Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Spurs
(On the game tonight): “You gotta give credit to the Spurs. Obviously, they’re a very good team. Well-coached. They’ve been playing the way they played tonight for many years. Having said that, I thought it was disappointing that we didn’t consistently move the ball and move bodies like we have been doing for extended periods. There were flashes of it through the course of the game, but not consistently like it had been the last 10, 12 games, if not more. On the flip side, I thought that defensively, the pace that San Antonio plays at, the way they spread you out, their ability to execute, deny counters and ability to share the basketball the way that they do, it all showed tonight. We paid the price for it. You hope watching and playing against these guys that there are things you can pick up on to make you a better team going forward.”
(On defending the Spurs’ three-point shooting): “We talked about running these guys off the three-point line and making them drivers. We didn’t always get the multiple efforts in terms of the execution part. Sometimes you have to stunt to help if a guy is driving the basketball. If the pass gets made, you have to recover to your guy. We told our team that these guys are the best passing team in the league. The shot clock can be at four or three, and they’ll make one more pass without panicking. So we can never stop playing. We can never think they’re going to shoot the ball. We can never think that the play is over.”
(On what happened after the team’s solid first quarter): “(San Antonio) made a run, as we expected. They’re a veteran ball club and you just have to tip your cap to them. After that first quarter, they just buckled down, got more physical and did things that a veteran ball club should do. They just made it tough on us on both ends of the floor. But for us, I feel like we’re maintaining, especially going into halftime, and just competing. We came out and we made our little run and it kind of got away from us, but I feel like we competed and we just had a few lackadaisical mistakes in the second half.”
(On the Spurs high assist number tonight): “Yeah, you just have to tip your hat off to a great team like that. They were great tonight and just messed up our rotations. Playing pick-and-roll, guys were just hitting shots. You just have to give it up to them.”
(On the Spurs’ second unit): “They all play the same way. They bring in Patty Mills, a guy who’s just an instant spark for them ever single night and then you have (Marco) Belinelli, who spaces out the floor for them. They’re just a great team all around and they’re second unit is going to play just as hard, or even harder than the first group. Sometimes (Gregg Popovich) takes out that first group and expects the second group to continue the lead or grow it.”
(On how he felt physically on the floor tonight): “I felt good. I just got stiff when I came out of the game; I have to find ways to keep it loose.”
(On how demoralizing it is when the Spurs keep making shots): “In the first half, they missed a lot of shots, so we caught a break. In the second half, we knew they were going to make shots, we knew they were going to run their offense. With that team, you just can’t make a lot of mistakes and we paid for it. That’s a great team and it shows how well they moved the ball, everybody touches the ball and it goes side to side.”
(On the Spurs high assist number tonight): “They were moving the ball and they made shots. It’s tough guarding a team like that who gets into their offense no matter how much time is left on the clock. If it’s four seconds, they still find a way to make that extra pass. You just can’t ever fall asleep on that team and a couple of plays we fell asleep and they hit us with a couple of threes. It busted the game wide open.”
(On the slow start): “I called a pretty quick timeout and asked them to play a little bit better.”
(On 39 assists with 43 field goals): “That was pretty impressive. That doesn’t happen often. We’ve been doing that all year long, but that’s a ridiculous ratio right there. I was really proud of them. They did a great job.”
(On his bench play): “(Patty Mills) was one of the reasons our energy improved. The bench really helped energize us tonight and got us going. Our bench has helped us all year long. It’s been real important to have depth.”
(On the game): “The first quarter we couldn’t make a shot. We were slow and boring (offensively). From the second quarter on, I think we scored 37 points in the second quarter and we started rolling. It was a slow start, but after that it was fun. We all scored, passed the ball, (made cuts) and made shots. It was entertaining.”
(On the ball movement): “Anytime you get 39 dishes out of 43 buckets, it’s great. That means everybody got involved, enjoyed the game and felt important.”
(On the slow start): “We know we can’t expect that to be a trend and win every game. It happened the last four (games) because three were at home and today because we had a terrific second, third and fourth quarter. Against teams like Miami and (Oklahoma City) it’s not going to happen. You can’t give them a 10 or 15 point lead and just expect to come back. Hopefully we start from minute one be and ready to compete.”
(On the ball movement): “It showed that we shared the ball and everybody was touching it and anybody could score. 39 assists on 43 made shots is impressive. It’s an indicator that shows how much fun a team is having.”
- Three Cavaliers finished with 20-plus points tonight: Irving (24), Waiters (24) and Hawes (20). The Cavs have accomplished that three times this season (11/9 vs. PHI & 12/26 vs. ATL).
- Cleveland shot 10-19 (.526) from the three-point line. The Cavs have shot at least .500 from the three-point line eight times this season.
- Kyrie Irving recorded a game-high tying 24 points, including 3-6 (.500) from the three-point line, four rebounds, six assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Irving has scored at least 20 points in 18 of the last 24 games, including each of the last five. Over the last five games, he is averaging 25.8 points on .495 (46-93) shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals in 41.4 minutes per game.
- Spencer Hawes posted his 22nd double-double of the season (third with Cavs) with 20 points on 7-9 (.778) shooting, including 3-4 (.750) from the three-point line, a game-high 13 rebounds and one block in 33 minutes. Hawes has scored in double figures in six straight games. In seven games with the Cavs, Hawes is averaging 14.7 points, including .536 (15-28) from the three-point line, 9.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 32.3 minutes per game. He has connected on at least three three-pointers in four of the last five games (13-21 3FG over that stretch).
- Dion Waiters registered a game-high tying 24 points on 11-18 (.611) shooting, including 2-3 (.667) from the three-point line, three assists and one block in 23 minutes off the bench. Waiters has scored 20-plus points 13 times this season as a reserve.