Richard Jefferson Interview
Game One of the New Jersey Nets vs. New York Knicks first round 2004 NBA playoffs series took place in Jersey. The Nets won handily by a score of 107-83. Richard Jefferson finished with 21 points (on just 12 shot attempts), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. InsideHoops.com and other media spoke with Jefferson after the game.
Question: You guys did it with defense in the second half.
Richard Jefferson: Yeah, well we're a defensive team first, and we were shooting such a high percentage, and the game was moving at such a fast pace, so we might have been playing good defense but everybody was getting so many looks, there's going to be a lot of points. In the second half, we just wanted to make adjustments, they made adjustments, we made adjustments, we were fortunate to have some good opportunities in the second half.
Question: Did it feel good to get out there and have some fun?
Richard Jefferson: Not that we were playing possum, but we knew Kenyon Martin and Jason Kidd were healthy. There was no need to go out there and have more wear and tear. A lot of people that were talking about us and talking about the series didn't really know what was going on. And those guys are healthy, J-Kidd is healthy, Kenyon is healthy, and I think Kenyon and both of them had double-digits assists and rebounds (respectively), and those are their main areas where they dominate. When they're doing that, we're playing at a high level.
Question: In Game One, you set a tone, preventing the Knicks from gaining confidence.
Richard Jefferson: They're a confident group. We've lost game one before and gone on to win the series. It's not about that. It's about the next game. The next game is going to be just as tough, if not tougher.
Question: How big was Brian Scalabrene's shot at the buzzer, going into the locker room (at the half)?
Richard Jefferson: It was huge. It gave us monemtum. It was nip and tuck the whole way. Brian is probably the sixth person we wanted to shoot it - ah, just kidding! - he just stepped up. We have so many young guys, him and Brandon Armstrong and Tamar Slay, that given the opportunity can really play, but he's playing behind Kenyon Martin and Rodney Rogers, but he's a very capable player.
Question: How do you defend Stephon Marbury into a scoreless third quarter?
Richard Jefferson: I think he was trying to get his teammates involved. Kerry (Kittles) did a great job. Kerry played with him for many years here, and understands his game, and you have to give Kerry most of the credit. It was good team defense, but Kerry really took the initiative.
Question: There's a report that you may have stepped on the floor in the second quarter. They showed it on tv.
Richard Jefferson: Nooooo, come on guys. Stepped on the floor? Come on, guys. That's not even a story. That's not even worth writing about or talking about. I didn't step on the floor, guys. That's just something else to write about. If it was a six point game, we wouldn't even be talking about this. This is just something to fill the time for the next two days.