Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies
(On the game): “Tony Allen was good. I thought Zach Randolph was great in the painted area even when he stepped out. You have to give Mike Conley credit for hitting some shots. The physicality not only helped them in the paint against us, but also on the perimeter. They caused us to turn the ball over at times. When we got out there, they just transitioned, so you have to give those guys credit for coming back and playing the right way in the second half.”
(On Zach Randolph’s performance): “I thought it was more that he (Zach Randolph) decided to establish himself. In the first half we were the ones who were more physical. We were the ones that were hitting first. Then in the second half he came out and he said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get the ball whether it’s in a post-up situation or off the glass. I’m going to get it, and I’m going to do what I do.’ He did it time after time after time, so you have to give him credit.”
(On the game): “I think they came out and did a good job of being physical. They really took us out of our step. Inside they did a great job of, again, being physical and duck-ins and offensive rebounds really hurt us.
“I think what happened was they started scoring more in the second half, which means you have to take it out of bounds. It slows the game down. We really couldn’t get out there as much as we like and I think that’s what helped us be successful in the first half. In the second half they were able to play half-court defense and really pressure us out of things.”
(On Marc Gasol’s performance): “He did a great job. Some of those meetings you have to congratulate him, and other meetings you have to do a better job of trying to keep it out of his hands. He’s a great player and he makes those moves against everybody. So we just have to make it a little harder next time.”
(On the upcoming games): “Tomorrow we have to get back at it, get focused on San Antonio. We do have a very tough stretch the whole month of March. We just have to be as prepared as possible and go out and do whatever we can to win it.”
(On the game): “Guys are going to make runs. They made their run. They had a hit first mentality going into that second half. They knew they were coming and they made their run and we made our run. A few mistakes here and there down the stretch. Just couldn’t withstand that, that one-two punch with Marc (Gasol) and Z-Bo (Zach Randolph). There are positives from it. We fought hard to the end with the exception of the last three minutes. We can live with the effort. Those third quarters we just came out real stagnant but we picked it up throughout the third quarter. Going into the fourth I thought we had some momentum. They were the better team tonight so you have to give it up to them.
“I feel like there are only a few teams that can really stay with us with the exception of just our shooters out on the wing. We have great runners including myself, (Jarrett) Jack, and Luol (Deng). It was a collective effort when we play the pace. It makes the game a lot easier for one another.”
(On the game): "There are a lot of times where coaches come out at shootaround and say, 'We're playing a great team tonight, and they're playing really well.' But look, Cleveland is good. And they came out and they made a lot of shots, they're playing really well right now. Kyrie Irving is the real deal, he is really good. We weren't great in the first half. I think this team is a very good team, Cleveland right now. They're well coached and they do a great job. For us to get the performances we got is tremendous. It's a game where, in our team and where we're built, Mike [Conley], Marc [Gasol] and Zach [Randolph], if they're rolling and we have two out of three we have a good chance. When we get all three guys cooking, that's fantastic. Courtney [Lee], Tayshaun [Prince], Tony [Allen] and Mike Miller can play off those guys. But it's got to be those three and I thought they really delivered the mail tonight. We made an adjustment at the pick-and-roll at halftime which worked out better than it did in the first half. Our defensive effort, energy and focus were a lot better in the second half. We were flying around; we were bodies on bodies, very physical and very aggressive. I think we did a good job at taking them out of their stuff. 31 points in the second half to a team that has, in the past couple of weeks, put 42 up on Oklahoma City in the 4th quarter and scored 60 points on the Utah Jazz the other night in the second half. I'm really proud of our guys tonight. I thought they played their tails off. Last night [at Oklahoma City], we didn't always play well, but we are playing extremely hard and together."
(On second-half defense): "It was the effort, energy and focus. [Cleveland] was drilling us in the pick-and-roll. We weren't playing hard enough. We were making one, two or three efforts. The energy picked up and we made multiple efforts and they didn't get a lot of second chances. Six times we got three stops in a row in the second half alone so I'm really happy about that."
