Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Nets
(On tonight’s game): “It was a gritty, grimy, ugly game, just how I like it and it was fun. I think our guys enjoyed it. I’m sure Brooklyn feels that they didn’t play their best. I know we didn’t play our best, but the one thing I expressed to our guys is offensively there were times it looked like we were going to be juggernauts at that end of the floor like we can average over 105 points per game. But then there were times when it looked like we’d be lucky to get to 82. So because of our defense, that allowed us to get the win. I thought our guys stayed after it.”
(On his team’s defense and rebounding): “The big thing that was consistent was our ability to defend and to rebound. (Brooklyn) is a big team. That’s an experienced team. They shot 40 percent from the floor and had nine offense rebounds. That’s pretty good. That’s a great job by all of our guys, collectively, because if you look down the line, we had a lot of guys in the rebounding area. For Kyrie (Irving) as point guard to come up with seven (rebounds), that’s huge. Earl’s offensive rebound late in the game was a big offensive rebound. We were pretty stagnant, hadn’t scored in a while, and missed a couple of free throws at that time. He comes up with an offensive rebound and he makes one, gives us a little confidence and we’re back up again and we’re feeling good. I can’t say enough about the guys. They bought in. They’re starting to have an understanding of what it takes to win in this league but we’ve got a long way to go. We need to feel good about this, but after tonight we’ve got to put our hard hats back on and get back to work tomorrow.”
(On Andrew Bynum): “I thought he was good. He kept asking me ‘Coach, I can give you three more minutes here’. He looked good. You can tell we’re a different team when he’s out there. The ironic part is I coached him for a year in L.A. and he still has room to grow. You guys only saw a taste of what he can bring to the table for our team. It was exciting to see him out there, not only for myself but for all the coaches, players and fans.”
(On how he feels after the game): “I feel good right now. I’m going to have to see how I feel tomorrow, but at the moment I feel fine. The team is going to be very cautious; I’m going to be very cautious. We want to make (my health) continue to rise and get better. At the end of the day, I think we played pretty well out there.”
(On if it was a hurdle at all mentally to get back on the floor): “Today was just a general base. I felt really good and ran the fastest I have down the court.”
(On if he had any hesitation while on the court): “My timing is off right now, but that’s to be expected. I feel like it’s going to come back, the more practice I have and the more time I play.”
(On when he knew he was going to play tonight): “I’ve been here in Cleveland the last three months just working hard and I wanted to play today. I just wanted to get back and be with the guys.”
(On if he felt the team reached a different level when he stepped onto the floor): “The crowd had a huge part to play in that. When I got onto the court, that was a great ovation; it gave me energy and the entire team was able to feed off of it, make plays and got some defensive stands.”
(On Bynum playing tonight): “He’s been working very diligently to get back to be able to play a game. We were going to let him take his time. We know there was enough swirling around him as far as speculation to play and he hasn’t played in over a year. We were just kind of letting him take his time, let him settle in. We didn’t want to put pressure on top of pressure. I thought he came in, provided us with a physical presences down low on the defensive end as well as the offensive end and I thought it was a great first effort.”
(On the difference the defense made tonight) “It made all the difference. Our offense wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t anything to write home about tomorrow. Our effort on the opposite end of the floor gave us opportunities to extend the lead when we had it or allow us to get back into the ballgame.”
(On the atmosphere in the arena): “It was tremendous. The fans were an incredible sixth man for us. I thought the guys really gave them something to cheer about. We had lulls at time when our offense didn’t flow and we didn’t take advantage of some opportunities, but our fans stuck right there with us. We didn’t let our level of play fall by the wayside either.”
(On issues of tonight’s game): “That’s the way the game is, it’s a game of runs. Going back to the first half, I thought their bench did a really solid job of coming in and changing the tempo and pace of the game for them. Ironically, in the second half, their starters kind of made that run so we took the timeout and made the run at them and a lot of it comes down to that it was the first game of the season and people are still getting comfortable with each other but that’s the game of basketball, people are going to make runs like that…The game has a flow to it, so we, as a staff, made adjustments with the foul troubles that happened. Every game there is going to be something that makes you change what you’re doing and you just need to be prepared for it, so fortunately we were.”
(On Deron William not playing the fourth quarter): “He’s fine. We are keeping an eye on his minutes, just for keeping track.”
(On Andy hitting shots and the Cavs performance): “Give them credit. Give their whole team credit. A lot of plays were made, Andy made some, Earl Clark hit a late shot, Andy hits the late shot, Dion hits a tough shot off the dribble, Kyrie is Kyrie. I thought Jarrett Jack was great for them tonight, especially in the first half. Give all of them credit, it was a team win for them.”
(On tonight’s game): “It was a tough one for us. Obviously we got off to a pretty good start, but other than that we seemed a little out of sync at times. The start of the third quarter hurt us and it was an uphill battle pretty much going into the fourth. We got back in the game and I think we even took the lead but they made a lot of tough shots with the clock winding down. They fought hard.”
(On the third quarter as a team): “We’ll get it together, it was the first game. Third quarter hurt us a lot last year and it definitely hurt us tonight. There’s no excuse why we lost the game. We still fought back and took the lead but there were a couple tough calls there at the end.”
(On being out with the starting lineup): “It was alright. We looked good at times but then we looked a little out of sync at times. Maybe being a little too unselfish at times when we just should have made plays.”
(On tonight’s game): “You can play great defense for twenty seconds, but then the last four seconds they get off a shot. They’re probably about 80% in that type of situation. Point in case was that last ball, Kyrie was dribbling and dribbling, ball ends up in Varejao’s hands and he gets a big shot. Give them credit. They came out at home and played with great energy and enthusiasm. Every time we made a run, they would answer the run. So, for game one we still have a lot of work to do, but it starts on the defensive end.
• The Cavaliers opened the season with a 98-94 victory over the Nets. With 28.1 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Anderson Varejao hit the go-ahead basket to put the Cavaliers in front 93-91.
• Cleveland had six players finish in double figures: Thompson (18), Irving (15), Jack (12), Waiters (11), Varejao (11) and Miles (10).
• The Cavs outrebounded the Nets 48-37 including a 16-9 margin on the offensive glass. Four players had at least seven rebounds: Thompson (9), Varejao (8), Clark (8) and Irving (7).
• Kyrie Irving had a solid all-around game as he finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, a game-high tying nine assists and two steals in 31 minutes.
• Tristan Thompson posted a near double-double with a team-high 18 points on 8-13 (.615) shooting, a team-high nine rebounds in 35 minutes.
• In his Cavaliers debut, Jarrett Jack recorded 12 points on 3-6 (.500) shooting, three rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
• Anderson Varejao tallied a near double-double with 11 points on 5-9 (.556) shooting, eight rebounds, three assists and one block in 35 minutes. Seven of his 11 points came in the 4th quarter.