Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Knicks
(On the game tonight): “I thought the first 24 minutes of the ball game, we didn’t do a good job in the competing from a sense of urgency and effort standpoint. I thought they got a ton of offensive rebounds and 50-50 balls that we could have gotten to. I thought our defense wasn’t good in the first half. I thought our floor balance was not good. In transition defense, I thought they were able to get out, whether it was off a turnover or somebody penetrating. When the shot went up, they hand numbers. It seemed like every time we looked up the floor, they were in transition getting easy shots.”
(On playing better in the second half): “We adjusted at halftime. I thought in the second half we came out and we did a better job defensively. We did a better job trying to protect one another. We did a better job on the glass defensively and it resulted in them taking some tough shots. Obviously in the second half, they hit more shots than we did and that was the difference in the game. We’re fighting for our lives. This team was a game behind us and I just feel like we didn’t come out with the right mindset to compete with this team for that eighth spot.”
(On the team’s lack of urgency): “It’s a product of some of the guys possibly never being in this position before and understanding the importance of every game when we step on the floor. There was a period where we were doing that very well. I thought tonight we did not do a good job of it. I thought last night we were better in terms of being more consistent on both sides of the floor but obviously we didn’t get enough done to get the W. Tonight in the first half, I was just disappointed in the way that we played, especially defensively in terms of the physicality, sense of urgency and understanding what we need to do on that end of the floor.”
(On Anderson Varejao): “I thought Andy was good. It was great for him to get out there and get a sweat going. Obviously, his minutes were limited. The short amount of time he was out there, I thought he was very good.”
(On how he felt back out on the floor): “Pretty good. It was my first practice in a month with contact, so it was pretty good.”
(On the team’s inability to close out games): “We have to play hard for a full 48 minutes. We were having a lot of ups and downs, especially on defense. (Opponents) aren’t allowing us to win those games, so we have to get better at that.”
(On making a late playoff push): “We have 18 more games. It’s up to us; if we compete the right way and we play the right way, we have a chance. I still believe it.”
(On what it was like to see Zydrunas Ilgauskas get his jersey retired): “It was great. (Zydrunas) is like a brother to me. When I got to Cleveland, he took care of me and took me under his wing. Back then he was like my dad and now he’s more like my brother. It was great and I’m very happy for him, for his family and I know how much he loves Cleveland and what they did for him tonight was special.”
(On what changed in the fourth quarter): “We just had some moments on our defensive coverage where we weren’t in sync. We got open looks at the basket and I thought we did a good job of moving the ball for the most part in the second half. (The Knicks) killed us with second chance opportunities. I think that’s where they were able to create separation.”
(On playing with many playoff inexperienced players): “You might not realize how vital each and every possession is. One slip up from this person, or that person; it adds up. It can kind of put you in a hole and you have to fight like we did for the majority of this game. It might just be one mistake, but if you make that mistake by six guys, that can compound what you’re trying to do. We try to limit (mistakes) and want to be as secure as we can in our defensive coverage and our offense.”
(On the game): “Our backs are against the wall right now, so there’s no room for error. We have to play each possession like it’s our last. I thought that’s how we approached the game tonight.”
(On the importance of bench play): “I’ve said it ever since I’ve been here as a coach. Our second unit is just as important as the guys that start.”
(On Amar’e Stoudemire): “He’s been solid. His defense has been really good the last three games. He had three or four blocks tonight and he’s rebounding and scoring. We just have to monitor his minutes and make sure that he’s fresh and ready to go.”
(On the extended halftime): “I was concerned about that. Speaking of that, I want to send a shout out to big Zydrunas Ilgauskas. I coached him in my early days. He’s a true pro, so it could not have happened to a better guy. We were just laying around in the locker room and I thought that slowed us a down. We couldn’t do anything about that, but the bottom line is we finished the game and got the job done.”
(On the game): “Everybody stepped up big. Offensively and defensively, everybody played their part and did what they had to do. It seems like everybody is starting to play their game and play with confidence at this point.”
(On the playoff race): “We control our own destiny. We want to win as many games as we can coming down this stretch and let the other teams worry about what they have to do.”
(On the extended halftime): “It was good for me. I got some rest at halftime and got a chance to lay down and stretch out a little bit and let Z do his thing out there. I’m happy for him, but he took some time up. I appreciate him for that.”
• Cleveland outscored New York 42-28 in points in the paint and shot 16-18 (.889) from the free throw line. The Cavs have shot at least .800 from the free throw line 21 times this season. Over the last 11 games, the Cavs are shooting combined .810 (209-258) from the free throw line.
• Kyrie Irving had a solid all-around game with a game-high 30 points, eight rebounds, a game-high eight assists and two steals in 43 minutes. He scored 30-plus points for the ninth time this season. Irving has scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven games. Over the last seven games, he is averaging 24.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 2.1 steals in 40.7 minutes per game. Irving has also scored at least 21 points in each of his last eight contests against New York.
• Spencer Hawes posted his 23rd double-double of the season (fourth with Cavs) with 21 points, including 4-7 (.571) shooting from the three-point line, a team-high 10 rebounds, three assists and a game-high tying three blocks in 36 minutes. Hawes has scored in double figures in eight straight games. In nine games with the Cavs, Hawes is averaging 15.2 points, including .526 (20-38) from the three-point line, 9.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 33.1 minutes per game.
• Jarrett Jack notched 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Jack finished in double figures in scoring for the 27th time this season.