Game Quotes: Cavs vs. Jazz
(On the game tonight): “Tonight, I thought the last 15 minutes is when we started playing. I thought we were just going through the motions for a while. Even late in the third quarter when I told them ‘We have 15 minutes to start playing because right now you’re showing no interest in this game, and I’m hoping that we have enough time.’ Then they started playing. We got lucky and that was a gift basically. I told them after the game that we can’t come out and play like that and expect to come back and win a basketball game. We have to play with that intensity level for 48 minutes. We can’t try to turn it on and off.”
(On his team’s fourth quarter comeback): “Like I said, the last 15 minutes we started playing and we got much more aggressive on the defensive end. We held them on the offensive rebounds, we made some shots, we started attacking more and our energy level for some reason went sky high the last 15 minutes of the game. We just started getting into them and playing a little bit more physical. We gave ourselves an opportunity and we got the big steal with Wayne (Ellington) getting the dunk (towards the end of the game).”
(On the defense of Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Gee down the stretch): “We’ve been saying all along that (Kyrie) is going to continue to grow on that end. I thought tonight was a big step. I thought last game he played good defense. I thought tonight he picked and chose at the beginning of the game in the first three quarters, but the last quarter he was up, he was pressuring people and he was getting his hands on the ball. He never stopped pursuing the ball. I don’t think (our defense) started with him. I thought it started with Zo (Alonzo) when we took that time out and I said my little speech. They came back out and Zo was the one that started picking it up full-court. He started doing all of the pressuring and everybody else started to follow right in.”
(On Wayne Ellington’s play tonight): “Wayne was good. He’s solid. That’s the thing about Wayne. I trust him when he’s out there because I know he’s going to do all the right things…He’s just a solid basketball player. He’s not going to take bad shots. He’s not going to do things he’s not capable of doing. He plays within himself and he competes. He’s not afraid of the moment.”
(On if he was personally trying to jumpstart the team in the fourth quarter): “It’s my job coming off the bench to bring the spark and bring the energy and knock down shots. Guys look for me a little bit now to get rolling.”
(On if wins like this help ease the pain of former losses): “The basketball gods looked out for us tonight. We’ve definitely had some tough breaks; tonight we got one. In transition, I got a good look at the basket and saw (Mo Williams’) shot roll out and we got the big defensive rebound. Guys made big plays down the stretch. We just have to continue to play hard and as long as we give ourselves a chance to win, plays like that are going to happen.”
(On if the team got a lucky win): “We were fortunate that Mo Williams missed that layup. One thing that I can say is that we fought to the end and got stops when we needed them.”
(On what changed in the last two minutes of the game): “Shots started to fall. I shot like crap tonight, but my teammates held it down on the offensive end. I was just trying to stay locked in defensively; be on my man and get the stops that we needed.”
(On what kicked in for the team in the fourth quarter): “Trust and feeling the intensity of the game. The coaches challenged us before the game and we let our offense take care of itself. Our defense led out to a couple of transition baskets. C.J. (Miles) played a hell of a game, especially in the fourth quarter. He hit some big shots. We were just trying to make (Utah) miss and in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. We got a couple of steals and transition baskets and that sealed the game for us.”
Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin
(On the Williams missed lay-up): “He went to the basketball and had a good shot but it rolled out. It was heart breaking. He had a good look.
(On how to keep positive after the recent losses): “We have to keep playing hard. If we do anything other than that we will struggle. We have to make smarter decisions and close ballgames….We need to make sure we understand the sense of urgency when we execute.”
(On Irving’s performance): “The way he was coming off the pick-and-roll, he got in the lane and made a couple of floater shots. The guy’s a good point guard and he’s going to continue to get better.”
(On getting back on the court): “I felt okay. It’s going to take a few games to get my rhythm back. I thought for the first game back in a long time, I played okay.”
(On his missed lay-up): “I’ve never seen a lay-up come out like that. I haven’t seen the reply but that was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a lay-up even (while) practicing. I’ve shot a trillion lay-ups in my life but I’ve never missed one like that how it went in and came out.”
(On Irving’s performance): “Kyrie is Kyrie. He’s a hell of a basketball player. He’s one the better point guards in the league. He’s up there with the elite. I’m a fan of Kyrie. It’s fun to see his growth in this league. He is going to be special…His potential is astronomical.”
• With tonight’s win, the Cavaliers improve to 7-2 in their last nine matchups against the Jazz at The Q. With the Jazz leading 100-92 with 3:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 12-1 run to end the game. Cleveland trailed by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter.
• Cleveland recorded 23 assists and just 12 turnovers tonight. Since February 2nd, the Cavs are averaging 23.6 assists to just 12.0 miscues.
• The Cavaliers shot .438 (.7-16) from beyond the arc tonight and have shot at least .400 from long range 23 times this season.
• Cleveland blocked a season-high 12 blocks tonight. The last time the Cavaliers had at least 12 blocks was November 16, 2007 vs. Utah when Cleveland also blocked 12 shots.
• Kyrie Irving recorded his third double-double of the season (4th of career) with 20 points, a season-high seven rebounds, a game-high 10 assists, two steals and one block in 38 minutes. Over his last 25 contests, Irving is averaging 23.7 points, including .452 from the three-point line and .893 from the foul line, 3.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.0 steals in 35.1 minutes per game during that stretch.
• Tristan Thompson tallied his 21st double-double of the season with 16 points on 6-12 (.500) shooting from the field, 12 rebounds and a season-high tying three blocks in 31 minutes. Over his last 35 games, Thompson recorded 16 double-doubles and is averaging 13.7 points on .500 shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 block in 32.8 minutes per game over that span.
• In his second start as a Cavalier, Wayne Ellington notched 16 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes. Ellington has scored in double figures in 10 of 18 contests as a Cavalier and is averaging 9.8 points, including connecting on 27-66 (.409) three-pointers, and 2.6 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game during that stretch.
• Alonzo Gee finished with 15 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes tonight. Over his last two games, Gee is averaging 12.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.
• Marreese Speights recorded a near double-double with 14 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting and seven rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Speights has scored in double figures in 14 of 18 contests as a Cavalier and is averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game during that span.
• C.J. Miles added 12 points (all in the fourth quarter) on 4-7 (.571) shooting from the field, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 18 minutes off the bench. Miles has scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games as a Cavalier and is averaging 12.4 points, including shooting .438 (21-48) from long range, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 19.9 minutes per game over that stretch.