Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Bobcats
(On tonight’s game): “Give Charlotte credit. They just kind of stay with it and make the right play, nothing fancy. They just make the right, simple, fundamental play down the stretch of every ball game. They don’t have guys fall asleep on the weak side. They don’t have guys that stop playing. Every possession is very, very important to those guys. During the beginning of the game, I thought we weren’t great but we did a better job of trying to move the ball and move bodies. We had some open looks in the first half that I thought we just missed. Defensively at times, we played well enough to hang in there. Obviously, Kyrie (Irving) got hot. He kept us in the game with his scoring. Down the stretch, we just made some simple fundamental errors that cost us the game. Our consistency has to get better.”
(On the team’s sense of urgency and defense): “I thought we had guys that didn’t play with a sense of urgency throughout the course of a 24-second shot (clock) at times…There’s no time to rest. There’s no time to relax on the defensive end of the floor. I thought on a few possessions late in the game, we relaxed, especially on the weak side of the floor. We gave up an offensive rebound on one and gave up a late contested three on the other. There were some instances where they had an advantage but if we would have played with an awareness throughout the 24-second shot clock, it might not even have gotten to that.”
(On Kyrie Irving’s three-point attempt late in the game): “It’s one of our end of game plays. The guys did a pretty good job of executing the last couple of plays, but we put ourselves in a tough hole. Charlotte made free throws down the stretch. (Irving) had a wide open look. That was the play. If he wasn’t open, we felt he had room to drive the basketball. Obviously, he was wide open and had a lot of time. It just didn’t go in.”
(On his late three-point look in overtime): “It was as good of a look as I had all night. It’s a play that we run in every shoot around and I was in rhythm. It just went in and out; crucial miss. I can live with that. It was in rhythm, (Anderson Varejao) set a great screen and we gave ourselves a shot to win it at the end of the game, but I just couldn’t knock it down.”
(On how tough the loss is to take after a career night): “As big of a game as that was, I would trade any of that in for a win, especially with the run we’re trying to make. This was a tough one and probably one of the biggest games of my career thus far; just the magnitude of it and how much it meant to all of us and how much it meant to me. To lose like that hurts.”
(On how frustrating the first half was tonight): “It was tough, but we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game just based on our defense. No matter if teams get double-digit or single-digit leads on us, we always rely on our defense. We were making a few shots in the second half, but then (Charlotte) went on a run. We had great shots; they weren’t good; they were great. They were in rhythm and we can live with that. (We had) a few mistakes here and there at the end of the game that we just have to learn from.”
(On the team’s shots not falling tonight): “It was tough. We haven’t had a game like that in a really, really long time. We still gave ourselves an opportunity with our defense and we just had offensive lapses down the stretch that allowed them to come back and take the lead. That shot us in the foot tonight.”
(On what has been the difference in the four games against Charlotte): “They’re a physical team. They play a mature brand of basketball and they get the ball to the necessary players. They take their time and just are really methodical with their offense. It’s not a real run-and-gun type of team. They do a good job of getting quality shots out of every possession.”
(On tonight’s game): “That was a grind-it-out game. Both teams are defensive-minded and it was a tough, physical game. Both teams had chances to make plays and it was a hard fought game.”
(On clinching the playoff birth): “It’s great. The guys in the locker room are excited. It was a good locker room and it’s a group of guys who are deserving. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re all excited.”
(On clinching the playoff birth): “This is significant for our group of guys and I think it puts us in a difference place in the league from where we were a few months ago. It’s good guys with good character, and a hardworking team.”
(On Bobcats’ character): “I think it’s one of our biggest strengths, the character and competitiveness of our group. The team was put together well, with that being a focus.”
(On clinching the playoff birth): “It’s a wonderful feeling because we came a long way. It means a lot to us, but we reached one goal and we have a lot more to reach. For us, this is the beginning.”
(On the game): “Four games in six nights. It was a mental thing tonight. Legs weren’t under us. Shots were falling short. It just shows how much we’ve matured and have grown up as a team. We kept grinding. This is the NBA. No excuses, you’re going to be tired at the end of the year.”
(On Bobcats’ playoff birth after previous two seasons): “It’s like night and day. I think we deserve it. We put in the time, work and effort to get to this point. I think we deserve it.”
• Tonight was Cleveland’s eighth overtime game of the season, which matches the most overtime games played in a single season in franchise history. The Cavs also played in eight overtime contests during the 1989-90 season.
• Cleveland held Charlotte to 34-91 (.374) shooting from the field. This is the 15th time this season that the Cavs have held their opponent to less than .400 shooting from the field. Since Feb. 9 (28 games), the Cavs’ defense is holding teams to .441 shooting from the field.
• The Cavs shot 17-21 (.810) from the free throw line. Cleveland has made at least .800 of their free throw attempts in a season-high five straight games. Over that span, they are shooting a combined .822 (88-107) from the foul line.
• The Cavs outscored the Bobcats 16-11 in fast break points. Over the last five games, the Cavs are averaging 16.0 fast break points to the opponents’ 7.6.
• After holding Charlotte to 34 points in the paint tonight, Cleveland has allowed fewer than 45 points in the paint in 17 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a career-high 44 points on 16-31 (.516) shooting, including 5-9 (.556) from the three-point line, seven rebounds, a game-high eight assists and a game-high tying three steals in 43 minutes. This is Irving’s fifth career game of 40-plus points (third this season). Irving scored seven of his points in overtime. On the season, he is averaging 7.9 points in the extra period (seven games). He has an NBA-high 55 points in overtime this season.
• Dion Waiters tallied 14 points, three rebounds and a career-high three blocks in 36 minutes. Since re-entering the starting lineup (11 games), Waiters is averaging 21.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 38.6 minutes per game.
• Tristan Thompson pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with four points and three assists in 30 minutes. Thompson has recorded 12-plus rebounds 21 times this season.