Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies
(On the game tonight): “We had a lot of good performances from everybody on the team. I thought Dion’s dunk towards the end of overtime was huge for us. We called a play in the huddle and he recognized where he had an advantage. He took it to the hole strong and finished the right way. That was a big difference in the ball game. I thought not only him but our bench was fantastic. The bench got us that lead. I kept going back and forth. ‘Should I ride them?’ The whole time they were out on the floor, they defended and they shared the ball. I thought they did exactly what we wanted them to do. In transition, we got some easy buckets from the throw ahead, Dion running the floor and finishing. It was real, real fun to watch. Obviously, Kyrie has a big night with 28 points, five rebounds and six assists. All of our guards did a nice job rebounding tonight against a real good, physical team in Memphis. I thought Luol’s play was just a testament to his veteranship. He got the steal and instead of going in there and trying to dunk it or lay it up, he pulled it back out and he ran some more time off the clock. It was real small but it was huge for us and great for our young guys to see that type of play out there at that point of the game. It was a team effort.”
(On Anderson Varejao’s defense): “We gotta give a lot of credit to Anderson Varejao. Zach Randolph is one of the toughest post covers in the league. He fights so hard every single possession or post position, whether it’s ducking it in or straight post up. Andy was hurting and we just rolled with him. We said we’re going to keep him on the floor as long as Zach was on the floor and let him fight. For Andy to play 43 minutes and play as hard as he had to play against that guy and try to make him work was fantastic. Fourteen rebounds and five assists, he was the difference in the ball game tonight. He was huge for us.”
(On the difference in his team’s defense between tonight and the last game): “I thought tonight we played a physical brand of basketball and our defense was pretty good. Our execution offensively I thought against Washington was very good and defensively we played good enough just to get a win. But we weren’t stalwarts in that game. I thought tonight we tried to bring it. Memphis shot 38 percent from the floor. They’re a very good rebounding team and had nine offensive rebounds. Our guards mixed it up quite a bit. Tonight was totally different than the Washington game. We brought it on the defensive end of the floor which was exciting to see.”
(On having fun on the floor): “(I) definitely had a lot of fun with my teammates out there. I feel that we had a great team meeting with all of us and coming out there, it was fun. Just being out there and competing at the highest level. At the end of the day, it’s just a game. Everybody is just putting too much pressure on themselves. We just need to go out there and just play basketball. That’s what we get paid to do and it’s a blessing to be out there.”
(On if relaxing and having fun was the essence of the team meeting): “Absolutely. Going out there, waking up every single day, coming to the gym to put the basketball in the hoop, that’s what you dream of, especially at the highest level. It’s what you dream of. Going out there for the last two games, it’s just been fun. Whether the game is tight or it gets away from you, competing should be fun. I feel like everybody is saying the same message and is going out there and playing for one another.”
(On what the key was to bouncing back from Memphis’ second-half run): “Just staying focused and believing and trusting each other; trusting our rotations. That’s what it boils down to is just trusting each other and just covering for one another.”
(On how big Anderson Varejao’s defense was tonight): “He was awesome. I had to give him a big hug after the game. He’s playing through I don’t know how many injuries, but he’s playing his butt off right now and we’re definitely feeding off his energy. He’s the emotional leader of this team and his competitiveness keeps us going out there.”
(On what he and Dion Waiters are learning from playing with each other): “We’re just being honest with one another out there. We’re telling each other what we see out there and he’s looking to me for advice, I’m looking for him for advice for just different things we see out there. Earlier in the season, we probably wouldn’t have said anything to one another. It’s just continuing to get better and feeding off one another.”
(On his dunk): “It was nice. It was at the right time. It got the crowd going. We needed it badly.”
(On playing as a team): “When we push the ball, I’m always constantly looking for open guys, as you could see when I found Luol. Every time I get the ball, I tell Kyrie to run behind me or go down and come off the pin down. We just have to play off one other. I think if we do that, continue to do that, we’ll be way better.”
