s he’s such a smart guy, um he’s incredibly committed to his teammates incredibly committed to being there and um. You know wanting to play, but you know i think, between he and the medical group he and john horst he and myself.
You know there’s such a trust, there’s, a high level of trough, high head level of trust, a high level of respect and – and you know, there’s good, healthy conversations and that’s how you make good decisions and um. We expect this to be the same, not easy, but the same right um for for you guys it just. What is it that you focus on in a game without them like say you don’t have them tomorrow, it’s doubtful, you don’t have them. What are the kind of things that you circle and say like hey? This is what we have to do. Well, if we’re going to win without giannis on the floor, you know you know there, hopefully there’s a way that we play both with giannis without giannis. You know we talk about ball, movement and people, movement and playing free and um. You know playing organically and, and you know those things probably become even more important and um. You know guys, are you know we got? We got a lot of talent, and so i think just just let the guys play put them in a comfort level, put them in a comfortable spot and let them go play basketball um, not over complicated um. You know: we’ve played games uh without giannis without chris. Without drew without you know, whoever it may be um, and so you just you know. Hopefully you have a structure and a system um. You know where you can function at a high level on both ends of the court.
No matter who’s playing chris’s usage is pretty high, pretty much across the board. Whether giannis is in or out, but it feels like drew is the one that sees that jump like when giannis is out that it’s going to be some more of drew with the ball. In his hands um just what do you want to see from him with that added responsibility? Yeah, you know, he’s just got to make good good decisions. You know play good basketball um. You know he may have to score, but you know i think, when he penetrates and gets to the paint. You know good things happen for the team. Good things happen for him um. You know he he’s he’s and i game one. I think he had 33 and um. You know a bunch of assists and he’s very, very capable um. You know so i think that’s. The thing that gives you a lot of confidence is, you know, a lot of really good players, a lot of guys that you know have confidence and a skill set um. You know they can can just be themselves steve mcgargey. I just first wanted to clarify. I think he would said he’s questionable earlier in this conversation the release says double he’s doubtful for tomorrow’s game. Is that correct, or is there definitely do not trust the coach, whatever the release said is, is what it is doubtful and also just the last two games. Y’All have kind of gotten off to a slow start.
I’Ve had to come back game four game, three game: three. You were able to game four, not so much just how important what do you think’s kind of caused those slow starts and just how much more critical is it gon na be going game? Five, not to dig yourself into that deep, a hole when there’s a likelihood that you won’t have your honest with you yeah. No, i mean you know, but it it’s it’s interesting, because you see games go every direction, you start poorly and you win. You start well. You give up a big lead different, so many different things can happen so um unequivocally we’d like to start well, we’d like to you know, play well out of the gate. You really need to play well for 48 minutes in a playoff game, but i don’t think you can overreact to either um. You know, i think, the crowd being at home and having the energy and and the excitement – and you know the way our crowd gets into it. The way they support us. I think the way they’re going to be behind us, you know um is going to be helpful. You know we’re excited to be coming home for game five and getting the crowd into it. Getting the crowd, rocking um and go play. Have some fun play some basketball? Jim mozarski, you mentioned you’ve played games without giannis. I think at the time you know, depending on the matchup, it was bobby or pat kind of, but in the playoffs your bench obviously is much shorter.
At that time you also had dante um. Have you decided? I guess on that is as it’s still really just the moment of, because your opponent’s not going to change like it was in the regular season like or will it go up to game time, or do you kind of have an idea that it might just be Bobby because he’s he’s, a big and can giannis has been a big that type of thing. Yeah. No, i mean we’re beating it up um, you know talking about it as a coaching staff and – and you know, there’s different directions. You can go and and then how it impacts you throughout you know managing the 48 minutes and um. So you know at some point: you’ve got to pull the trigger and make a decision and um. You know we’ll probably do that and then we’ll probably tell you. We don’t know who we’re playing and starting and all that and and then you know, a tip off or whenever you guys will get it and it’s kind of the normal routine right is. Is there? Is there some? I guess we asked kind of the players about this. Is there some benefit to have gone through nine games without him? Earlier that i i i know pj’s, i guess the new person so for pat and and bobby and brynn they’re, they’ve sort of lived this to a degree. Does i don’t know, can you go draw on that at all, or is it just completely different because it’s the stage and the rotations are have changed? No, i think you can draw on it.
