Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Knicks
(On the game tonight): “I was pretty happy with our effort. I thought we played hard and had open shots that we just couldn’t knock down. That’s what that team does. They make shots and they make them in bunches.”
(On Smith and Anthony’s performance): “Both of those guys are just playing great basketball and making shots. J.R. tonight was fantastic at just creating space for himself and just hitting everything that he shot from 17 to 25 feet.”
(On tonight’s defensive performance): “I thought it was okay. I thought we got more open shots than they did. I thought our defense was okay as far as challenging shots. They just have two guys that are very special. I thought Jason Kidd hit two big ones that really hurt us. Carmelo got a couple offensive rebounds off the miss that I thought really hurt us when we had a little momentum and those are momentum killers.”
(On the Knicks defense): “The one thing they do defensively is they strip. They come from the weak side. Guys are being back and they just go after the ball. They do a good job of causing turnovers. Then offensively, they do a great job of not turning the ball over.”
(On double teaming Tristan): “I didn’t think they would double him. When they did come after him, I thought he did a decent job of getting rid of the ball at times. Other times, I thought he did a pretty good job of attacking. The one thing we told him early was, ‘When the other dude comes, you got to go quick.’ He went quick a couple of times, but more times than not, they did a good job of doubling and getting it out of his hands.”
(On how tough the Knicks are when they shoot the ball well): “They’re one of the toughest teams in the league. We were able to contest some shots and they were still making them. With a team like that, when they go five guards deep, they mess with our rotations. They did that a little bit tonight. We were contesting most of their shots, but they made some tough ones.”
(On if he was trying to put the team on his back tonight): “I just tried to come out aggressive. My shot felt good in the beginning and I felt like I got some good looks out there. Some of them fell, some of them didn’t.”
(On the team’s second quarter struggles): “I think our pace slowed down a little bit, I take responsibility for that. Coming out, we wanted to make an emphasis on pushing the ball and be more aggressive. I felt like some of the opportunities as a team we didn’t exploit. Going forward, we have to pay attention to our game plan. We wanted to push it. They’re last in the league in transition defense and we wanted to push it. The opportunities were there, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
(On the Knicks performance tonight): “They’re very good. J.R. Smith didn’t miss many and you have to tip your hat to them. They made some great shots and, unfortunately, we had a hard time making shots a little bit more difficult for them. They shot the ball very well.”
(On why it was difficult for the team to score in the second quarter): “When you shoot well like that in the first quarter, obviously you’re not going to be able to sustain it the whole game. We tried to do the same thing in the second quarter. We have to continue to get better; continue to grow the last three games of the season to prepare for next year.”
Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson
(On getting a big lead to rest his players): “It was great. Nobody really played big minutes, especially our two key guys. So it was good that we could rest them and still win a game.”
(On his team’s play on the second night of a back-to-back): “We had energy. I was concerned about how our energy level would be. We came out with energy and sustained it throughout the game and everybody that played contributed, so it was a good win.”
(On J.R Smith making his last 12 field goal attempts): “I didn’t realize that. He shot a high percentage tonight. He was 13-16 from the field. He’s been solid all year. I mean, what can you say? In this run, he’s really played at high level. He just has to continue to do that in terms of his play and everybody else has got to do their part. This is a total team and we have to play like a team.”
(On the importance of getting the No.2 seed): “It’s very important…We’ve proven this year that we can win on the road so I feel good about that. Then again, it always helps to have home court advantage and we’ll have it in the first round. If we’re able to secure it, we’ll have it in the second round. That goes a long way when you’re trying to get into the Eastern Conference Finals.”
(On getting off to a fast start): “That was our intention, especially after last night. Guys being fatigued and tired, we had to push ourselves, get some momentum and get some energy from somewhere. We just tried to get the game over with quickly.”
(On the importance of the next game against Indiana): “That’s our next game. That’s on the radar. That’s our goal to win that next basketball game. We’ve been waiting on this for a long time. We knew it would probably come down to this, so we definitely want to win this basketball game…It’s important for us to get that second seed and have home court in the first round and hopefully in the second round, we do what we have to do. That’s big. That gives us the opportunity to look forward to something, so we want to clinch that second spot.”
(On resting in the fourth quarter): “I wanted to come out in the third quarter and give us a big lead but J.R. (Smith), for the whole night, when he came in was spectacular. He only missed three shots out of the game tonight. You can’t ask for anything better than that. I needed him to do that. Everybody contributed to that, but for him to have it going the way he did in the fourth gave some guys a chance to sit down and get some rest.”
• The Cavaliers pulled down 16 offensive rebounds. Cleveland has grabbed at least 15 offensive boards 23 times this season.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a game-high tying31 points, five rebounds, a game-high six assists and one steal in 36 minutes. Irving has scored at least 20 points in his three meetings against the Knicks this season and averaged 31.3 points, including shooting .435 (10-23) from behind the arc, 5.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.0 steal in 37.3 minutes per game over that span.
• Tristan Thompson tallied his 29th double-double of the season (38th career) with 15 points on 6-7 (.857) shooting from the field and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. Thompson averaged 13.0 points on .810 (17-21) shooting and 7.7 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game in three contests against New York this season.
• Alonzo Gee contributed 12 points, six rebounds and one block in 35 minutes. Gee averaged 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 35.3 minutes per game this season against the Knicks.
• Wayne Ellington finished with 13 points, three rebounds, a career-high tying five assists and a career-high tying three steals in 38 minutes. In 14 starts with the Cavs, Ellington has scored in double figures nine times and is averaging 11.5 points, including shooting .900 (18-20) from the foul line, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 32.5 minutes per game during that stretch.