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Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin McHale talks

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm •  Published: April 29, 2013

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale met with the media Monday morning after a shootaround for Game 4 of the Western Conference playoff series at the ToyotaCenter. Here is the transcript of his interview session:

How difficult is to gauge Jeremy Lin when he can’t do a workout to see how he’s feeling?

McHale: “It’s difficult, but it’s just where it. We’ll see how he feels. Hopefully it loosens up a little bit more, hopefully feels a little bit less pain. Watching the film from the other game, he had more discomfort in that than I thought. He was holding it a lot more. So we’ll see.”

What’s your message to the team tonight?

McHale: “You know what we have to do. By the time you get to the fourth game, we know what works, we know what doesn’t work. We need to do more of what works, less of what doesn’t work. Last game was a weird vibe game. We started off OK, lot of whistles, lot of stops, lot of stuff. We lost any kind of aggression for awhile. Then we got it back. I’ve said all year long, one thing about this team is they’ll go fight you. I want to tell ‘em, ‘Guys, you’ll be OK if you just calm down a little bit and do what we do.’ So we know how we have to play. We just gotta go play.”

Hockey’s had several comebacks from down 3-0. Baseball finally had the Red Sox. But it’s never happened in the NBA. Why not?

McHale: “Hard to beat someone four times in a row. But you gotta go beat ‘em once. That’s the big thing. You just gotta go beat ‘em one time. I don’t know. Who knows? You just gotta go out there and you gotta beat ‘em one time, and tonight’s our one time. We gotta go win the game. We’ve had leads in the fourth quarter of two games. We battled ‘em. Came back from a 26-point deficit. We know what we have to do. We just gotta go out there and do it. It’s a great experience for all of our guys, all our young guys that haven’t been in the playoffs before. You want your playoff experience to get extended, you want to put game pressure on the other team. You want them to have to make big shots. You don’t want to be in a blowout where they’re all sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter. We want to get in there, we want to have leads in the fourth.”

Will you lean more on your veterans in Game 4?

McHale: “They’re gonna play a lot, but we’re not going to change our offense around and say, now, anybody that doesn’t have more than three games of NBA experience, can’t shoot. We’re not going to do that. We’re just going to play. Those guys will play. They’ll get meaningful minutes. They’ll get shots. They gotta knock ‘em down.”

You seemed to find something in Francisco Garcia guarding Kevin Durant. Is that something you can build on?

McHale: “We’re all going to have to. I thought Chandler (Parsons) did a way better job in the second half. First half, we were off our game. The whistles. It was kind of a funky-called game. Tight and stuff. Lot of whistles. Everybody just kind of hesitant. We can’t do that. KD had drives, we had help coming. He was driving away from the help. It was 5-on-3. He was dunkin’ ‘em from halfcourt. He had such a flow going. Give him credit. He took advantage of our defense. But His flow came from us doing things completely against the scouting report, completely against what we had worked on. It was like we had the Vulcan mind meld. Everybody’s minds were shut off for awhile. Then everybody went like, Oh, we’re back here. Space Jam.”

Editor’s note: After McHale talked, assistant coach Kelvin Sampson revealed that the Rockets would start Garcia in Game 4.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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