Game Quotes: Cavaliers at Spurs
(On the game getting away from them in the second half...) "Our bench guys did great. Wayne Ellington was good. We missed him yesterday obviously. Our bench guys did a good job of playing together and playing hard. I thought the last three or four minutes kind of got away. We made some little mistakes with backdoor cuts and offensive rebound, just things you can't do. You have to make them earn it and we kind of game them a few buckets. Just not being ready on the weak side and being prepared especially where Kawhi Leonard was. These are things again, we need to learn from. I was happy with Shaun Livingston. He mentally stayed involved in the game and did not give up points like that. We scored but they made us earn it. They didn't give it to us easy. In the fourth quarter especially in the last five or six minutes and that's about it. They've won 4 championships."
(On Tristan Thompson having trouble defending Tim Duncan...) "I don't know if we were deflated. I think we understood how hard it was going to be. Tim had his way tonight in the post. We didn't have anyone that could guard him or contain him. He did a great job. He looked fresh, he rebounded the ball and blocked shots. He was the protector back there on defense, he just looked good."
(Comparing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Tim Duncan...) "First of all, he's kept himself in pretty good shape. The same thing with Kareem at 37 years old, he was still in fantastic shape. I don't know if there are a whole lot of parallels between the two. They play a little bit different but Tim is still one of those guys you have to deal with even at his age. He still can get it done in the post, he can still pop out and make shots. He's making free throws now. The biggest thing is the back-to-backs, they probably hurt him a little. The experience he has for playing in the league this long is something that is always going to be important."
(On the value of the experience from tonight...) "I think they're the best team in the league. I don’t know if they’re going to win it. They have the best talent and the best coach, so they have a great shot at winning another championship. I think for us, we played this game really well. I think if we would have had this type of effort last night we would’ve won that game. Again, this is another growing experience. We have to come with this effort every night. We have to continue to learn from our mistakes and get tired of losing. We just have to bring it."
(On a cut he received during the game...) “Probably from a foul. I had to show the referee, but we’ve got to play through it. I wasn’t just going to get that board. We’ve got to earn it.”
(On whether teams focus on defending him more with Kyrie Irving out...) “I think teams are going to lock in on me more. They’re going to double on me. But you know, we make adjustments and go out there and play no matter what the situation is and how they defend you.”
(On their recent tough losses...) “It’s definitely frustrating. We learned a lot from this game too. It’ll make us better moving forward.”
(On the turnovers down the stretch...) “It was tough. Guys played hard tonight, which was key. We’ve got to play harder in the second half. What killed us a lot was the fourth quarter. When you play a good playoff team like this, a championship team, you can’t have as much errors or else they’ll capitalize on them. That’s what this game was all about.”
(On Tim Duncan’s versatility...) “One of the plays with (Tim) Duncan was to run a point-forward action with him down with Danny Green there, so that’s what makes them great. He will score and he’s an All-Star that makes other guys better. It’s tough, but we played hard tonight.”
(On the positives of being in close games on a young team...) “It’s a positive that we’re up in the fourth quarter and not being down by 20. It’s a positive that we’re competing, playing hard and we’re in games. We’ve just got to learn how to put fourth quarters together, play hard for four quarters and go out there and take care of wins.”
Spurs HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH
(Talking about Tim Duncan and how he carried the team...) “Tim saved us. He obviously carried the whole night for us. He was great. It shouldn’t have to be that way. We had one good quarter, decent quarter of defense, the fourth quarter. Up until that point, it was embarrassing defense. We’re going to go nowhere unless we get out of this rut that we’re in where we can’t guard anybody.”
(Is this especially disappointing after emphasizing all these points after the last game...) “We’ve been emphasizing for two-and-a-half weeks and it hasn’t done any good, so I need to learn another language or I don’t know what. I’m very disappointed in our defensive execution the last two to three weeks after we raised our stock from being a middle of the road defensive team last year to one of the top two or three this year. Then in the last three weeks, we decide to toss it because it’s not important. I’m really concerned and disappointed in that. Tonight, the combination of a decent fourth quarter defense and Tim Duncan being amazing got us through.”
(Can you talk about the job Coach Bud has done replacing you this season...) “Bud knows his stuff. He’s good and when he decides he wants to be, he’ll be a head coach in the league. If I disappeared in the next 20 minutes, you’d never even know I was gone because he would do a hell of a job.”
(Talk about the lift Nando De Colo gave you off the bench...) “I thought Nando did a great job because he’s been sitting so much and he got a shot to get out there on the court today, in both halves, and played very well. Not just because he made shots, but because he was ready to play and compete. That’s a good professional attitude to have.”
(When asked his thoughts on the block on Tristan Thompson...) “I just took a guess. I helped on the weak side and took a guess on where he was going to bring it up and I swung at it.”
(When asked about carrying the team these last few games...) “We’re moving the ball into the post a little more. That’s where I’m a little more effective. I still haven’t gotten my shot back the way I want it. But all-in-all I want to be aggressive and try to get it when it’s there. Manu (Ginobili) did an awesome job tonight of feeding me in the post. I got a couple of good layups off of that.”
(When asked about the defense not moving and not being there...) “It’s not been great and I don’t know why. The effort is there. I think we’re playing hard. I think we’re just giving up too many straight drives to the rim. We have to find a way to counter that and a way to clean that up. It will help when we get Tony (Parker) back a little bit. Bottom line is we have to have a little more focus and dedication of taking responsibility to clean that up.”
(When asked about Tristan Thompson and working out with him during the offseason, why do you want to work with guys on other teams...) “I just want to workout, honestly. Whoever wants to workout, I’m willing to workout with anybody. It makes the summers go by better. It makes me better. I’m available to do that. So I like doing it. (When asked if any of the guys use his moves on him...) Absolutely.”
(When asked about the play of Kawhi Leonard on the boards...) “He’s been great. He’s been offensive rebounding as well. His defensive rebounding has been huge. He can do it. He has the arms and legs and length for it.”
(When asked about the offense clicking tonight...) “In the beginning of the game it wasn’t dropping for me. I just kept my head in the game. If I was open I knocked down open shots. You just have to keep being aggressive. I’ll be in the gym everyday. I missed six in a row before, seven in a row. I just have to keep shooting thinking you’re going to hit the next shot.”
(When asked about Coach Popovich telling him just to take what the defense is giving him ...) “Yeah. Coach Pop just wants me to shoot good shots when I’m shooting. I’m just trying not to force anything and just let the game come to me. Being in the league for a year and a half, I just know what spots to go to and find my rhythm.”
(When asked about the play of Tim Duncan tonight...) “He’s (Duncan) been great for us since Tony (Parker) has been out. He’s been doing well all year. He’s an All-Star and he made shots when we needed them tonight and key blocks.”