Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Nuggets
(On the Cavs bigs): “That’s a really good team in the other locker room. They’ve been playing some good basketball. We got a lot of good performances from a lot of different guys. I thought our bigs were really good. Andrew (Bynum) was great at getting deep post position. As the game went along, he became more effective scoring the basketball but he got deep post position the whole game. We did a great job of trying to get him the basketball. I thought Anderson’s 13 (rebounds) and 18 (points) was phenomenal. One of the things I’ve been talking to Andy about is scoring, especially around the hoop. He’s got all the trick shots and hook shots, stuff like that. I thought early in the season, he was trying to make too many home run passes around the basket, finding his teammates. But tonight, he made some great plays offensively around the basket and the 13 rebounds was spectacular. You couple that with Tristan’s effort of 21 rebounds and 17 points. To get 34 rebounds between two guys is an absolute amazing night for our bigs. They were monsters tonight. They were monsters on the pick-and-roll. They were monsters on the glass. They were monsters around the rim. That type of effort was awesome. It was awesome to watch.”
(On limiting the turnovers and defense): “I thought as a club, we did a nice job of keeping our turnovers down. One of things that we talked about was Denver’s ability to get out and run. They’re one of the best in the league at it, and one of the ways that they can thrive in transition is if we turn the ball over. For us to have 13 turnovers is a pretty good night, especially the nine points off the 13 turnovers. So our guys took note of our game plan. They understood how important it was to get back in transition, and we tried to limit them in that area. Again, I said this before, Denver is averaging 100-something points a game and they’re shooting a pretty high percentage. For us to have them at the end of the game score 88 points and shoot 39 percent from the field is a pretty good night defensively. That’s where our strength is.”
(On holding on to the lead throughout the game): “It was really encouraging because if you think about it, while we’re going through all of this, we’re learning how to win. We’re trying to figure ourselves out, and while we’re doing that we’re trying to figure out what does it mean to win. How do you win in the NBA against other players and other teams that have won? It’s tough. It’s not easy but our guys have been great. Whether we lose or we win, they come in the next day and sit through the 45-minute or an hour film session and then they get to work. You can’t ask for anything more than that right now.”
(On if he’s beginning to feel what needs to be done to get wins): “Absolutely. How you start the game is how you finish it and we came out aggressive on both ends of the floor. That’s what Coach Brown has been preaching and it’s paying dividends. It starts in practice and the way we practice is carrying over to games, so it feels good.”
(On Andrew Bynum setting the physical tone for tonight’s game): “When we were throwing it down to the big fella, we were giving him touches and he was missing some of the easy ones, but that happens within a game. In the second half, he came out and continued with the physical play and once we have an inside presence, it kind of opens up our perimeter game that much more. Big credit to Tristan (Thompson), Andrew and Anderson (Varejao) for opening up that lane.”
(On how good Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao were tonight): “They were great, they were great for us. Tristan throughout the game grabbed rebounds that just fell into his lap and also some rebounds that he was fighting his butt off for. That’s what we need from him every night and that’s what he’s been doing. He almost had a 20-20 game and I was fighting Coach Brown to call his play a few more times to give him that, but he was fighting and that’s what we need from him every single night.”
(On if he was trying to play a little bit harder tonight): “No, it’s just our role as bigs. We’ve got to come out there every night and rebound, defend and play hard. The type of team we played tonight gets up and down, so there’s a lot of shots. My teammates boxed out and the bigs went to go get it.”
(On if Kenneth Faried brings something extra out of him): “There’s a lot of good bigs in this league that can rebound and he’s definitely one of them. Tonight’s game I took the approach where if I’m not getting the rebound, he’s definitely not going to get it because he brings that kind of spark to their team. He kind of gets them going, so my role is just to kind of take him out of it and that’s what I did.”
