Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Suns
(On Tonight’s Game): “It was a good win for our guys. You know we faced the same situation in Cleveland and we talked about it at halftime and they came out in Cleveland and really shot the ball well and we didn’t do a good job of getting to their three point shooters. The momentum from them making threes really caused the game to change. I thought tonight they came out and hit some threes but I thought our guys stayed the course. We finally buckled down and defended the three point line the right way.
One of the things we talked about with our guys was our guards really rebounded. When you play a team that shoots a lot of threes you are going to have a lot of long shots and long rebounds and Kyrie has 9 rebounds which was huge for us. Rebounding in the first half, his pace was really good in the first half. We loved the pace, we had guys filling the corners, we had our bigs running and it gave us some early looks in transition that hopefully we can continue to have. We did a nice job of getting back and limiting them and their fast break game. For them to have 13 when they average 19, it was a big night for us.”
(On Tonight’s Win): “For me, it’s just about me setting the pace. That’s the best way I can do it, just getting the rebound and pushing it in transition and making plays there. Our bigs did a great job of boxing out and I’m just coming in getting long rebounds and getting to the free throw line and kind of mixing g it up and boxing my guy and then going and get it but the last few games, just paying attention to that more. Getting out and setting our pace.
For me, it was just about how we competed and how we withstood their runs. They do a great job of shooting threes and it’s what keeps them in the game and they get out in transition and I think we did a great job of limiting them to both of those. They shot 27% from the three point line and to be able to do that, especially at their home, is big for us.”
(On his fast start): “There were opportunities; they were sinking back and just letting me walk into some on the trail so I took advantage of that and they did a pretty good job of adjusting and that kind of opened everything up for everyone else to get into the paint and get some drive and kicks. You know they’re going to make a run, it’s the NBA, you just don’t know when. I thought we did a pretty good job of standing in and not overreacting and not letting the ball get stuck for too long.”
(On tonight’s game): “They looked like the team that was trying to get into the playoffs. We looked like the team that just wanted to play a basketball game. I told the guys after the game and I sound like a broken sound – if you let a team get going in the first quarter and they score 37 points on your score, they are going to be hard to stop the rest of the night. They have their confidence they can beat you. It is not like we crushed them in Cleveland. We got killed in the first quarter and happened to make a bunch of threes in the second half to get back in the game and than pull it out. Obviously, not having our emotional and physical leader in PJ hurt us. With all those loose balls, maybe somebody else gets them. It was right from the first play of the game… the ball bounces loose and we took a little stab at it, but that was about it. They got to them quicker.”
(On Eric Bledsoe’s return): “Even all season when he was healthy, we were trying to get him to push it. I still think he is at his best when he is pushing the ball up court coming full speed at somebody that can’t stop him. It probably happens all the time. When a guy comes back that everybody else has their role change a little bit. I don’t know if they are pressing to think they have to do better than normal to stay getting minutes or whatever. You just have to play the game and play with confidence.”
(On the Suns lack of urgency): “You would think they would know the situation with the games we are in, the standings and that kind of stuff. We do not go over it, but I think everyone understands that at this point everyone has to step it up. You are trying to win games. We have to win games we are suppose too. That is the disappointing part.”
(On overall assement of his return): “I felt great for the most part. Like I said, I tried to come in and fit in with the team playing so well.”
(On the lack of urgency before the playoffs): “We have to play like we have been playing from the jump – proving people wrong. Like I said, we are not coming out like we use too. It is going to change. It is going to have too. We have a tough stretch of games going on the road, so we just have to take care of business.”
(On opponents’ early leads): “They came out making shots… we came out sluggish. It happened a lot of times. We can go to the next game and move on.”
(On the playoff push): “You see Memphis and Dallas winning those games and we cannot worry about that. We have to worry about ourselves. It is our second or third loss in a row… we just have to play one game at a time.”
• Kyrie Irving finished just shy of what would have been his second career points/rebounds double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds (tied team-high) in addition to a team-high six assists. The performance marked the first time this season that Irving at least tied for the Cavs’ team-lead in points, rebounds and assists.
• Spencer Hawes added 19 points for the Cavaliers tonight, with 17 coming in the first quarter. In the first quarter, Hawes scored his 17 points on 5-of-7 field goal shooting, 3-of-3 three-point shooting and 4-of-4 from the stripe.
• The Cavaliers shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from beyond the arc in tonight’s game.