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Transcript: Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry media availability – July 31, 2020

Alvin Gentry Media Availability – July 31, 2020

On Zion Williamson’s minutes and how is it influenced by the medical staff:
“We sit down as a group, along with [David Griffin] and Aaron (Nelson) and we talk about it as to how it’s going to look as far as him playing, and we come to the understanding that this is the best for him right now from the standpoint of the bursts that he would have and that’s the way we try to play him.”

On additional takeaways from last night’s game after having the opportunity to review game film:
“I think it was the turnovers. If you look at [the Utah Jazz], as I said earlier, they’re 30th in the league in forcing turnovers and we ended up with 21 turnovers, which is way too many against that team. The one thing they do, they’re very solid defensively, but you should be able to have shots that are taken. You can’t go through 21 possessions against that team without getting a shot up, and that’s basically what we did. I’d also say we went away from what we do collectively as a team and that is that we either try to have paint shots or we try to have three’s. We shot too many contested mid-range jumpers, and I think we got a little bit tired last night, and as I said to some of the guys, I probably should have gone to the bench a little bit more, I don’t mind saying that, and been able to preserve guys a little bit more. There were several things that we could have done better, but there were a lot of things that we did really well. I thought our defense in the first half was terrific, we were really active and did a good job, and as I said, too many turnovers. We had eight turnovers in the third quarter, that should have been our total for the game.”

On what he wants to see from the team tomorrow against the Clippers:
“I think the number-one thing is that we cannot turn the ball over, especially against this Clipper team. They are a much different team than Utah in that they’re very oriented to be a running team, and they’ve got two great defensive players out there, three if you count Pat Beverley, but they have two All-Stars out there that are not only good offensive players, but terrific defensive players, so we’ve got to be able to take care of the ball, and we’ve got to be able to try to create offense and we’ve got to be able to some way come up with some easy shots.”

On what he saw from his team defensively in the second half last night against Utah:
“I think what happened is we didn’t contain the ball in the second half as well as we did in the first half, which created a lot of points in the paint for them, lane shots. I think they ended up with 56 of their 106 points in the paint. We understand that Rudy (Gobert) is going to get behind us a couple of times, especially when you’re dealing with Donovan Mitchell, he’s going to create two (defenders) on the ball situations, and we’re going to have Gobert get behind us a few times, but I just thought overall we could have done a better job of guarding our position individually and trying to limit the dribble penetration that happened.”

On going to the bench more in upcoming games and using it as an advantage:
“It has been [an advantage], and I don’t mind saying that I probably should have gone a little bit deeper on the bench, but we had guys that were playing well and we just rode with them. That’s the thing, as a coach, you have to be able to look in the mirror first and judge yourself. Like I said, what I’d like to see us do is maybe we can go to our bench a little deeper and preserve some of these minutes for some of these starters.”

On the plus/minus statistic:
“Irrelevant. You can use it for whatever you want to. Numbers, you can do whatever you want to with them. I don’t look at a plus/minus and say ‘boy, this guy played really well’ or ‘man, this guy was really poor’. I think that’s one stat that you can judge someone with, but I don’t think it’s cut and dry 100-percent that you can look at that stat and say a guy played well or a guy didn’t play well.”

On how he motivates the team:
“I don’t think we’re in a position to say ‘one game at a time’, I think we’ve got to look at the big picture, and the big picture is that we have seven games left to play and really all of those games is going to be like a [game seven] for us, so we have to approach it that way knowing that we need to win those games. That’s just one of those things of being in a competitive situation and having only a few games left, so we have to approach it as we’re playing a [game seven] against the Clippers, and we’re playing a game seven against all the other teams that we’re going to be playing, and most of those teams are teams that we’re trying to chase or catch or get in a position where we’re having that play-in game. I don’t think it’s one of those [situations] where we take it one game at a time, you have to understand the big picture of the whole [situation], and we have to approach it that way.”

On the frustrations of trying to compete in this moment while dealing with long-term goals at the same time:
“We have to be smart. You have to understand, obviously, coaches are competitive, but the big picture is, we have to have healthy people to play throughout the season. We hired medical guys that are very good at their job, and as a coach, you have to be able to listen to those guys because they know best, and whatever minutes they say a guy is able to play, you have to be able to do that. The big picture is that we’re trying to win an NBA championship, and I think whatever it takes to try to get to that situation, or that position, we’ve got to be willing to follow the people that are experts in that particular area.”

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