Nba Playoffs San Antonio Spurs Los Angeles Lakers Matt Bonner

Some felt that the Los Angeles Lakers got themselves into a pretty good matchup when the start of the playoffs shook out and they drew the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Spurs, however, quickly dispatched the Lakers in Game 1 of their first-round series. The two teams square off again tonight in San Antonio. Matt Bonner joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss if the Spurs truly felt like a No. 2 seed coming into the playoffs, the difference between the regular season and postseason, facing Metta World Peace, playing for Gregg Popovich, the matchup with the Lakers and playing overseas for a year before he stuck in the NBA.

With injuries and losses piling up late in the season, did you guys feel like this Spurs team was a No. 2 seed?:

“Yeah, I mean, we weren’t really concerned with seeding, pretty much the whole way. We were concerned with getting better day in and day out, getting better each game, working hard, trying to be healthy and peaking going into the playoffs. Obviously that didn’t happen, but we did the best we could and have confidence in ourselves.”

With a team full of veterans and champions, how different is the postseason from the regular season?:

“It’s different. We all understand that everything gets cranked up a notch or two come playoff time. Every possession becomes important. … We have pretty much the same roster from the team last year that went to the Conference Finals. Everybody’s got experience in these situations. We know, mentally, what it takes to focus in and win a seven-game series.”

How much confidence did you have in your lefty hook over Dwight Howard and how long has that been in your arsenal?:

“It’s been in my arsenal as long as I’ve been able to dream. That’s probably not in the scouting report, to force him left into the lefty floating hook, but it was pure instinct. I’m lucky he didn’t swat it into the sixth row.”

On facing Metta World Peace:

“He is one of the strongest individuals I’ve ever seen, played against. He’s just like one giant muscle. He plays hard and plays physical. You’ve got to really try to match his physicality the best you can, because he’s really strong, and obviously a talented player, as well.”

On playing for Gregg Popovich:

“He’s a great coach and I think he’s an even better person off the court. He’s funny, has a dry sense of humor, compassionate. He’s just a great friend, mentor, great to be around.”

People have said this is a good matchup for the Lakers. What do you think and what was Game 1 like?:

“It was a real physical, grind-it-out, defensive kind of game. Both sides can claim we didn’t put in our best offensive performances or best overall team shooting performances. We’ve got to make adjustments. It’s a long series, seven games. It was nice to win Game 1, but we have another one (tonight) that’s just as important. … They’ve got a talented team, but especially that front line with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Those guys are huge, athletic, long, talented, and we’ve got to do what we did in Game 1 and try to be physical, play hard and guard them with our entire team if we want a chance to win again.”

What was the experience like after you got drafted and were told to go overseas and get some seasoning?:

“It was a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. … I went over there, a lot of things went wrong off the court with the ball club. Stuff like not getting paid, which everybody cries about over there. But I also had stuff like coming home to an eviction notice on my apartment. … Four or five guys boycotting games because they weren’t getting paid, so we’d go on the court with like six or seven guys against some of the top teams in Europe. So when I finally did make the NBA, the following year with the Raptors, and moving forward since then, I’ve never taken anything for granted.”

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