Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Bulls
(On tonight’s game): “Chicago just out-toughed us. They out-toughed us. They were more physical than us. They played with more energy than we did. They executed. They brought us to a standstill or a halt offensively. The ball for us stayed on one side of the floor. We didn’t do a good job of moving bodies or moving the ball. They got whatever they wanted down at the other end.”
(On the team’s offense): “You give Chicago credit. They were extremely physical with us. We didn’t move well. We didn’t screen well. We couldn’t finish around the basket. I thought Tristan (Thompson) had some balls around the basket that he couldn’t finish. Even Luol (Deng) couldn’t finish around the basket. It was a tough night for every single guy on our roster.”
(On the team’s inconsistency): “I don’t know if it’s a cycle we seem to be stuck in. I thought against Dallas, the second unit came out and did not play well and Dallas went on a run. I thought our first unit came out, responded in the third quarter and got us back in the game. Our second unit came back in that Dallas game and they went on another run to stretch the lead to 17. We ended up cutting it, giving ourselves a chance to win the game. Prior to that, we played some pretty good basketball. Tonight, we did not. I don’t know if it’s a cycle that we’re in but I know against that team (Chicago) which is a very physical team, we just handed them our lunch. We didn’t respond well and that’s what’s disappointing. Going into the game, we talked about the tougher team or the more physical team is going to win the game, and we did not show up in that department tonight against those guys. That’s why the score is what it is. That’s why they shot what they shot, and that’s why we shot what we shot.”
(On slow starts this home stand): “I’m surprised. We talked about it before the game that this team is going to come in here and be extremely physical. The toughest team was the more physical team. The team that hit first was going to win, hit second was going to win and hit last was going to win, and those guys did it the entire game. That’s what I’m disappointed in.”
(On if Chicago’s physicality wore the team down tonight): “No; it’s just no excuses. There were just a lot of mistakes made on both ends of the floor. It kind of was the game right there, especially at the end. It kind of told the tale of the game. Miscommunication; the best shooter on the floor gets a wide-open three and puts (Chicago) up nine. It just goes back to the whole entire game; we just have to be better, including myself. We just have to have a more consistent effort and more of a sense of urgency, especially starting off the game.”
(On what Chicago did defensively to deny the team’s pace): “(Chicago) is just a slow, methodical team. Obviously, they’re missing pieces, so their sets have to be run with that much more execution. They do a great job of that and whenever something is working, coach (Thibodeau) does a great job of continuing to go at it and continuing to execute and execute, until you stop it. They kept doing that and made us make adjustments on the fly and we just couldn’t pick it up.”
(On why D.J. Augustin gives him problems): “Well, most of the time when he was coming off the pick-and-roll, he was wide open. It’s easy to play like that and he was just playing so free out there. We were just trying to make adjustments and most of the time he was just wide open and he made some tough shots. He played a great game tonight.”
(On playing against his former team): “It was strange, but it’s the Cavs versus the Bulls. It’s not so much about me. We could’ve played better.”
(On if he felt that he was forcing his game tonight): “Not really. If I was forcing things, I would’ve shot 30 shots. I really try to play the game within myself. (Chicago) played good (defense) and I just missed shots. I’m not happy with my performance, but that’s a good defensive team. We just have to keep going. We have a lot of steps to work on as a team. I really believe that we can get there.”
(On if the team is tough enough to win in the NBA): “I really believe that we can play better and that we’re talented enough to win games. We have guys that are going to have great careers in the NBA, but we just have to do it as a team. A lot of times out there, especially tonight, it’s a lot more about effort. We have to change that mindset to winning together. We have to figure out how we can use all of our talent and we have a team that I think can.”
(On facing Luol Deng): “For us, it wasn’t about (Luol). It was about playing Cleveland. I was very concerned because of the way (the Cavaliers) played on the west-coast trip.”
(On Deng): “I know what type of competitor he is and I know what kind of competitors we have on our team. I knew he was going to fight and we were going to fight.”
(On adjusting to adversity): “It’s one of the things that I respect about our team. They respond to every challenge and they have a lot of heart. I think they’re playing smart, playing hard and playing together. Each day, they have the right approach. It’s not to look behind or look ahead, it’s just concentrate on what we have to do to win.”
(On the season): “You don’t know how it will all unfold – if you will have injuries or you won’t have injuries, have a trade or no trade. You want to be able to handle whatever comes your way. I think the challenge of our league is how quickly you can adept to change. So for us, we took on the injury and we took on the trade. There’s a resolve to our team, a great fighting spirit and a will. When you have those things, you have a chance.”
(On facing Luol Deng): “I feel it went well. We knew a lot of the things that he wanted to do. We forced him to his weak points. It felt weird. He knew all of our plays, but we kept finding ways to score and it felt good.”
(On Deng): “There was tension before the game. We weren’t talking or nothing. Like “Thibs” said, we love him but we’re going to knock him on his butt if he tries to score and after the game we can be friends.”
(On emotions facing Luol Deng): “I was just trying to get a “W”. I was trying to stay as numb to that kind of stuff as possible. We wanted to battle. I think we did a good job of staying focused and just trying to get the “W”.
(On climbing over the .500 mark): “I think we are getting better and improving. We’re playing good basketball right now and it feels good to win.”
(On playing Luol Deng): “We tried to get the ball out of his hands as much as possible. We put a lot of pressure on him.”
• The Cavs pulled down 19 offensive rebounds leading to a 19-6 advantage in second chance points. In eleven January games, Cleveland is averaging 13.6 offensive rebounds and 15.0 second chance points. On the season, the Cavaliers are averaging 12.3 offensive rebounds per game.
• Cleveland had 23 assists to just nine turnovers tonight. This is the sixth time this season they have committed less than ten turnovers in a game. Over the last seven games, the Cavs are averaging 21.6 assists and only 11.6 turnovers per game.
• Kyrie Irving topped 20 points for the fourth straight game with a team-high 26 points on 10-19 (.526) shooting, including 5-7 (.714) from the three-point line, six rebounds, a team-high tying five assists and one steal in 37 minutes. His five three-pointers tied his season-high (vs. PHI 11/9/13). Irving has scored at least 20 points in 10 of the last 11 games at The Q (since Dec. 4), averaging 27.3 points, 7.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 37.5 minutes per game over that span. He now has 21 games this season of at least 20 points.
• Anderson Varejao posted his second consecutive double-double (11th this season) with 10 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting, a team-high 11 rebounds (seven offensive), a team-high tying five assists and two steals in 34 minutes. Varejao has grabbed at least 11 rebounds in 12 of the last 13 contests (since Dec. 29), averaging 14.5 rebounds to go along with 10.9 points, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.2 minutes per game over that stretch.
• Luol Deng recorded 11 points, five rebounds and one steal in 40 minutes. Deng has scored in double figures in each of his seven games with the Cavaliers, averaging 17.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.6 minutes per game.
• Dion Waiters finished with 15 points and three assists in 28 minutes off the bench. Waiters is averaging 14.8 points in 29.3 minutes per game as a reserve this season.