Definitely um. I actually haven’t. You know looked specifically. You know for to see you know how many games it. It was this year and i think during the course of you know the last three years. You know it’s it’s, the normal. You know kind of the nba you you, you play games without certain players and i think those are important games and it’s important to to learn and draw on them and um. You know so uh yeah. Certainly i think tomorrow, um subconsciously or consciously. You know. I think all of us will know um we’ve played without giannis and even i think, there’s been good stretches uh when giannis is, you know not on the court, he’s actually playing the game, but you know we can can maintain and sustain or build leads and things Like that um, so you know all that i think you draw on sora stevenson, hey coach previously, whether it’s giannis or another person is out you talk about like not overcompensating and people just playing their games not trying to make up for whoever is out. How do you communicate that in this situation, or is there just a general understanding of these? Are our principles? Yeah? No, i mean i, i think you know we just, i think, probably um you know just rely on. Our habits rely on kind of the the way we’ve played and – and just you know not be you know, hopefully over complicated and and let put people in a position to play and be themselves and and put a lot of confidence and belief in them.
And you know so you do that during the regular season. You do it today or tomorrow and um. You know it’s it’s, something that i think gives the players their best chance to to play well and that’s what we need to do. I know you don’t like to speak for other people or speak for the players or anything like that, but what’s. Your general consensus of the rest of the team right now um and how they’re doing – and you know, there’s two things like you’re worried about your teammate. But you also have to worry about the game: where’s everybody with that yeah. You know i think there’s there’s, a level of understanding of that and um of preparation, the mental preparation, um, emotional and things like that and so um. You know it’s it’s, a it’s, a really it’s, a veteran group, it’s it’s, really a you know, a very highly intelligent group and and a competitive group that i think embraces every opportunity they get and um. All those things will will serve them. Well, steven watson, hey coach uh building off of that. I know that you probably can’t speak for giannis and kind of the emotions that he’s felt over the last 24 hours. But what have you observed about? Maybe how he was feeling last night to receiving the news today and have you had an opportunity to speak with him? Is he relieved to know that he might have an opportunity to play in the postseason again yeah? He and i have not spoken.
You know in the last you know probably hour or two so um, but just you know he’s in his maturity. You know always as impresses me. You know his understanding his desire to play his desire to kind of fight through and and be there for his teammates uh. This you know, it’s been the same including last night in the locker room on the plane, um he’s, a pretty incredible um competitor and teammate, and uh and he’s been very much like that and and his spirits um. You know, i think it affects the group he’s he’s, a guy that lifts people up and i think, including you know during these, you know it’s hard, the fall, the injury, the missing the second half, but amazingly giannis finds a way to lift people up and um. That’S one of his special skills, one of his special qualities and also just for you, i mean what what have the emotions been like for you in the in the last 12 plus hours, uh, fearing that you may have lost your two time, mvp and then learning That you might have it back in the series or the yeah. No, i mean you go through a lot. It’S, the playoffs um. You know you, you lose a game, you win a game uh, so many things happen throughout the course of a seven game series round around all those things, and you know it’s it’s, i don’t want to say it’s the norm but uh.
You know the the the ride is: is it’s part of what makes it sweet. So you know you get excited about figuring out how to help help your group and just put them in a good spot and um go out and play and compete all right time for one more to steve. Ashburner mike. I know what you were saying about guys. Um sticking to their habits and knowing their roles, but in in circumstances like this uh. How well, how helpful to the cause, and maybe how helpful to teammates would it be for someone to say hey, i got this and and step up in a way, maybe that we wouldn’t expect um, not that you would ever like tap someone on the head and Say you got to do it, but would you expect that someone would try to do that? It might not be a a bad thing in this circumstance. You know i. I respect the question, understand the question and you know sometimes i would just put this in the context of leadership, there’s there’s, so many different ways to lead um and i think there’s a perception that you do it this one way, and in this case you know For somebody to step up and say i got this and do it, it may sound good and, and it may happen uh, but i think your actions are most important. You know how you handle yourself uh, you know tomorrow morning and preparing and getting ready for the game and um.
We just need our guys to prepare, get ready to play and go play um. If somebody feels the need to lead and to speak, they will um, but you know there’s there’s lots of different ways, guys can step up and be prepared and be ready and um. You know fully expect all of them. Well, do you have a sense that that your players particularly look to you and your coaches in this, in this sort of situation, to hey, give us some things? We can hang our hats on um yeah. I mean they they’re, always. You know, i think, looking just for some guidance looking for you know just opportunities to put them in them in their best positions and and confidence, and things like that, so you know certainly the staff myself um, you know got to do those things give them give Them a little bit um, you know to hang their hats on to give them a plan, and then you know kind of keep them free and let them play all right.