(On Mike Conley): "He's struggled a little bit since he came back from the injury and from the All-Star break, so it was really nice to have him see a couple baskets go down. You kind of get a feeling for some guys that are struggling sometimes and think, 'Man, I just need to see one go in.' They [Cleveland] were playing loose in the pick-and-roll and he was having those shots. It was an opportunity for him to pick and choose his spots and when he wanted to take those shots. He was aggressive and took the shot and he was aggressive in throwing the ball to Marc Gasol in the pocket. Marc was very aggressive and decisive. So then, all of a sudden Courtney Lee's man run offs him and bing, bing we get those guys open on the second side. If you got a shot, you got to take it and put pressure on the defense. The defense will tell you who is open."
(On lineup development): "You could look and see Mike Miller didn't play in the second half tonight. He's been a big part of what we've done all season long and hanging in there. Then last night, he basically puts us on his shoulders and almost single-handedly wins the game for us. For me to not give him a minute, I just thought we had the match-ups that we wanted. We were starting to run downhill, which was the exact same thing which happened in Oklahoma City last night. Not very often are you going to see a time when Mike Conley doesn't finish a game, or Zach Randolph doesn't finish a game. That group kind of brought us back and I thought that was the best thing to do. Last night they had played well and I thought that group played tremendous against the Lakers as well. I wanted to give those guys an opportunity, because they brought us all the way back from 17 [points] down. That was what it was last night. And tonight it was what it was. I put Tony Allen on Kyrie Irving and gave him some fits. Moving our matchups around, I thought Tayshaun [Prince] did a really good job on Luon Deng. We've got a bunch of pros and they cheered for each other. They didn't put their heads down at halftime, they encouraged each other. Mentally we're in a really good place right now."
(On creating success through M ike C., Marc and Zach): "We've had such a strange dynamic all year with Marc [Gasol] being out. We've changed styles of play, delicately, three different times this year. He's [Marc Gasol] assertive and takes what the defense gives you, and doesn’t over-think it. I think the last two nights he has been tremendous. He's such a great passer and we all need and love that, but he's just so much more. It's why I talked to Mike Conley before the season about trying to be a scorer for us because it's going to make his [Gasol’s] facilitation much easier. It expounds what he can do passing-wise, because he's such a threat to score. With Marc being assertive, it says 'You better come and get me or I'm going to score this.' Boom. All of a sudden that is when the ball starts moving and you start creating closeouts. In the second half we got in attack mode and started moving it and playing off the pass. All that happens, Zach gets to post it without nine guys around him. Bang, bang, bang then there's Zach and you better not forget about Zach."
(On the second half): “We played better pick-and-roll defense, instead of showing and trying to stop the ball. We did a good job in the first half of sleeping on the pick-and-rolls and the refindng Spencer (Hawes) on the roll. He was making plays for everybody. In the second half, I stayed more connected to him and Tony (Allen) did a great job on Kyrie (Irving).”
(On Zach Randolph’s offense): “Sometimes it’s just him getting himself going. He is so hard to stop sometimes it doesn’t matter what they do. Sometimes it’s just Zach being Zach.”
(On the third quarter): “Everybody played good basketball. Everybody shared the basketball. We made the basketball play. It’s not about who scores, it’s how we play as a team. I thought defensively we were more connected. Everybody was on the same page. Through the whole second half, that was the key, everybody rotated, everybody moved at the same time. That really gives the first two guys a lot of confidence. People behind them have their backs.”
(On second half): “When we make it a point of emphasis that we are a defensive team, that’s where we hang our hats. I think the ball game was always in our favor. Guys responded to Coach coming in here and critiquing everything we were doing wrong in the first half. We just had a lot of carry over to the things we were doing wrong and we responded in the third quarter.”
(On the Cavaliers’ pick-and-roll): "They were killing us on the pick-and-roll. Coach came in and told us about the coverage we were doing. Pretty much, they were just out working us. Once we got in tune with what they were doing, we were able to execute defensively.”
(On the third quarter): "When Marc Gasol, Z-BO (Zach Randolph) and Mike (Conley) are making shots and playing together on the defensive end, I like our odds. We are just a team that is going to go out there and take it one game at a time. Today, we were able to do that.”
(On his rhythm): "I don’t have anything to lose. I am coming off of the bench. I am just coming out there and trying to be a spark the best way I can. I am trying to do it within the offense.”
“I just take what the defense is giving me. I just play hard. All I can do is stick to what I have been doing and that’s holding my hat on the defensive end. Any offensive opportunities come, I can’t turn them down. I don’t get that many. I just take advantage of them when I can.”