Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Celtics
(On the players on the court in the fourth quarter): “I gotta give Alonzo (Gee), Tristan (Thompson), Jarrett (Jack), Delly (Matthew Dellavedova) and Tyler (Zeller) a lot of credit. Those guys came on the floor and they were together for the last nine minutes of the game. The way they moved the basketball, the way they spaced the floor, the pace that they had to the game and the rhythm that they had with one another, we haven’t played that way in a while. Those guys in the last quarter or so playing together shot 67 percent from the floor and had 11 assists on 16 field goals. Offensively, that’s how we had been playing for a while and we’ve gotten away from it. On top of that, defensively those guys were out there scrambling, trying to protect one another. The defense that they showed in the fourth quarter is how we’ve been playing. It’s too bad for us to play the way that we’ve played as of late and let opportunities to get better slip away. We have opportunities to get better as a team, as individuals and we just don’t know how to do it. Again, the group that was out on the floor, they were great. I haven’t seen that in a while and it was fun to see. We lost the game, but I thought that group helped us get back and head in the right direction.”
(On what he plans to do in the final game of the season): “Keep trying to find different combinations that can play. Maybe I should have gone to that combination sooner. Those guys played well. They deserved to be on the floor. We don’t have a lot of bodies so guys gotta step up and guys gotta play. They have to want to try to play the right way. We’ve held the ball more in the last two games where we come off a pin down or come off a pick and roll than we have in a stretch of four to five games. We come off a pin down where we catch and just hold it. We let the defense settle, jab, jab and take a contested shot. We come off a pick and roll and it’s back to dribble, dribble, dribble. Watching us play in these last two games on both ends of the floor remind me of the first two months of the year.”
(On what the team needs to do to get better): “You look at the Detroit game, we had more throw aheads in that game than probably any other four or five games combined. We were able to throw ahead, flow into our offense and attack at a pace before the defense is set. You show guys, you talk to guys. One of the things that has plagued us this year is our inconsistencies. It’s obviously a little tough for these guys to be consistent with what we’re trying to do. Old habits, bad habits, however you want to call it, creep back into us as individuals or us as a team and it results in bad things. It’s part of coaching. I’ve gotta keep showing film. We’ve gotta keep drilling it. We’ve gotta keep talking about it and we’ve gotta repeat the process. Eventually if guys don’t get it, then somebody else has to step up and play.”
(On the first three quarters compared to the fourth): “We couldn’t get multiple stops. You have to give them credit. They made a lot of open shots and them made some tough shots on us. We didn’t get consecutive stops and our offense couldn’t get anything going, so that kind of put us behind the eight ball. In the fourth quarter, guys came together, showed some pride, some heart, some guts and tried to rally back and make the game a little bit more decent.”
(On being inconsistent from game to game): “It’s just the course of a basketball game. Against Detroit, we were rolling at the beginning and just feeding off the momentum. A couple of the other games, Milwaukee and tonight, we weren’t making shots and we can’t have our offense dictate our defense. In the Detroit games, we were making shots and things were working offensively for us, that’s why we were buckled down and put them away early. In the last two games, we’ve been missing shots and it’s kind of dictated our defense; lacking on help, contesting shots and playing with some pride. We can’t have our offense dictate our defense. It’s just something we have to take and grow from.”
(On the first three quarters of tonight’s game): “These games are tough, obviously. In the last two games, the way we moved the ball, or haven’t moved the ball, I think was really affecting us on both ends of the floor. Obviously it’s cyclical, but what I’ve found a lot of times is the ball isn’t whipping around when everybody doesn’t have that good feeling on offense. Often that can dictate the defensive intensity as well. I think that’s one of the factors we’re going through.”
(On why the team hasn’t moved the ball around consistently): “I wish I had the answer to that. It’s tough, these games are tough. You invest so much in making a push down the stretch and in our case, win a game and then come back to the locker room and see (Atlanta defeat Boston Wednesday night). We have to do a better job of battling human nature and not allowing that to impact our effort or whatever factor it is.”
