Nov. 28, 2008
OU POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
Q. Blake, you were down 9, with I guess about seven and a half minutes left. What was going through your mind and especially the way they had got the lead by throwing bombs out there. Were you a little concerned at that point?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I thought we needed to play with more urgency, but we really weren't concerned. They hit a lot of tough shots. They hit them in a row which kind of put them up but Coach always tells us if we just stay calm and play our game, don't get frustrated, don't get mad and don't start to pointing the fingers, things will eventually turn our way and they did.
Q. A year ago would you have reacted the same way you did? Would you have started to get a little more frustrated?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Definitely. I think that comes with maturity. Having a year under my belt, I kind of realize that we're never out of the game. We had kind of a wild season at the end of the year last year. We won some games that we were down a lot.
Everybody else did a great job, Willie did a great job of stepping up and going to the hole. I mean everybody played well. This was a team thing, and you know, this is what it's supposed to feel like. This is what we work so hard for.
Q. Can you use this as an early season measuring stick to where you eyes are and if so, where are you?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I think so. Purdue is a great team, and for us to come in and play like we did and stay together like we did, I think that shows a lot about us, but at the same time we need to learn from our mistakes because we did make a lot in this game. I think we're right where we need to be right now, but we can't settle. We need to keep improving.
Q. This seemed to be a tougher game for you personally on the court. Was it a matter of the way they were defending you?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Yeah. I think so. I think it was the way they were defending. I mean which is fine. You know, it's going to happen. And you know, in this game we needed other guys to play well, and they did. So I don't think teams realize yet that -- how good our guards are. I don't think the nation realizes how good our guards are. Coach Capel said earlier, I'm tired of hearing about people saying stuff about our guards, and I think after today's game they have to give them a little more respect, especially Willie (Warren). I think everybody did a great job on defense. And like I said, it was a team thing.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the defense down the stretch, you held them to only five points the last few minutes and then only six meaningful points in the overtime. Was defense the reason why you win this game?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I think so. We switched into the zone at one point. I can't remember. And the tide started to change a little bit. I think that was because we did a great job talking. Willie did a great job talking up front. You could see him out there. Everybody was playing hard even when they were tired, and I think that got us going.
Like I said last night, I think our defense is what's going to help us change the tide of the game and put a team away, and we did that again tonight.
Q. Were they more physical with you than any team's been in terms of -- it's a Big Ten team that you know, that's what they're known for.
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Yes. I would say they were more physical. You know, just always having a hand on you in your back, wrap around you, whatever. Yeah, they were definitely more physical.
Q. What are your thoughts on the final foul shots?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: They were huge. That's what we always practice, and we have guys that do hit foul shots step up. Last year Cade Davis didn't miss the ball the whole year and that's why we wanted the ball in his hands and also Willie (Warren) stepped up to kind of seal it. Crock (Tony Crocker) did too. We just did a great job. Like I said it was a team thing.
Q. What people are saying or not saying about you guys as guards, do you guys get offended by that or does it motivate you?
WILLIE WARREN: It kind of motivates us. Going every day and practicing hard and that's what I think prepares us for Purdue's pressure because you got Crock (Tony Crocker) and AJ (Austin Johnson) who pressure us every day and to help me going against Crock (Tony Crocker) every day, we listen to what people say. But it doesn't affect how we play. We just go play our game and whatever happens on the court depends on what Blake does, then our guards step up and make it happen. Then the pressure eases up on Blake. It's easier for Blake to get the ball.
Q. There was a stretch there right before half time where you seemed to take the brunt of the ball on the floor and go on the basket. Was it something you saw that was opened up a little bit or did you feel like you had to maybe take control a little bit and be a little aggressive and go to the basket and get your guys back into it?
WILLIE WARREN: Yeah. I saw a couple turnovers. I realized what defense they were playing and they were really trying to pressure our guards and our guards are very talented in our field and no one in the country can guard us that close. Our guards are too quick for anybody to play us like that without being able to get by them. So once I saw Blake had two people then I realized penetrate middle or penetrate baseline and then it was an easy skip pass or then dump it down low to Blake.
Q. You yourself got one basket and 6 free throws straight?
WILLIE WARREN: We couldn't settle for jump shots. If we would have just settled for jump shots early in the game and they weren't falling in, Purdue could have pushed the lead out farther. I think the lead got up to 9 or 10 and I was like, we can't settle for jump shots. Once Coach Capel called the time out, in my head I said, I'm not settling for any jump shots. I'm attacking every time.
Q. Did Coach at half time make a concerted effort to get you more touches in the second half?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: No. I don't think he really said anything about that. We felt like we were fine, and he said that we're going to start making shots, just keep moving. He told me to keep moving, and half time I asked him if I could step out and catch and face up, and he said absolutely. But the way these guys played in the second half, I didn't really have to.
You know, I just made it a point to get in and rebound and be there, in case they wanted to dish it off, and you know, just kind of play a role.
