How frustrated are you right now with the team and the players?
I'm very disappointed with this whole road trip. I don't know where the sense of urgency is right now, especially on the defensive end. We have to be much, much better. Guys have to take more pride and ownership in the fact that they have to guard their man. We're still doing a bad job with communicating with each other. For whatever reason, guys don't talk to each other. We have to fix that problem. But that's been a problem from day one, and we've been harping on that as far as it has to get better. Instead of going into a shell, guys have to do a better job of talking to each other. So like I said before, learning some stuff about our guys as far as adversity, and I'm sure I'm going to learn more.
Do you feel like they are listening to you at all?
Yes, I feel they hear me. Now the listening part, I don't know. But I think they hear me. I think I was pretty loud and clear at halftime. But my question is, can they do it? It's not so much do they want to do it, it's can they do it. My answer to that is, I think so, because I've seen us do it, so I know we can. But we have to get that mental edge back somehow. That's something that myself and the rest of our coaches can't help with.
Is defense the biggest thing lacking with the team right now?
Defense is definitely going to be what wins us games. Defense also changes how you can approach the game offensively as well. But defense is where we are going to win games at.
Are guys listening to Coach Scott or do they tune him out?
We definitely ride with what Byron tells us. He's in our corner, and we all are behind him. I just think we all have to go out there and do it. It's one thing to hear it and one thing to say it, but you actually have to go out there and put it into play, and we have yet to do that. But I think every guy in this locker room hates losing. You can just tell and feel it from the way everyone walks around, but because of that, we'll get better.
76ERS HEAD COACH DOUG COLLINS
Is there a feeling that there is something in the bank here in this building?
You bet. We looked at our schedule. We know what is on the backside of this. We have got a getaway game with the Lakers. Then we have got to go to Orlando and play back-to-back. Chicago, Boston back-to-back. We have a couple days for Christmas. Then we have Denver, Golden State back-to-back. We have Phoenix, the Lakers on News Year Eve and then New Orleans. We definitely know what is ahead. That is why every win right now is precious for us. We want to keep ourselves above water during this period of time. Hopefully, we get all of these trips out of the way and can stay attached to the feel a little bit, and see what we can do in the last 50 games of the season.
How much do you think Hawes' difficulties earlier in the year had to do with conditioning?
All of it. He missed 16 days, and it set him way back. Big guys, they need that work and it set him way back. I give Spencer a lot of credit. He has worked very hard. We had the strength and conditioning coach (Jesse Wright) call the Sacramento people. I wanted to know what his body weight and body fat were when he had his best year out there. We just mentioned it to him and he has worked hard. A big part of what he is doing right now is that he is in great shape. He has got that cocky part about him again which made him good out of college. I thought he lost that in Sacramento. I think he got beat down a little bit and he is getting resurrected.
How much better shape are you in now? How much did missing time early effect you, and is this a direct result?
I think so. It's not only being in shape, it's getting in that rhythm. Getting in basketball shape is a different kind of shape that you can not replicate unless you're playing games. You can try as much as you want doing stuff on the sidelines, but until you start getting those minutes, it's hard to get it in that rhythm. I think, for me especially, I'm a rhythm player. Being back out there and feeling that out, not only for myself but getting on the same page with my teammates, that makes a big difference.
What did you have to do extra to get yourself where you wanted to be?
The extra cardio, the extra lift, all that stuff on days off. When you have a chance to go either way, you have got to stick with it and keep pushing it, and the results will come.
You said that confidence has never been a problem for you. With how you're playing right now, you have to be feeling different than you were feeling almost a year ago, right?
I'm having a great time, having fun out there. As coach always says, go out there and have fun. Play aggressive, but have fun. I think that's what I've been doing, just going out there having fun and playing aggressive, and being there for my team. The guys are coming together, and we're bringing everyone together. Teamwork and hard work - we're showing it.
How comfortable are you with your role now? Did it take a little while to get used to?
I'm very comfortable anytime. Whether coming off the bench or starting, playing 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, I'm going to go out there and give it my hardest. Show 100 percent every time. I'm never going to be in that situation where I don't give that effort. I definitely go out there to be that guy that's going to be aggressive and help his team win games.