(On tonight’s game): “You can’t win a game when you give up 20 offensive rebounds like we did tonight. Their bigs just beat up on our bigs, is what it came down to. Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson inside just wore us down. They shot 40% from the field, which you’ll take on any given night, but when they get that many opportunities to get second chance points, it’s going to take its toll – and it did. They looked like the fresher team, they were quicker to the punch. We talked about 50-50 balls before the game as part of “role of mentality” you have to win those battles. Tristan Thompson had his season average at half time. It’s just a good lesson for our bigs. As athletic as we may be in those positions, when you’re playing against bigger guys you have to put a body on them, you can’t just follow the flight of the ball. That’s been a nemesis for us all season long and it came back to bite us tonight.”
(On the number of fast break points comparatively): “We were taking the ball out of the net when they were getting their second and third opportunities so it just wore us down. We’ve been able to limit teams to one shot for the most part, get the rebound, get out and go. But when they miss and then we’re spending energy trying to box them out, they get the offensive rebound, they kick it out, they miss again, they get another offensive rebound and then they score. Now, we’re taking the ball out of the net and it makes it tough to get out in transition when you’re doing that all night.”
(On the difference of tonight’s game): “The boards. They had 20 offensive boards. We didn’t play as tough as they did. This is Eastern Conference basketball, we can get a little more physical, and I think they were that today.”
(On what they did to hold him, specifically, down): “I just feel like I missed all these shots. In and out, in and out. I don’t know, I’ve never shot 1 for 13 in my life. Probably just old me, I just didn’t make shots.”
(On the difference of tonight’s game): “Definitely offensive rebounds, it was clear. That definitely killed us and we have to do a better job. They had a couple bigs, as you witnessed, on the glass. We couldn’t match the energy tonight. They got a lot of free throws called on them down the stretch when we were in the bonus early in the 4th quarter and they made the free throws. That was the game – offensive rebounds and free throws.”
(On whether back-to-back played a role): “Every team plays back to back. It’s not impossible to win the second game in a back-to-back. One of the things coach has said all season is that we’re going to be a “no excuse” team and tonight was no different. We’re not going to make any excuses. We know where the game was lost and we just have to get back to the drawing board.”
- The Cavaliers notched their fifth win at The Q this season with a 98-88 win over the Nuggets. Cleveland held Denver to 36-92 (.391) shooting from the field. The Cavs are 3-0 when they hold teams to under .400 shooting from the field. Tonight was also the third time this season the Cavaliers have held an opponent under 90 points.
- Cleveland blocked a season-high 13 shots and this was the fourth time they have blocked 10 or more shots in a game this season. March 16, 2004 versus the Chicago Bulls was the last time Cleveland blocked 13 shots.
- The Cavs outrebounded the Nuggets 58-43. The 58 total rebounds and the 20 offensive boards were both season-highs.
- Tristan Thompson posted his team-leading 9th double-double of the season (49th career) finishing with 17 points, a career-high 21 rebounds (nine offensive) and a season-high tying three blocks in 34 minutes. Thompson has recorded a double-double in back-to-back contests. Thompson pulled down nine of his rebounds in the first quarter. The last time a Cavalier tallied that many rebounds in the first quarter was J.J. Hickson on April 5, 2011 versus the Charlotte Bobcats. His 13 rebounds in the first half is tied for the third most in a single half in Quicken Loans Arena history.
- Anderson Varejao recorded his fourth double-double on the season (76th career) with 18 points on 7-9 (.778) shooting, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a season-high tying three blocks in 28 minutes off the bench. Varejao is the only player in the NBA this season to have three double-doubles off the bench. The last Cavs bench player to have at least 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks was Hot Rod Williams on December 11, 1991 against the Miami Heat (18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks).
- Kyrie Irving finished with game-high 23 points, two rebounds, four assists and one steal in 37 minutes. Irving has scored in double figures in each contest this season, including seven games of at least 20 points. In four career games against Denver, Irving is averaging 23.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals in 36.3 minutes per game.
- Andrew Bynum tallied 14 points, seven rebounds (four offensive) and one block in 20 minutes. Over the past two games, Bynum is averaging 17.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 blocks in 25.0 minutes per game.