Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Suns
(On the game tonight): “Obviously, it is very disappointing with the way we came out in the second half. At halftime, we addressed our team. We talked about the job we were doing in transition. We talked about the job we were doing contesting shots in the first half. We had four uncontested shots that we gave Phoenix in the first half. We talked about the ball movement that we had in the first half, and we came out and we did the opposite of everything we talked about at halftime and what we did in the first half which was very disappointing.”
(On what happened in the second half): “We couldn’t make shots, but on top of us not making shots, we did not contest, we did not get the bodies, we did not get the shooters, and for them to hit five threes in a row to start the second half was very disappointing. It was hard to watch. It was very disappointing and our guys should be embarrassed with the way we played in the second half. Not only did we not contest shots, not only did we not get the bodies on three-point shooters, not only did we not move the basketball, but we turned the ball over too. We had nine turnovers for 15 points in a half. We should all feel embarrassed of the way we played in the second half.”
(On if the team did anything differently after the first half): “We didn’t change anything in the second half. We encouraged them for the stuff that they did in the first half. We just didn’t handle the success that we had in the first half well. I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easy because we were up 18 and Phoenix was just going to roll over but everything that we talked about at halftime, preached at the beginning of the game and throughout the course of the first half, just went away. Part of it is them coming out and hitting five threes, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, them gaining confidence and us starting to wonder.”
(On the game’s total turnaround): “(Phoenix) just outworked us in the second half, simply put. We had a chance at the end of the game. I take full responsibility for the end of the game. We blocked the pick-and-roll and I didn’t close out Channing Frye’s chest. He got a three and it went from a one possession game to a two possession game. I just have to be better, but all around, they just outworked us.”
(On the team missing shots and Phoenix’s defense in the second half): “In the first four, five minutes, there were a couple of shots that should’ve gone down, but didn’t. (Phoenix) definitely amped it up on the defensive end and were living and dying with that three-point line. I think they had five three-pointers in a row starting the third quarter and got back in the game. The momentum shifted and they got back in the game.”
(On what it feels like when an opponent seemingly hits every shot): “It’s definitely frustrating. You can put two, three stops together, but then (we didn’t score) and then (Phoenix) came down and hit two big shots. We didn’t score and then the momentum shifted. We lost our rhythm offensively, but it has to start on the defensive end. They came out and just hit us in the mouth and we didn’t fight back.”
(On what happened in the third quarter): “(Phoenix) hitting threes, us not getting back into transition and not taking enough pride on the defensive end in the second half. They came in and just stole that win from us.”
(On the reason why the team played so poorly in the second half): “I wish I knew the reason, but we have to figure this out and we have to figure it out quick because we can’t have games like this, especially at home. It’s embarrassing for us, to the fans, to the organization to come out like that. We have to take that personally. If we don’t, we’ll have more situation like this.”
(On his message at the half): “I got on our case pretty much about defense. In the first half, we didn’t give an effort. I said they average 96 points and (the Cavaliers) have 61 already. I said to come out in the second half and play defense like we are supposed to and be aggressive and you’ll slowly climb back into the game. We got back into it quicker than expected, but it was the defense that did it.”
(On Suns’ second half defensive effort): “A better effort. Our rebounding was great. Miles (Plumlee) got a bunch of rebounds and Markieff (Morris) came in the game and he was rebounding. I don’t know how many offensive rebounds (the Cavaliers) got there in the second half, but it couldn’t have been too many. We were just helping each other out and we were more active.”
(On Suns’ shot selection in the second-half): “I don’t know if they were better. Shots always seem like they’re better shots or easier shots when you’re playing defense. If you’re just trying to trade baskets and score your points, it usually doesn’t work out that well.”
(On Suns’ keys to success on the road): “We weren’t playing our game on the road like we do at home. That second-half was more of an indication of how we do at home. We push the ball. It’s not like we take quick threes, but if they’re open, we’ll shoot them. We’re just much more aggressive that way. On the road, you have to play defense. If you don’t play defense on the road, you have no chance.”
(On the Cavs’ first half performance): “We didn’t pressure Kyrie Irving enough. They got easy, easy looks and even if they missed those shots, they got those rebounds. We didn’t do a good job in that department.”
(On Suns’ second half adjustments): “I think (the Cavaliers) only scored six points in the third quarter, so it was really good defense. I think in the end, we deserved that win. We didn’t hang our heads and we just kept playing.”
(On the matchup with Kyrie Irving): “You just try to be in front of him. We know he’s going to shoot a lot of shots. We changed a bit (during) the last three minutes of the game. We double-teamed him to give him a different look.”
(On Suns’ resiliency): “We are a really hard-nosed team. It doesn’t matter if we are up or down 20 points, we are still going to battle until the end. ”
• Three Cavaliers finished with 10-plus rebounds tonight: Thompson (13), Deng (10), Varejao (10). The last time three players finished with 10-plus rebounds was Feb. 2, 2008 versus the L.A. Clippers (Ilgauskas-13, Gooden-12, James-11).
• The Cavs pulled down 14 offensive rebounds tonight leading to 17 second chance points. In 13 January games, Cleveland is averaging 14.2 offensive rebounds and 15.5 second chance points. On the season, the Cavs are averaging 12.5 offensive rebounds per game.
• Tristan Thompson posted his 22nd double-double of the season (2nd-most in East) with 17 points on 6-9 (.667) shooting and a team-high 13 rebounds in 39 minutes. Thompson recorded a double-double for the second straight game. He has also posted a double-double in 11 of the last 15 games (since Dec. 29), including double-doubles in nine of the last 11 contests (since Jan. 5). Thompson is averaging a double-double over his last 28 contests (since Nov. 30) with 13.4 points and 10.2 rebounds in 33.9 minutes per game.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a team-high 24 points, including 8-8 from the free throw line, two rebounds, a game-high nine assists and two steals in 37 minutes. Irving has scored at least 20 points in 22 contests this season. At The Q, he has topped 20 points in 11 of the last 13 games (since Dec. 4), averaging 25.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 36.7 minutes per game over that span.
• Luol Deng posted his first double-double with the Cavaliers (6th this season) with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and one block in 41 minutes. In nine games with the Cavs, Deng is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 33.0 minutes per game.