Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Portland

Here’s a transcription up of Lakers.com postgame interviews with Mike Brown*, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, assembled by Lakers.com Intern Trevor.
*Click on each name to watch the video.

Q: On the team’s play in second preseason game:
Brown: In the first half — in the first quarter particularly — our defense gambled too much. Every time we gambled, it seemed like they scored on us. Once we settled down defensively and started playing by our principles and giving the multiple efforts that we needed to contesting and rebounding, I thought we got some stops. Offensively — the first group and the second group a little bit in the first half — we did a nice job of trying to execute our offense. We got some wide open shots … offensively, we were pretty good in the first half.

Q: On the chemistry between players that haven’t played before:
Brown: Chemistry is great, but when you have Jordan Hill out, Kobe (Bryant) out and Dwight (Howard) out, the guys that are playing together aren’t going to play together a ton this coming season. So what I’m looking for, more than anything else, is individual performances in terms of is: ‘Is a guy playing defense the right way, is a guy trying to help his teammates get better by spacing the floor, making the right cuts, making the right reads offensively?’ And then when he gets a chance to knock down shots, he doesn’t look like he’s in panic mode out there. So there are a few things I’m looking for individually on both ends of the floor more than anything else because I still don’t know who’s going to play when it comes to my backup point, my backup two, my backup three, my backup four and my backup five.

Q: On why the game got out of hand in the second half:
Brown: Well, there are a couple reasons: We had over a 2-hour practice today, so maybe it could be their legs. I’ve been working them pretty hard, but Portland just outworked us. Everything that they did, it was harder, sharper, better, quicker and we did not – in the second half – give a multiple effort to contest the rebound. We made one effort and then we stopped and we just watched. And they got open shots, they got loose balls, they got layups, they got whatever they wanted because we didn’t give the multiple effort to contest the rebound in the second half.

Q: On distributing minutes to starters in the second half going forward in the preseason:
Brown: I’ll continue to do that. Pau (Gasol) needs to work on his conditioning some, Metta (World Peace) needs to work on it a little bit, too. But I’ll continue to give the guys that start minutes into the second half, and then eventually, I’ll play the rotation right. But right now, I’m going to stick with what I did tonight. I’m going to change up some of the guys in our next game. I’m going to give some other guys the backup minutes so I can continue to look at individual guys and different combinations to find out where I want to go with that second unit.

Q: On if anybody moved up on depth chart based on second preseason game:
Brown: I need to go back and watch the tape. Darius Morris, the few minutes he got, were solid. (Andrew) Goudelock’s minutes were solid. Jodie Meeks didn’t knock down shots, but I thought defensively he was good, I thought he got a lot of loose balls, I thought he got some rebounds and I thought he was a presence out there. He just didn’t make shots, so that’s the type of stuff I’m looking for. Offensively, he was never in a hurry. He took what the defense gave him, he kind of understood and knew what we were trying to do offensively. I was impressed with Jodie’s toughness, his composure, his pace, what he did defensively, how he got after some loose balls and some long rebounds.

Q: On what he’s seen from the team thus far:
Nash: We’re continuing to find moments where we see a familiarity and an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish on both ends of the floor. Right now, we’ve gone over a lot. We’ve had long days and we’re not necessarily producing the way we’d like to, but we’re showing glimpses of all that time on the court. And all that new territory we’ve been covering is paying off. We have to have faith that we’re doing the right things and just continue to grow day by day.

Q: On what team needs to work on:
Nash: We always want to hang our hats on the defensive end of the floor, so for us to shore up that side of the ball will always be number one. But again, the offense is a big, vast, new sea of understanding and knowledge for us, so we’re all trying to not only learn it, but learn how to play together out of it. That takes time and we’re not going to get it in two preseason games. We’re probably not going to get it in eight preseason games. We’re going to have to continue to improve throughout the season.

Q: On how Jodie Meeks filled in for Kobe and Robert Sacre filled in for Dwight:
Nash: It felt good. I thought we had a pretty good little (connection) going out there with the first unit. The ball moved, we created a lot of open shots, we didn’t finish at a rate we’re capable of, but I thought we did a good job executing. We just didn’t make shots tonight. Jodie did a good job, got some open looks and knocked some down. He missed some, but we know he can make them. Robert is a rookie and he’s done very well.

Q: On the importance of winning in preseason:
Nash: It’s not important. Obviously it’d be ideal to get out of here with a few wins, but it’s not that important. Most important for us is to cover ground, to really grasp the offense on a deeper level by the opening night and grasp our defense and understanding it for cohesion on opening night.

Q: On how he feels physically:
Nash: The two-plus hour shoot around, the bus ride straight to the game is a new one for me after 16 years and 17 training camps. But I feel great; I can’t complain.

Q: On how he feels about his back:
Howard: I feel pretty good, but at the same time, I want to be at 110 percent. I want to make sure that I’m in great shape; I want to make sure my conditioning is where it needs to be. That’s the biggest thing right now. I don’t want to go out there and not be where I am as far as running the floor, playing great defense, blocking shots and being very active. When you’re fatigued, you can’t do all those things, so I want to make sure that I’m in great shape.

Q: On how team chemistry is coming along:
Howard: It’s very important right now because we’re really trying to (understand) the offense. It’s going to take awhile for guys to understand certain things – the schemes that we have on offense and defense is a little bit different. So we’re learning right now. It’s a process and we’ll get it. We’re smart enough guys and we have a mix of older guys and younger guys where we can mesh very well together.

Q: On what he took away from team’s second preseason game:
Howard: I could tell that guys were a little bit tired. The biggest thing for us right now is just to execute. It doesn’t matter what the score is, but that we execute on both ends and we talk and communicate. It’s getting better and better, but it’s going to take some time, and we understand that. We just want to make sure that we peak at the right time. It’s going to be a long season and we want to make sure at the end of the season is where we need to be.

Q: On if it matters if the team wins in the preseason:
Howard: It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, (our record) is still going to be 0 and 0. You can take some good things out of the losses. Even though the score was the way it was, some guys came in and gave some quality minutes. It’s good for those guys to get those minutes, so when the season starts, we understand that the guy that’s backing us up is going to go out there and give us the same energy that we’re supposed to give.

Q: On if he cares if the team wins during the preseason:
MWP: Absolutely, absolutely. We don’t want to go 0 and 8.

Q: On if he’s trying to be the scoring leader for the team this year after his offensive performance:
MWP: No, no, no. We’re just trying to play good team ball, but we’re getting better. It’s fun and we have a really good team. Everybody’s working really hard.

Q: On how he feels physically after practicing and then playing a game:
MWP: Yesterday, we had a really long practice. Today was a long practice and then we had to travel. Some guys got some extra shots up. Kobe (Bryant) got extra shots up yesterday for like an hour, I was in there for about an hour and guys are just working really, really hard.

Q: On how important team chemistry is:
MWP: Chemistry is very important. We’re doing very well considering Dwight (Howard) is out, Kobe (Bryant) was out tonight, but guys are working really, really hard.

Q: On his weight last season preventing him from doing certain things:
MWP: Just that step, that first step and that extra step, that extra push off and then finishing, I couldn’t do it. There were a couple years where my back was hurting, so I wasn’t able to work hard in the summer. This summer, I was able to work hard and now I’m out there and (thinking): ‘Who’s in front of me? You (don’t) have a chance.’ That’s how I always used to feel. I always used to feel like that and I feel like that again. A lot of the guys that saw me play when I was in Indiana, they have an idea of how I can play when I’m at 100 percent.