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Game 1 Player Interviews: Zaza Pachulia "You Want to Frustrate Your Opponents"

The moment is in permanent ink on the minds of all Atlanta Hawks fans when it comes to NBA Playoffs. Zaza Pachulia gets in the face of Kevin Garnett in Game 4 of the Hawks first playoff series in a decade and doesn't back down, head to head with his frustrated opponent.

Late in the last home game of this regular season, Pachulia scored a layup on Zydrunas Ilgauskas who took the ball out of the net, turned around, and beaned Pachulia in the back like he was a member of the ALL-NBA Dodgeball team.

And so it was again in Game 1 of this 2011 NBA Playoff season, that Dwight Howard threw Pachulia to the ground, giving Zaza a pair of free throws, and giving Howard a technical foul.

Pachulia is "annoying", as Mike Tirico says, but he's our annoying player, and one of the more thoughtful players on the team when it comes to talking about the game, which we were lucky enough to do after game 1.

On his infamous ability to "annoy":

You want to frustrate your opponents. Honestly, I'm not planning to. I guess it happens you're trying to do things forcefully and hard. I'm not getting a lot of minutes so I need to go hard. I think that works. It definitely helps our team to make it better, make a run, get some stops, and take some charges.

How the team finished the regular season and getting ready for this performance in Game 1:

It's a playoff game. At the end of the season we weren't playing as good as we were supposed to. And even though coach didn't want us to go into the playoffs on a losing streak, the guys knew individually what they needed to be 100 percent for the playoffs.

Playoffs, that's what matters. It's a great start, but I don't think that it's a good idea to be satisfied. We still made a lot of mistakes. We can get better.

On the defensive effort by Kirk Hinrich:

I want to tell you two things about that.

First is that Kirk is a great defender and at point guard position. Since he got on the team with us we can really feel it. It helps the big men that we don't have to help as much and especially when you have Dwight Howard rolling to the basket.

Second is that's what Orlando does, they are great at pick and roll. One of our concentrations was to really guard the pick and roll especially with Jameer and Dwight. We did a good job tonight, but we can still improve there.

What he expects Orlando to do in Game 2:

I am sure their perimeter players are going to come out more aggressive. They are a great team with great coaches, I am sure they are going to come out like us and watch tape, see what they can do better, make some changes.

We know what we can do and (if) we play together, for 48 minutes, we should be in good shape. We are going to have a chance to win this series if we play like we did tonight. Play together on defense, share the ball.

It was beautiful to watch our team play tonight.

Other Game 1 Peachtree Hoops Coverage:

Instant Reaction

Further Review

Game Recap