DENVER – Ten good minutes Tuesday morning in a one-on-one conversation with Portland Trail Blazer Coach Terry Stotts. I’m guessing at least one of YOUR questions will be answered during this chat:
DJ: Here in their arena having your shootaround, do you ever worry about someone from their coaching staff sitting in a room somewhere watching what you’re doing on a video feed? There are cameras all over this place.
TS: “I’ve thought about it, yes. You have to rely on professionalism, character…”
DJ: That’s what they used to say in New England when teams were having walk-throughs or practices at the Patriots’ facility.
TS: (laughter) It’s possible. I don’t know if they do that anymore. In the past, I think people have done that.
DJ: You said on the conference call yesterday you’ve given some thought to changes. Are you considering changes?
TS: We talk about making changes after every game. It’s just what to start the game with and what we’re prepared to go to…
DJ: And it’s more about what you’re prepared to go to, rather than what you start with, right?
DJ: There is the old cliché about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results…
TS: There is that, but you can also be on the right track and just do what you do better. Most good sports franchises continue to do what they do well. To me, that’s their priority and they do what they do well – and there are changes to be made but, you know, the proof is always in the scoreboard.
DJ: It feels as if Dame isn’t getting a lot of room and if you had more shooters out there…
TS: Yeah, but you know, that’s true but three out of the four games of the series we’ve scored at a better offensive rate than we did in the regular season. Everybody tends to look at the offense, but when we’ve defended – our two best defensive games we won the game. We’ve had three good offensive games. Last game was our best offensive game – our best offensive-rated game – even with that bad third quarter. It’s easy to spin the narrative that’s convenient but it’s not necessarily true.
DJ: I know what your stats say but I know what my eyes say…
TS: Third quarter was terrible but if you take the game as a whole, the whole game, it was a good offensive game.
DJ: Does it concern you that you got a big first half out of Curry and then he got only one shot in the second half?
TS: You have to give them credit for not losing him, you know. We ran a couple of plays for him and he made the shots. He only played about three minutes in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, we scored … I always get back to, are we scoring? Regardless of who is scoring, whether it’s Dame or Seth or CJ … somebody is NOT going to score. But if you’re scoring as a team, what did we have -- 35 points in the fourth quarter? -- whatever. So we scored points. Seth being on the court opens things up for drives, so overall, I always look at overall, how the team is doing, not necessarily individuals.
DJ: You didn’t defend them very well in the fourth quarter, especially down the stretch. If you could just have gotten a couple of stops in the last three minutes you might have won the game.
TS: Everybody kind of looks at the … there’s a tendency to look at the offense but our defense was much more lacking than our offense in the last game. And you have to give them credit for making those shots.
DJ: I feel like they’re getting better shots than you guys are getting. Do you feel that way?
TS: I think it’s hard to say. I don’t know. Pick a game. Some games … it’s hard to make a broad statement like that. Over the four games, I don’t know.