Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Pelicans
(On the game tonight): “The game is simple. We don’t play hard in spurts and it equates to losses. I thought New Orleans got a lot of easy baskets. Our coverages for the most part are the same. We make little adjustments here and there but you’ve got to play at a certain level for 48 minutes in order to win. We had an eight-minute scrimmage yesterday amongst the group. We literally almost had three or four fights in an eight-minute scrimmage. The competitive nature of our scrimmage yesterday was off the charts. I didn’t see one time any of us get upset, hit somebody and show a little fire, especially defensively. We talked about this all year. You’ve got to compete for 48 minutes or close to it. We didn’t do it. Three or four of these games at home, we didn’t’ do it. The second thing is very easy. You’ve got to pass the basketball. We’re putting ourselves in positions to take some difficult shots with time on the shot clock. Seems like every time the ball hit somebody’s hands, they want to go make a play. Sometimes we just gotta pass the ball, pass and cut, replace and go play pick and roll. Those are the two things right now that’s hurting us. It hurt us tonight. It gets contagious.”
(On playing with competitive spirit after West Coast trip): “You could feel the competitive spirit of the group. We tried to move the basketball when we were out West. We get back here and our competitive spirit is non-existent. I wish I had the exact answer. Maybe I need to shake some things up, but I know I gotta go back and watch the tape and see what it is because right now what we’re doing out there is unacceptable. It’s not good enough.”
(On shaking up rotations): “I’m going to keep trying to shake it up. That’s why I had that lineup out there. It was tough for them to cut into the lead, but we cut into it a little bit. We had some chances. We missed some free throws with that group. We didn’t get a break here, a break there but you watch that group that was out there and there was a little bit a fire. The reality of it was that it was led by Delly (Matthew Dellavedova). Delly was picking up full court. You could feel his presence out there. I’ve just got to keep finding different combinations out there until we can get it right.”
(On Anthony Bennett): “He had a heck of a practice yesterday for us. He’s been doing the things we ask of him to do in practice. Earl (Clark) was a little dinged up and Andy (Anderson Varejao) was out too. We played him and he took advantage of the opportunity. Just one of those things when you’ve got to stay ready when your number is called and he showed that he stayed ready tonight.”
(On the team’s competitive spirit): “We’re still trying to figure it out. This hasn’t been the first time that we had a good practice and we don’t come out with the sense of urgency that we need to at the beginning of the game. It has to translate someway, somehow and we just have to figure it out.”
(On the team’s continuous second quarter struggles): “Most of it stems from things kind of coming easy in the first quarter some games and we just have to stick with what’s working. We just have to trust each other and just go out there and play off each other and keep on making easy plays. We took a couple of difficult shots that (we) need to get better at. It starts in that area; just coming down and knowing the rhythm of the game.”
(On how much Anthony Davis changed the complexion of the game): “He’s a very talented individual. He kind of messes up your rotations just because he can space (the floor) so well and he plays the game the right way. Coach (Monty Williams) did a heck of a job of running continuity plays for him and he was catching it in rhythm and knocking down shots tonight. You have to give credit to a good performance by him.”
(On if tonight’s game can be a springboard game for him): “Hopefully, that’s what I’m working on. (I’m) just going out there and playing my minutes, play hard and hopefully (we) get the win. This is just one game; we have to focus on what’s ahead of us and just work as a team and keep winning.”
(On if yesterday’s practice served as a building block for his confidence): “Yeah, I made huge steps with my shooting; putting more arc on my shot instead of shooting flat. I just have to keep working in the gym. Hopefully, things will turn around from this point.”
(On tonight’s performance): “I thought our first five minutes of the game was pretty sloppy. After the timeout, all of our guys knew what we needed to do. Obviously, the second quarter was the type of quarter you dream about from a defensive standpoint. Our rim protection with Greg Stiemsma and Anthony Davis was unreal.”
(On Anthony Davis): “Everybody keeps talking about (the All-Star game) and should he be an all-star, I mean, all you have to do is look at tonight. Show me other bigs who are doing it on both ends like he does every single night. I’m really thankful I have a chance to coach someone like him.”
(On Anthony Davis’ hand injury): “He dislocated his finger tonight. (We) pulled it out and he said ‘Tape it up, I’m going right back.’ That, to me, says more about him than any number or stat that he could put up. His heart and his willingness to do whatever it takes for his team is why he’s an all-star in my opinion.”
(On the Cavaliers): “They missed some shots. (Dion Waiters) came in and hit some shots and they kind of went cold. It’s easy to say our defense stopped them tonight, but I think they just missed shots too. They have a number of guys who can put the ball in the hole. I don’t know of anybody who can stop Kyrie Irving. When he misses a shot, it’s because he missed it.”
(On building the lead): “We played defense. We’re a defensive team and we can’t allow 29 points in a quarter. We came out the rest of the game and made sure we defended, got transition buckets and ran the floor.”
(On All-Star consideration): “It’s cool. I hear it, but I’m trying to win a game. I’m just trying to get better each and every day. If it happens, I’ll be more than grateful and more than excited to be able to play.”
(On tonight’s performance): “We put a lot of things together. We played good, solid defense. We were making good plays and we were all attacking the rim. We just made good plays without turning over the ball.”
(On three-game winning streak): “It feels good. It shows that we’re getting better and improving.”
(On Anthony Davis): “You have to use his talents. His talents are catching and shooting, putting the ball on the floor and isolations. He’s going to keep expanding his game.”
- The Cavs dished out 22 assists and committed 11 turnovers tonight. Over the last 11 games (since Jan. 7), the Cavs are averaging 23.0 assists and just 12.5 turnovers.
- Cleveland swiped 10 steals tonight, which is the ninth time this season they have recorded 10-plus steals in a game this season.
- The Cavaliers pulled down 10 offensive rebounds tonight leading to 15 second chance points. In 14 January games, Cleveland is averaging 13.9 offensive rebounds and 15.4 second chance points. On the season, the Cavs are averaging 12.4 offensive rebounds per game.
- Kyrie Irving recorded a team-high 23 points, including 6-6 from the free throw line, three rebounds, a team-high five assists, two steals and zero turnovers in 35 minutes. Irving has topped 20 points in six of the last seven games (since. Jan 15), averaging 21.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.7 minutes per game. He is also shooting .968 (30-31) from the free throw line over that stretch. Over the last 11 games (since. Jan 7), he is averaging 6.6 assists and only 1.5 turnovers, including a total of 29 assists and three turnovers in the last four contests (9.7 assists-to-turnover ratio).
- Dion Waiters finished with 21 points on 9-13 (.692) shooting, including 3-4 (.750) from the three-point line, four assists, two steals and one block in 36 minutes off the bench. In 31 games as a reserve this season, Waiters is averaging 14.5 points in 29.1 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in 23 of his 31 appearances off the bench, including nine games of 20-plus points.
- Tyler Zeller posted his first double-double of the season (eighth career) with a season-high tying 13 points on 4-8 (.500) shooting, including 5-5 from the free throw line, and a season-high tying 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.
- Anthony Bennett tallied a career-high 15 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting, including 2-3 (.667) from the three-point line, a career-high tying eight rebounds and one block in 31 minutes off the bench.