“Needless to say, we feel very good. It was fun to have some excitement in the locker room. We haven’t been able to have that yet this year. That’s what you coach for. I don’t know what everybody does, but those are the kind of moments I coach for. So that I can see kids enjoying themselves, feeling the satisfaction of doing some things that were fairly difficult to do.
“Vegas’s team is really good. We played the best defense we’ve played all year long in the first half today. Their last two possessions were two threes in the first half. One, which we shouldn’t have given them the opportunity, when Marcus [Paige] tried to throw the length of the court pass. The ball was given back to them and then they make another three and they had made one right before that possession. We were really good defensively in the first half. Second half, I was really proud of our toughness; you haven’t heard me say that yet this year. They came out and we missed some easy ones, in my opinion, and all of a sudden, they take the lead. James Michael [McAdoo] had struggled like crazy all day long and he looked like he was out of sync and everything, but he scored six straight points for us and we took the lead back.
“Then I think after that they make a three and then P.J. [Hairston] comes up and makes a big a three and then we give up a three on the other end. But it was a sort of survival thing at the end. I feel so confident when our guys get to the free throw line; we didn’t make as many as I wanted to. I think the two biggest ones were when it was a 3-point game, a one-possession game, and P.J. stepped up and made both of them. Needless to say, that was big, but to have five guys in double figures, I love that. I don’t like to be outrebounded 38-33, but I knew and said and emphasized to our guys that backboards were the biggest thing about the game. But they’re really good. Dave Rice does a good job with his team...
“I’m just so pleased for our kids, and again, it was a nice feeling in that locker room just a few moments ago.”
How much would you like to think that your players grew up today?
“I’d like to think they grew up 100 times, but who knows. They’re 17-, 18-, 19-year-old kids, who knows what they’re going to do tomorrow. We’ve been practicing 47 practices and played 13 games and that’s the first time that we’ve really been able to feel really good about what we did. That’s the nice part about it.”
On P.J. Hairston’s play:
“I think he did some good things for us defensively. One time on the break, Brice [Johnson] didn’t sprint back and [Anthony] Bennett’s going right down the lane and they throw it to him and P.J. steps up and takes the charge. So he really did some good things.”
On Desmond Hubert’s play:
“Well, the good news for me – and Desmond knows this – he’s got about another 100 levels of intensity that he can go to. I need him to be active. I need him to be ever ready at all times. He’s got to have his motor going at 100 miles per hour. He can’t be going at 50. That’s been his problem is that he’s had it going at about 50 miles per hour instead of going at 100. But he played a very effective 20 minutes for us today and it’s something that we needed him to do.”
What do you think happened between the first and second halves for James Michael McAdoo?
“I have no idea. I screamed at him, but that’s acting like I’m taking some credit. He was 1-for-8 at half and 4-for-5 [in the second half]. The thing I told him is just slow down. He tries to go so fast and wants to do so well. He wants to be a great player, wants to make every shot, but he just goes so fast instead of taking that extra split second and that makes a big difference in your foundation, your balance, everything. He made some big plays for us, to say the least.”