Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Hawks
(On playing with three guards for most of the game)
“We’ve done that quite a bit this year, playing with Dion (Waiters), (Jarrett) Jack and Kyrie (Irving), especially at the end of basketball games. It wasn’t anything new. Going into the game, if we felt it was the right combination which we have in the past, we felt we’d stay with it.”
(On tonight’s game)
“We had some good moments during the course of the game but it’s disappointing because we had plenty of opportunities to close the game at the end of regulation, at the end of the first overtime and even at the end of the second overtime. But you give Atlanta credit. They’re a good team. Mike Budenholzer is doing a great job with them. I just felt we made too many mistakes as a group down the stretch in regulation and overtime, offensively and defensively. We’ll go back and take a look at the film and hopefully we can correct them going forward.”
(On Dion Waiters returning to the lineup)
“Dion can definitely help us score. I said that before. We missed his scoring the last three games. We still don’t understand that we can win games by getting stops. That’s a big downfall of ours because you think you shoot 52 percent from the floor and you score 125 points in two overtimes, you think you’d have a chance to win if you decide to get some stops throughout the course of the game, especially at the end of the game. Again, Dion makes us more dynamic. He’s going to help us score. He’s going to help the second unit score. He’s going to help the first unit score when he’s out there with them but somehow someway we have to figure out that we can’t outscore everybody. Every once in a while, we got to bare down and get stops.”
(On the last play of the game)
“He just made a tough play. Me and Tristan switched, made him take a tough, contested two and just had to live with the results. He made a tough shot.”
(On how heartbreaking this loss is)
“It’s definitely heartbreaking, but we can take some positives away from the game. We competed. I had a costly turnover with 21 seconds left and that’s a negative thing. We probably turned the ball over a little bit too much throughout the game and that was probably our downfall.”
(On maintaining his aggressiveness)
“That’s when I feel like I’m at my best, when I’m staying aggressive. I do have the ability to dribble through double teams and I’m just trying to find my teammates. They were making a few shots. A few went down, a few didn’t. I think Tristan had his little mountie layup that he normally makes in the first OT that could have put us up by seven at the time. A few plays went their way, a few plays went our way and they just hit a tough shot. Give all the credit to the Atlanta Hawks.”
(On if he feels like they’re a few defensive stops away from winning games)
“Absolutely. When we go through film, you look at the time we score, we’re up five and we give up a wide open three. (Pero Antic) hit a wide open three (when) we were up five. I think there was a minute and something to go. (If) we get that stop, we come down and score, we’re up seven. It’s a possession game, especially in the last two minutes. Every possession matters. We just had a few breakdowns on the defensive end that cost us.”
(On Dion Waiters)
“He played his butt off tonight. He came in being aggressive, being his normal D-Waiters self. He competed on both ends.”
(On losing after laying it all on the line)
“It’s tough, especially that one right there. We could have put it away multiple times, it’s tough.”
(On the turnovers by the team)
“I have to take care of the ball. I was saying to my teammates, at times, instead of making a chest pass, I had to make a bounce pass. They got a couple of deflections. I had two travels I think. We have to do a better job taking care of the ball. That’s that. No excuses, but we have to do a better job taking care of the ball.”
(On if he feels like one got away)
“Of course. Especially when you lay it on the line like that. I’m sure everybody wants to win those types of games. We have to just close it out, especially at home. That’s tough, especially this one. It’s just tough.”
(On tonight’s game)
“Well, it was a heck of a basketball game. I think Cleveland and Kyrie Irving were pretty amazing and pretty special. I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win a game. (We) executed offensively down the stretch. A couple of guys came in and made some big plays. Pero Antić basically hadn’t played most of the game and comes in and contributes to the win. (There was) a lot of good stuff on both ends. It was really just a heck of a basketball game.”
(On his game-winner)
“I really just wanted to get the last shot of the quarter, but (Coach Budenholzer) gave me a couple of cracks at it. I just told Dennis (Schröder) if I get another chance, I’m going to make it. I just went for it.”
(On how this win feels)
“It feels good. To have a tough loss in Miami and to come here and have another tough game and to be able to pull it out, it was good to get a win.”
(On if he can sum up tonight’s win)
“I’m not sure I can sum it up. A lot of guys made some plays at the end; it’s always good to see. You don’t have to rely on one person over and over again. It’s good when you have that guy, but I think we’re just growing as a team. In Miami, we didn’t make all of those plays, tonight we did. It’s a positive step. We just have to keep on building it.”
- The Cavaliers scored 125 points on 49-94 (.521) shooting from the field. The 49 made field goals are a season-high. This is the third time this season that Cleveland has shot at least .500 from the field. Since Dec. 10, the Cavaliers are averaging 107.0 points per game.
- Cleveland outscored Atlanta 46-20 off the bench. Cleveland continues to have the highest scoring bench in the Eastern Conference averaging 40.2 points per game and has outscored the opponents reserves in 22 of 28 contests.
- Kyrie Irving tallied a game-high 40 points on 17-33 (.515) shooting, two rebounds, a team-high nine assists and a season-high tying four steals in 45 minutes. This is his fourth career 40-point game. With 16 total points in both overtimes tonight, Irving is now averaging 11.0 points in the extra frame, including 6-8 (.750) from the three-point line in four overtime games this season. Irving has topped 20 points in seven of the last nine games (since Dec. 7) with averages of 27.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 36.6 minutes over that stretch. Irving has also scored 20 or more points in each of the last seven home games (since Dec. 4), averaging 29.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 37.7 minutes per game over that stretch.
- Tristan Thompson recorded a season-high 22 points on 8-13 (.615) shooting, six rebounds and two blocks in 47 minutes. Over his last 12 contests (since Nov. 30), he is averaging a double-double with 14.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game.
- Dion Waiters finished with 20 points on 9-14 (.643) shooting, four rebounds and two assists in 42 minutes off the bench after missing the previous three games. Waiters has scored at least 20 points in seven of his last 11 games (Nov. 27-Dec. 26). Over that stretch he is averaging, 17.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 30.5 minutes per game. In 14 contests as a reserve this season, Waiters is averaging 16.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.
- Anderson Varejao recorded eight points and a season-high tying 17 rebounds (season-high tying 12 defensive) in 35 minutes off the bench. With 12 defensive rebounds tonight, Varejao now has 2,500 defensive rebounds for his career. He passed Larry Nance (2,494) for 6th place in defensive rebounds in franchise history.