Webber on the lack of intensity by the Detroit Pistons: "(The Pistons) are really nonchalant and that’s why I felt we lost last year (in the Eastern Conference Finals). It sounds crazy, but they could care less. That locker room is crazy, disciplined and unruly. Disciplined because they police themselves, they are all veterans, they know they’ve got to be in bed, they know they’ve got to work hard, I’m not talking about on the court. They come from a coach like Larry Brown, they look at him like the epitome of basketball, and they feel they can wait until the last game or the championship and they won’t lose. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s how it is."
Webber on the feeling in the locker room during halftime: "No disrespect to Flip (Saunders), but it doesn’t matter what Flip says, because they take on the personality of Joe Dumars. Rip (Hamilton), Chauncey (Billups), Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed (Wallace) and (Antonio) McDyess are very mad right now, they probably aren’t even talking and they are probably just saying, ‘ok we’re going to go win this game."
Webber: "Joe will come down to the locker room and tell everybody I don’t know what you think you’re doing, I’ll trade everybody."
The idea of Dumars addressing the team at halftime seemed surprising (if not laughable) to me, and Chris McCosky of the Detroit News agrees:
[Webber] was asked what Saunders might be saying at halftime and he said something like, whatever Flip says won't matter, intimating that the players don't listen to him. Charles Barkley, bless him, challenged Webber on the statement and Webber backtracked a bit saying that it would be Joe Dumars in that locker room talking to the players. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Dumars talks to the players all the time, but never during a game, at halftime or immediately following a game. If he has issues with what Flip is doing, which he has in the past, he will talk directly to Flip. But he would never interfere with the coaching of a game.
I had to laugh afterwards when I say Rip Hamilton interviewed on TNT, and he was asked if Dumars talked at halftime. "Not at all," Rip said. Then, I caught the very last segment of the studio show and Webber was in complete back-peddle mode. He said what he was trying to say is that the Pistons are a veteran team and they police themselves.
That's true, but that's not what he was saying at first. He was getting his licks in on a coach he didn't like.
So what did Saunders say at halftime? From ESPN's Chris Sheridan:
When it came time to save his job, and that's pretty much what the situation boiled down to in the moments after the Detroit Pistons exited the court at halftime trailing by 10 points, coach Flip Saunders ripped into every single member of the team -- except one.
"I told them: I looked at us playing in the first half, and we've got Antonio McDyess, who got operated on yesterday in Detroit, flew back and was throwing up all night, and he's competing harder than anybody," Saunders said.
"I said: 'That should show you how bad he wants it, and we all should look at what he's doing, and we've all got to be willing to make the same sacrifices.'"