Q. Is it almost -- I mean obviously rebounding is a big part of your game but is it almost to the point where the numbers you're putting up right now are even scarey to you, another 21 rebounds today in five straight games 18 rebounds or more. It's almost unconscionable the numbers you've put up so far.
BLAKE GRIFFIN: You know, I really don't think about it. It's one of those things every game I'm just trying to go after every rebound, you know, and coach tells me that he needs me in there every single time, so that's what I'm going to do. And I don't know, I hope it keeps up. We'll see.
COACH JEFF CAPEL: First of all, what a great basketball game. We feel very fortunate to get this win. We beat a really good team. Purdue is well coached. They're tough. They're talented, and they play with a passion, and so we feel very fortunate.
I'm really proud of our guys. I thought we showed a lot of toughness, a lot of togetherness, and I thought we attacked. I thought we did a good job of getting some of their guys in foul trouble, understanding team foul situations, which allowed us to get to the line.
I thought our zone was effective at times, and we were able to come back and get a lead in the second half, but knowing the great team that they are, they responded, and we got down 9, and our guys showed a lot of poise and a lot of toughness and a lot of grit.
We had some really good performances, obviously Blake, what he did over two games, but Taylor Griffin really played well. He stepped up and played like a senior. Willie Warren was tremendous attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. Cade Davis and Austin Johnson did a really good job and Tony Crocker defensively did some nice things for us.
We feel very fortunate to get this win. I'm very proud of my team and hopefully we can use this as something to build off of.
Q. What was going through your mind when they were throwing in three after three after three in that stretch. You've been around and you used to do that. Have you ever seen a team do that in such a short period of time?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: Not really. They were in such a great rhythm offensively. And they have guys that can make shots. Obviously you know about E'Twaun Moore and (Robbie) Hummel but then (Keaton) Grant got going and starting making shots, and you know, in the first half, (Nemanja) Calasan steps out and makes one. Lewis Jackson hadn't made a three all year and he makes two in the first half. So I'm thinking on the sidelines, goodness, this is going to be one of those days.
But our guys kept responding. You know, they kept throwing punches, and we'd get dazed a little bit, but we'd get right back up and we kept fighting, and we found a way to get it done, and I'm really proud of this group.
Q. What did you say to them when you were down 9, and did you say obviously it was about nine minutes left to go in the game. Did you say you still have a lot of time?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: I told them we're still going to win. I told them that now we just have to adjust defensively. We're going to start making shots but just stay poised and stay together. We have to make some adjustments defensively.
One of the things when our zone was really working, (Robbie) Hummel wasn't in. When Hummel came back in, our zone became a little bit less effective and we had to go back to man but they had gotten in a rhythm on making shots. The last one was on a dribble handoff when Hummel came off. So we made a few adjustments defensively, tried to pick up our pressure?
Again offensively we weren't able to get to the basket and score. It's a tough game for Blake -- and I hate to say it's a tough game -- when he has 18 and 21, but they really did a good job of doubling, being physical with him, and I thought Blake did a good job of being patient and of trusting his teammates, and he made some terrific passes, and guys stepped up, and we had five guys in double figures. So it was a really, really great win for us.
Q. When you guys were down four in the overtime, I think after that they only scored two more points the rest of the way, and that was a buzzer shot. I mean what did you think enabled you guys to shut them down?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: Our return guys had been through that. This game reminded me a little bit of our game -- we had a game last year against West Virginia at West Virginia that was very similar. That went to double overtime and both overtimes we were down seven, but our guys just found a way. And that's what it reminded me. We fouled the very first possession in overtime. So they were plus two because they go to the line and make it. We turned the ball over. We just had to calm down and get reorganized and refocused. Our guys did a good job of that.
Q. What was the ability to recognize what was going on with Blake and take advantage of it. How important is that going to be going forward?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: It's really important for our team. I thought it's really amazing for a young guy, for a freshman, he really understood the team fouls. And it's something we're always trying to get our guys to understand. But you can hear him telling other guys, guys we're in the bonus. We're in the double bonus. Keep driving, keep driving and he did a really good job of attacking and getting to the free throw line, which allowed our other guys to get some opportunities.
Our team has to know that Blake's going to get doubled, he's going to get tripled. They're going to try to be physical with him. We want him to get the ball but we can't force it. I thought some guys stepped up and made plays. I thought Cade Davis's two 3s in the second half were huge. But other guys stepped up.
The thing I'm excited about, obviously I'm excited about this win, but I still don't think we've shot well all year long and eventually that's going to come and when we start going like that I think, our offense becomes even more dangerous.
Q. The reason there's concern now is because you have a big guy who's going to touch the ball a lot who's going to get fouled a lot. And he had a lot of free throw attempts and he missed the free throws. If you miss 14 free throws in other games --
COACH JEFF CAPEL: It's definitely a concern and it's something we have to be better with, and we have to keep working on. Blake made two huge ones down the stretch. Cade stepped up and made some, Tony Crocker, but it's something that we do have to improve on. It is a concern, but I have confidence we'll get better.
