Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Hawks
(On the game tonight): “I think the biggest thing is that we talked before the game about just having fun. Let’s go out there and have fun guys and just play hard. Let’s see what happens. Play hard, play together and play smart. If we can do those three things, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity to win. I thought obviously we did all three of those things. We had a couple of lows in the third quarter. We didn’t come out the right way, but we were able to gather ourselves and get right back into it. For the most part, I thought our guys enjoyed just competing and playing hard. I thought they were having fun tonight.”
(On holding on to the lead tonight): “We’re just gaining a little bit more experience, being in that situation a little bit more and just learning from the past. I think when it was five minutes left in the game, I pulled Kyrie to the side and I said, ‘now this is the point in time where great players have to take over but you have to play smart. You have to get us a good shot every time.’ We did a good job of doing that. We made some big shots, and defensively, we just did a great job from the second quarter on. I didn’t think we started the game well defensively but they were trying to take advantage of our size and go to the post.”
(On Kyrie’s third quarter): “He was aggressive. I didn’t think he was out of control. I didn’t think he took any bad shots. I thought he really let the offense kind of come to him. He would start the offense and we always tried to get the ball back in his hands with a live dribble, so he’s able to make plays that way. Tonight, he was able to get where he wanted to on the floor, just under control and made shots. He was shooting the three well. His in-between game was good and he was able to get to the basket. I think he had all facets going. I just like the fact that he didn’t look like he was ever out of control. He stayed within the moment and just kind of played basketball, looked for his teammates and made the correct plays.”
(On if the team was trying to win the game for Anderson Varejao): “Absolutely. We all had to step up for Andy and we’re all aware that he’ll be missed. We look at it as an opportunity for different guys on the team.”
(On becoming more of a verbal leader): “I’ve been figuring that out over the last few weeks. I’m just trying to become a verbal leader on both ends of the floor and am trying to be a complete player. That’s what coach wants out of me and I’m just trying to do that every day.”
(On moving on without Anderson Varejao): “We just have to move forward. Andy’s production, effort and overall morale will truly be missed, but we just have to move forward and it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”
(On his fourth quarter play tonight): “We came out flat in the third quarter, but I was just trying to show our guys that you have to play the full 48 minutes, especially when the other team tries to ramp it up.”
(On settling in with the team): “I think the guys are getting better. We have a young group of guys who are learning how to play. My strength and what I bring to the table is my IQ and knowing the game; I’m trying to make plays for guys and I think the chemistry is starting to bond.”
(On what it means to have a coach who believes in him): “That’s the key, from a confidence standpoint. As a player, just to have your coach, team and organization believe in you and what you bring to the table helps you to go on the court and make it happen.”
(On his ability to survey the game): “That just comes from, like anything else, experience. The more you do something, the more it becomes a habit. I’ve seen a lot of plays, so I’m just trying to bring a calmness to help other guys recognize them as well.”
Hawks Head Coach Larry Drew
(On tonight’s game): “I felt WHAT would be extremely important tonight was our ability to contain the dribble. Cleveland has two or three guys that are really good off the dribble. I felt if we did a decent job in containing the dribble, it could possibly put us in a pretty good position. They were a team that really broke us down off the dribble.”
(On the Cavaliers’ performance): “Kyrie Irving had a big game. He got to the basket and made shots. It seemed like every time we tried to close the deficit or we were right there, they came up with some timely shots. Gee made some shots the first half from the three-point line and they got into a rhythm at the three-point line.”
(On the Hawks’ execution): “We did not do a good enough job from the execution stand point, therefore we settled for jump shots time and time again. We only got to the free throw line five times for the game and you can’t play like that on the road.”
(On the Cavaliers’): “They were having a good stretch. They had, I think, 31 points in the third and just playing kind of comfortably out there.”
(On Kyrie’s night): “The way he was shooting the ball it was kind of hard to defend him.”
(On the team’s effort): “I think we just spent too much time trying to fight back. I don’t think it has to do with, anything we are doing wrong. I just think that the energy and the effort is not all there.”
(On the loss): “I think from early on in the game we started with hot shooting. We had it going but then we cooled off and then they kept shooting the ball well.”
• The Cavaliers picked up their second win over the Hawks this season and have won 12 out of the last 17 contests against Atlanta at The Q.
• The Cavs shot 12-23 (.522) from the three-point line tonight. Cleveland has connected on at least 10 three-pointers nine times this season and is shooting 33-76 (.434) from beyond the arc over their last four games.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a game-high 33 points (18 in the third quarter) on 11-15 (.733) shooting from the field, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes of action. He also shot 5-6 (.833) from behind the arc. Irving has scored at least 30 points in three of his last four games and is averaging 27.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.8 steals in 35.3 minutes per game over that stretch.
• Alonzo Gee finished with 15 points, including shooting 5-9 (.555) from behind the three-point line, six rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. Gee has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 12 games and is averaging 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.3 minutes per game during that span.
• Tristan Thompson tallied his eighth double-double in 11 games (13th this season) with 11 points, a game-high 14 rebounds (six offensive), two assists, two steals and one block in 34 minutes. Thompson is averaging 13.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 35.8 minutes over that stretch.
• Tyler Zeller recorded his third career double-double with 11 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes, and is averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 block in 33.2 minutes per game in three career contests with the Hawks.