Potent Quotables - 28,000 reasons to be happy about the win over Toronto

HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN
(On Shaq reaching 28,000 career points): "First of all, congratulations to Shaq on being the fifth player in NBA history to reach 28,000 points. It's a big milestone obviously with all the guys who have played in this league."

(On the game): "It was a tale of two halves for us. We felt as a staff offensively that we were getting good looks from the field and we were sharing the basketball, we were moving the ball. To have 27 assists on 38 buckets is a good night. That was there. It was there in the first half. What we were lacking in the first half was a physical presence. There were too many blow-bys, too many straight-line drives in the first half for a team that shoots jump shots and shoots them very well. They had (24) points in the paint and that's not who we are and not who we want to be. I thought in the second half, we (fixed) that area up. Our guys did a nice job and they scored eight points in the second half in the paint. We've been a good team in that area, but our physical presence in the second half was very evident as compared to the first half. I thought that was the difference in the game."

(On Shaq's defense on smaller players tonight): "Shaq had a big impact in the game. We've done it many times before (had Shaq play smaller players). We feel like he has good feet and we're not afraid to switch him on a smaller guy. That's a big man you have to try and score over."

(On playing their first home game in almost two weeks): "It's great. Whether we were on the road tonight or at home like we were, I just want to try and play the right way. Being at home for the first time, for me personally didn't matter, but playing the right way did. No matter if we won or lost the game, I still would have felt the same thing; that the second half we played the right way defensively. Sometimes you play the right way and it doesn't happen, but if we play the right way, more often than not, we'll get wins."


LEBRON JAMES

(On what Toronto was able to do offensively in the first half): "They have some really good scorers. They have guys that can spread the floor and put you in different positions out there, where our bigs have to be out on the perimeter and our guards have to defend in the post. They gave us a little trouble in the first half, but we were able to slow that down and hold them to 40 points in the second half."

(On the key in the 2nd half): "We were a bit more physical on the defensive end and got stops. We had to get stops in order to win this game. For them to have 60 points (at half) and end up with 100, as well as they shoot the ball, as good as they are offensively, that's a good performance by us in the second half."

(On Shaq's presence when they got within one in the second half): "It's great to have that luxury. Shaq is an unselfish guy, we ran two straight plays to him and he had two straight assists so it's great to have that interior presence. There are a lot of eyes on him when he has the ball. He was able to find Mo for the 3 and me in the lane for the dunk so it's great that we can slow the game down like that but at the same time, execute."

(On what Shaq brings defensively): "There are no layups when Shaq is covering the glass. It's not you either make the shot or miss it. You're going to miss it and go to the line and try to make two free throws. That's what he's about. He's about covering the interior and he doesn't care about putting a guy on the floor."

(On the Lakers coming in on Thursday): "It's going to be a good game. We went into their building on Christmas Day and were able to beat them pretty well. I think that's in the back of their head. They know that and they're going to try and spoil our home court advantage. It's going to be a good challenge for us and a good challenge for them. I'm looking forward to it."

(On not entering the dunk contest): "I don't know. I'm just not high on it. It's an unbelievable event. All-Star Saturday Night is probably the biggest event that we have...I think it's going to be really good. I give a lot of support to it."


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

(On being the fifth player to score 28,000 points): "I don't really think about it. I've always considered myself a consistent player. The only fallback for me is that I missed, like 5,000 free throws. If I would have at least hit half of those, then I would be at 30,000 right now. I'm happy being number five - there are some great names in front of me and there are some great names behind me. I've always been a player to only get happy about the big picture. I stopped worrying about individual accolades in 1999, when I got my first MVP, and I really just started focusing on winning championships. Although this milestone is a great milestone, it's not really something I get too giddy about."

(On if some hard fouls triggered some more aggressive defense): "I don't think it was the hard fouls. For me this point in my career, I have the second-best center in the East backing me up. Earlier in my career, I never really had a backup so I had to kind of let some of those go. I have got the great Ilgauskas backing me up, so I don't really give a darn about fouls."

(On improving on their defense in the paint in the second half): "They were getting a lot of blow-bys (in the first half). We came in at halftime and Coach and LeBron jumped on us and we really wanted to pick it up. If we are having a slow game, we usually pick it up in the third and fourth quarters in this building. The fans were great, the guys played great and it was a good win for us."

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