*Click on each name to watch the video.
Q: On not having his starting five once in this preseason:
Brown: Yeah, but that’s OK. I’m OK with that. Whenever Dwight (Howard) is healthy, he’ll play and whenever everybody can play, we’ll play. The first three ball games, I thought we played the right way on both ends of the floor — for the most part. We just didn’t win them, which is understandable because it’s tough for (Ronnie) Aguilar, (Greg) Somogyi and some of the other younger (guys) to come in the last five minutes of a ballgame and try to win it, or come in the last 10 minutes of a ballgame and try to win it. To me, that’s understandable. I thought we played well the first three games, especially with where we were in the preseason. I thought tonight we took half a step backwards in terms of our execution and ball movement, and even our overall defense, especially in transition, which is going to happen from time to time. Out of the four preseason games, this one I’ve probably been the most disappointed. I was OK with the other three because we did a lot of other good things in the other three.
Q: On what the team needs to correct first to improve:
Brown: Right now would be good but I know it’s not going to happen. Our transition defense right now is probably the biggest thing that is of concern. Besides that, there are little things that pop up. Sometimes we gamble too much, which takes us out of position. But our transition defense is something we’re not doing a good job of at all.
Q: On if the team’s transition defense is attributed to the amount of turnovers:
Brown: Yeah, we’re turning it over, but I’m OK with some of our turnovers because we’re trying to make plays and the right guys are trying to make plays. We’re not having the wrong guys out there trying to make too many plays. Part of the reason we’re turning the ball over is we’re trying to execute the offense a little bit and trying to do things the right way. I think we’ll get better turnover wise, but it does hurt us when we do turn the ball over and they run out and get dunks and layups in transition. But hey, Utah is a good team, too, so you have to give them credit for playing as hard as they did.
Q: On if there were any positives he can take away from the team’s fourth preseason game considering the outcome:
Brown: It was great to see Jodie Meeks shoot the ball the way he did. I thought (Robert) Sacre did some things that make you go: ‘Maybe,’ which is a positive thing. I thought, at times, we did a nice job of trying to execute, but once we took Jamison off the floor, it was really hard for us to execute because we don’t have another guy that was able to play tonight that has played the power forward position. It takes us completely out of our offense because that specific position you have to know specific routes and reads, and all our power forwards right now from Pau (Gasol) to Jordan Hill to Earl Clark are out. So offensively, we had to keep our execution simple and run baseline screens or middle pick-and-roll when Jamison was out. Those guys tried to execute the right way, but it just didn’t happen all the time.
Q: On Jodie Meeks hitting four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and if that kind of play can help limit Kobe’s minutes during the regular season:
Brown: Yeah, but we’re still searching for guys that are going to come off the bench. I’m not quite sure who it’s going to be yet. So to see Jodie step up and knock some shots down, but also defensively, he did some good things, too. So to see a combination of those two things was a positive at that two guard position.
Q: On if he saw any positives in the game:
Nash: I was only out there the first quarter and I thought there were some things on both ends that were positive, but again, not a great performance by any stretch. But sometimes you learn a lot more from the nights you struggle than the nights that everything goes well. This is good for us, it’s good for us to struggle, it’s good for us to want to come tomorrow with more resolve to improve and if we floated through the preseason, we might be fooling ourselves. So we got a lot of work to do and we continue to know that and realize that and tonight was a motivator as well.
Q: On if the team’s effort disappointed him the most:
Nash: Like I said, I was only out there the first quarter. I was getting treatment a lot of the night, but the effort wasn’t bad in the first quarter. We just had some matchup problems in the post that allowed them to score. Our defense was pretty good other than the fact that they had some terrific one-on-one post players. Offensively, we created some good opportunities, but we’re a work in progress. That’s the bottom line.
Q: On Kobe’s scoring outburst in the third quarter:
Nash: I wasn’t out there, so I missed it, but it’s certainly nice to have a player of his ability to go off like he can. I’m thrilled he’s on my team.
Q: On his rhythm in the third quarter:
Kobe: Yeah, I just had to come out and kind of get going a little bit, work on some things, shooting out of the offense, catch-and-shoot and things of that nature. Up until this point, I had just kind of been practicing throughout the course of the game and trying new things. Tonight, I just went back to the basics.
Q: On if he saw any positives in the game:
Kobe: You kind of just threw it out a little bit. We didn’t execute as well as we should have as a whole in the first half, and as a result, we dug ourselves deep, but you kind of have to throw it out. Their bigs dominated us for obvious reasons. All our bigs were out, so they kind of had a field day down there.
Q: On what he wants to see from the team in the second half of the preseason:
Kobe: Hopefully, we can get everybody out there at some point and work on our rhythm a little bit more and playing together. The more we play together, obviously, the better we’ll get — and that’s the most important thing. That’s what we try to do in practice; we just try to play a lot together and work on our execution, work on our rhythm, likes and dislikes and things of that nature.
Q: On not playing with the starting five once in this preseason
Kobe: In practice, we do it a lot, though. In practice, we play quite a bit together. Mike (Brown) has been really good about it of throwing the ball out there and letting us scrimmage and get some timing down. But you’re right — that’s the most important thing for us is to get out there, play together, work out some of the kinks out and communicate with each other on the floor.
Q: On how close Dwight Howard is to returning from his viewpoint:
Kobe: He’s extremely close. He’s making plays defensively that no big outside of Bill Russell can make in the history of the game in terms of playing the passing lanes, getting steals, guarding guards, stripping the ball from them. He does things defensively that no other big can do.
Q: On if he and Steve Nash can take more chances defensively:
Kobe: Sure, we can. It all depends on how the game goes in a ballgame. Early in a ballgame, you don’t want to do that depending on how they officiate the game. You don’t want to get Dwight in foul trouble. But certainly, at certain points of the game, we can.
Q: On his mindset in the third quarter:
Kobe. No, I just really went back to the basics. I was just kind of experimenting the entire preseason, just working on different moves and things of that nature. In the third quarter, I just went to the basics: catch guys off of you, just rise up and shoot, if you have a lane, drive, bump the guy off you, pull up and shoot it. I just went back to the simplicity of it.