It's been a long and successful career for Shane Battier, with the universally respected veteran drawing praises throughout the league. But from a team perspective, Battier has experienced bad luck, never reaching the conference finals in his 12-year career.
Tuesday night, in his first championship-level game since he won the national title with Duke in 2001, Battier played great, scoring 17 points, many of which coming on four big 3s.
After the game, Battier talked about his performance and the mindset of his team moving forward:
Not the ideal team result, but an impressive Finals debut from you.
All that matters is getting the W. Anything else is semantics.
Three big 3s in the first quarter. Why were you so effective early?
The ball was hopping and I was in the right place at the right time. I got some looks against this team the two times we played earlier ... I knew coming in I'd have some looks, it was just a matter of knocking them down.
You said the ball was hopping early. What changed in the second half?
We played less in transition in the second half. And when you take the ball out of bounds as much as we did in the second half, you are forced to run half-court offense. The clock is down, there's more ball pressure and you don't get as good ball movement and when you are playing in transition, the balls flying around.
You guys have always been a pretty resilient group all year. Where's the confidence at right now?
Against Indiana, we were left for dead being down 2-1. Against Boston, we were left for dead down 3-2. So there's nothing this team hasn't really seen this year.
What did you think of the atmosphere?
It was very similar to last year, when I was here with Memphis. They have a great crowd and great fans. They really support their team in a good, clean way. It's a fun atmosphere to play in.
It's been compared to a college atmosphere. Do you get that feeling?
Well I've been in some pretty loud arenas. Tough to compare to some of those North Carolina-Duke games. But I'd say this is the loudest arena in the league.