(On the Celtics’ performance): “We were shorthanded as far as bodies go, but all eight guys were pretty good and locked in tonight.”
(On defending the Cavaliers): “Spencer Hawes got his early and then we did a better job of getting to him. (The Cavaliers) broke us down late, especially in the paint and transition-wise in the fourth quarter. For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job on (Kyrie) Irving and (Dion) Waiters. We tried to make it as difficult as possible like you have to. You’re dead if you don’t. They missed a couple of midrange shots that if they hit those and get rolling, it’s a different story. You’ve seen Kyrie enough to know that he can hit them and go, go, go. It’s fortunate that he didn’t from our standpoint.
(On improvements made throughout the season): “You got a bunch of guys out there that are contracted for the future. It’s good that they play well, grow, learn and see different situations and feel better about themselves.”
(On offensive improvement): “Our offense has gotten better throughout the course of the year. It hasn’t always shown itself in made field goals. I think you have to have a balance. The best teams that I have ever been around have had a balance of action and motion. Our guys are finding guys and it helps when Kelly Olynyk plays that way at the four. He really opens up things for everybody else.”
(On his performance tonight): “I was definitely comfortable tonight. For me, I like to have the ball in my hands and make a play off the dribble every once in a while and put the ball on the floor, or create for some other people. There were some other parts where I didn’t make too many good plays out there so it’s kind of 50/50 I guess.”
(On his progress): “You never want to be satisfied. You always have to get better every day, especially in a league that’s this competitive. You just want to keep competing and keep getting better every day. You want to make sure that you are progressing and add a little bit more.”
(On taking advantage of opportunities): “That’s going to happen. The season is long and grueling. Guys are going to fall in and out of the lineup. When an opportunity is presented, you have to be ready to seize it. It’s nice to have an extra opportunity, you have to be ready to jump on it when it comes. You can’t sit back and wait.”
(On playing through mistakes): “It’s awesome. It’s every player’s dream to be able to play through stuff and make mistakes. That experience is vital to the growth of a player and the team.”
• Seven Cavs players finished in double figures in scoring: Kyrie Irving (15), Jarrett Jack (15), Dion Waiters (15), Tristan Thompson (14), Tyler Zeller (12), Alonzo Gee (11) and Matthew Dellavedova (10). Cleveland has had at least six players score 10-plus points in three consecutive games. The last time the Cavs had three straight games of six players finishing with 10-plus points was Dec. 19-23, 1993. The Cavs have had seven players finish with 10-plus points five times this season (1/10/14 at UTA, 2/3/14 at DAL, 2/18/14 at PHI, 4/9/14 vs. DET), including in two of the last three games. (Elias)
• Dion Waiters tallied a team-high tying 15 points, four rebound and two assists in 27 minutes. Over the last 14 games, Waiters is averaging 21.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 36.6 minutes per game. In three games versus Boston this season, Waiters averaged 17.7 points, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steal in 31.3 minutes per game.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a team-high tying 15 points, including 8-8 from the free throw line, and two assists in 31 minutes.
• Jarrett Jack finished with a team-high tying 15 points, three rebounds and a team-high six assists in 33 minutes off the bench. Over the last 14 contests, Jack is averaging 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 33.2 minutes per game.
• Tristan Thompson posted his team-leading 35th double-double of the season with 14 points on 6-12 (.500) shooting, and a team-high tying 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Thompson has posted a double-double in consecutive contests, averaging 16.0 points on .550 (11-20) shooting and 10.0 rebounds in 34.0 minutes per game over that stretch.
• Tyler Zeller registered 12 points on 4-8 (.500) shooting, seven rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes off the bench. Zeller has scored in double figures in three straight games, averaging 13.7 points on .667 (18-27) shooting and 6.3 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game over that stretch.
• Alonzo Gee notched 11 points on 5-9 (.556) shooting, seven rebounds (season-high four offensive) and three assists in 20 minutes. Gee scored in double figures for the fifth time this season.
• Matthew Dellavedova scored 10 points in 32 minutes. Dellavedova scored in double figures for the 13th time this season.