Q. Blake said this kind of game he might not have had the maturity to stay calm and relaxed last year.
COACH JEFF CAPEL: He said that (laughs)?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: Very. Very. I mean he's grown so much, not just as a player, but just as a person, and that's what he needed to get him ready for what's ahead for him.
And again, I thought he did a good job of showing poise. I thought he did a good job of trying to stay focused, and at times, you know, the last year Blake started coming out, but you can calm him down a little bit and he could realize it and the fact that he said that to you speaks volumes of how far he's come.
PURDUE POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
COACH MATT PAINTER: First of all, I was real proud of our team's effort today. I thought our guys played very hard. I thought we had some guys due to foul trouble, step up and get some major minutes off our bench, and really contribute. I thought Nemanja Calasan had a great game. I thought Lewis Jackson did some good things, and with the change in the defenses and different times I thought our guys had some struggles but they also stepped up and made some plays. But from an effort standpoint that's the one thing as a coach when you look back, can your guys go out there and lay it on the line and play hard. And I felt our guys did, I thought they did a very good job of being prepared and following our game plan and we just came up a little bit short.
Q. The disparity, can you look at that and comment on that?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I talked to our guys afterwards how things get called in a game. It's kind of like injuries, and you can't control it, so you gotta keep a positive attitude and stay out there and just battle, and like I said, we got into foul trouble, and I thought we had some guys come off the bench, play very well and do some good things. There's no doubt we're a better basketball team than we were three hours ago, and this stinks. We thought we had the game. We let it slip out of our hands, but Oklahoma made good plays. They're a good team, and they stepped up and won the game.
Q. Can you talk about the play when I guess Jackson attempted to dish off the three to grant there. What happened on that?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Well, with 16 seconds to go we were looking to attack and get to the basket or get those guys a wide open shot. But we really wanted to put (Lewis) Jackson, let him use his speed, get to the rim and get a layup with 10, 11, 12 seconds. We just said if he gets stuck, you're going to have a trail. We popped the other guy to the other side. If they stop you from getting your layup, look for him, but he kind of just dribbled to be passing the basketball there at the end of the game and it's a good learning lesson to him. He's gotta use his speed, get a layup and call time out and play defense. Obviously that's not what we were looking for at that time, but that's what we were trying to do at that time. It just didn't work out.
Q. You gotta question the call that he enabled the timeout to be called where it appeared like the ball was in the air.
COACH MATT PAINTER: Correct. You know, to me sometimes things don't go your way, but the explanation to me is still baffling. He said to me it was an inadvertent whistle, and so the ball now went to the possession arrow, and then Oklahoma had the possession arrow, so that's why they had it.
And I was puzzled because as a coach, you hear it all, at least you think you hear it all, you know, and so when that came to me and he just said, instead of --
Q. Check the table?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Exactly. When you get to the response of saying, hey, I blew it, didn't have possession but I called it and I messed it up, now it's their ball. At least as a coach, so one thing as a coach I think that you'll accept, hey, I missed the call, and when a referee says that, you just say, okay, didn't go our way. But when he came back with the inadvertent whistle, I don't believe it. And it's not fair. The game doesn't need to end that way, regardless of who wins.
Q. The way your offense kind of slowed down the last seven and a half in regulation and the overtime. Is it more what they were doing with their defense?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I think a little bit of both because they were changing. They went to a zone during the game and it slowed us down a little bit. We didn't get very good movement. Then we started making some 3s and we got them out of that zone. Then when they went back to it we weren't able to get as clean looks and the same type of movement we were getting before and a couple shots just didn't go down and against the zone you gotta be able to step up and make a shot. And when we were good in those stretches we made some. But he did a good job. He changed defense and we missed a couple and it worked to their advantage.
Q. Is that something you can take out of this game for the rest of the season, the fact you showed a really good inside/outside balance and especially that streak of three and a half minutes where you nailed five straight 3s.
COACH MATT PAINTER: Yes. And that's what we have to have. We have to have some good perimeter shooting but we also have to have good inside play, and I thought (Nemanja) Calasan did a very good job for us tonight.
But it's the game of basketball. You gotta expect the unexpected and take the positives out of it and just keep moving on.
Q. Things don't get any easier. You guys gotta play Duke on Tuesday. Can you talk about that game and what you bring out of here into that?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Obviously the game got assigned in the summer about playing Duke, I thought it was a great opportunity for us, because I think he gets his guys to play very hard after watching them already a couple times. Out of the people I've watched so far, I think they're playing harder than anybody in the country. Probably it's a tie. I haven't seen enough people but out of the games I've watched during the holiday season I think Duke's playing so hard and he's got them going and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to go out there and compete.