(On if they can sustain their play): “I think so. We’re getting a rhythm. Everybody is flowing. We just have to keep it up, continue to move the ball and run. We’re a running team. That’s what we’ve been doing the last two games. Running and making the easy plays, finding the open guy, rebounding and talking. I think the defense tonight was great on the two bigs. We just have to keep that up. Same momentum on to the next game.
(On the game): “(The Cavaliers) had the best two players on the floor. Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving are fantastic young players. They really took the game over from start to finish.”
(On the Cavaliers): “They are a talented team. They have a bunch of guys that can really score the basketball. I definitely think they’re going to turn the corner in the last half of the season.”
(On James Johnson): “(The Cavaliers) probably beat us by 15 if I don’t put James Johnson in at power forward. He goes and gets 10 or 12 straight. Otherwise, he doesn’t get aggressive and we get beat by 12 or 15 easy.
(On overtime): “We didn’t execute at the end. I only had one timeout left because of some other things in the third quarter when we had to call some timeouts. So, we did not get the play that we hoped. We turned the basketball over at the end of regulation so there shouldn’t have been overtime. That’s all there is to it.”
(On the game): “We got off to a slow start and Kyrie Irving got going early. Besides that, we did enough to stay in the ballgame and still had a chance to win it in overtime. We just had a couple of turnovers and in overtime we couldn’t get any stops.”
(On tonight’s game): “We have to give credit to the Cavaliers. The wanted it and they kept fighting for it.”
• After tonight’s 91-83 overtime victory over the Grizzlies, the Cavaliers are now 14-3 all-time against the Grizzlies at The Q, which includes an 8-1 mark over the last nine home games.
• Cleveland outscored Memphis 13-5 in the overtime period. In the extra frame, the Cavs shot 4-6 (.667) from the field whole holding the Grizzlies to 2-9 (.222) shooting. The Cavs improved to 5-2 in overtime contests this season. The last time the Cavs played seven overtime contests in a season was in 2006-07. The last time the Cavs won five overtime games in a season was 2005-06 (5-0). Cleveland’s five overtime wins this season are the most in the NBA.
• The Cavs held the Grizzlies to 33-86 (.384) shooting from the field, including 3-14 (.214) from the three-point line. Cleveland is 7-1 this season when they hold opponents to under .400 shooting from the field. The Cavs held the Grizzlies to 33 points on 14-40 (.350) shooting, including 0-5 (.000) from the three-point line in the first half. The 33 points in the half by Memphis ties the season-low by a Cavaliers opponent (11/15/13 vs. CHA, 12/7/13 vs. LAC).
• Cleveland shot 10-20 (.500) from the three-point line, which is the sixth time this season that the Cavs have shot at least .500 from the three-point line.
• Cleveland outscored Memphis off the bench 44-27. Cleveland’s reserves have scored at least 40 points 23 times this season, including in each of the past three games. Over the past three games, the reserves are averaging 53.7 points per game. On the season, the Cavs are averaging 37.2 points per game off the bench.
• Kyrie Irving finished with a game-high 28 points (14 in 1st Q) on 9-17 (.529) shooting, including 4-4 from the three-point line, five rebounds, a game-high tying six assists and one block in 40 minutes. Irving has topped 20 points in 11 of the last 13 games (since Jan. 15), averaging 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 36.1 minutes per game over that stretch. He is also shooting .913 (63-69) from the free throw line over the last 13 contests.
• Anderson Varejao posted a game-high 14 rebounds, to go along with four points, five assists and one block in 43 minutes. Varejao has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 16 of his last 21 contests (since Dec. 26), averaging 12.6 rebounds to go along with 10.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 32.4 minutes per game over that stretch.
• C.J. Miles scored in double figures for the fourth straight game after tallying 14 points, one steal and one block in 24 minutes off the bench. Over the past four contests, Miles is averaging 17.3 points on .523 (23-44) shooting from the field, including .423 (11-26) from beyond the arc, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 22.5 minutes per game.
• Dion Waiters registered 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in 38 minutes off the bench. Waiters is averaging 14.6 points in 28.6 minutes per game off the bench this season. Tonight was his 27th double figure scoring game as a reserve this season.