Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Wizards
(On tonight’s game):
“I thought we came out to start the game a little flat, defensively and offensively. We gave up two quick baskets in ways we haven’t been doing. To a certain degree, they kind of set the tone of the game. I thought throughout the course of the first half, we tried to bounce back. We tried to fight. We were a little consistent with moving the ball and moving bodies and having great drive and kicks in the first half with the floor spaced. Then in the second half, the ball wasn’t moving like it was in the first half. Our inconsistencies, especially offensively, as well as Washington’s defense, caused us to not score. Defensively, again, I thought throughout the course of the game, we were almost a step behind. It was almost like we were reacting to what Washington was doing instead of us being the aggressors and being the more physical team. I thought we reacted more than anything else. They got some easy baskets on us. The inconsistencies on both ends did us in.”
(On playing shorthanded):
“That’s part of the NBA. We have to have guys step up and take advantage of the opportunities that they’re getting on both ends of the floor. We have to be more consistent with our approach and with our play. Tonight, we weren’t consistent on both ends of the floor. We showed flashes of it, scoring almost 50 points in the first half and shooting almost 50 percent from the field. That had a lot to do with us moving the basketball, moving bodies and driving the seams. In the second half, we didn’t do an overall good job of defending. The ball just seemed to stick in one area. It was almost like we played in an elevator at times. It wasn’t crisp like it was in the first half.”
(On Spencer Hawes):
“He’s doing well. He’s an intelligent player. He has a good feel for the game. Obviously, he has the ability to stretch the defense. The two games that he’s played with having only one practice and two shootarounds, he’s played fairly well for us.”
(On the difference between the first and second half offensively tonight):
“The ball was sticking a little bit more in the second half. We came out in the third quarter and just didn’t bring the energy offensively; it’s tough. We’ve had games like this before where we get stops here and there, but we’re not scoring offensively and it kind of puts us in a drought and puts us in a hole. We’re still fighting back, but you have to score buckets in this game as well. We’re relying on our defense and we did some good things, but at the end of the day, it’s just competing for the full 48 minutes.”
(On if the team is feeling out of balance):
“There are so many things we have to figure out; new pieces, guys missing, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse. We just have to go out there and play basketball. Time is of the essence right now, especially when we want to do something special. We only have 26 games left to do it. There just needs to be a better sense of urgency, including from myself. I just have to raise my level, which I will do. We still have a goal in mind that we want to accomplish and we’re going to do everything in our power to do it.”
(On if he’s watching the standings):
“You have no choice but to pay attention to it. We want to accomplish something, but it starts with every single game. Time is of the essence. We’ve played against two teams that are in playoff positions and that was a big test for us. We didn’t come out victorious, but we did some things that we can pat ourselves on the back for. At the end of the day, you want to win and going forward, we just have to be better.”
(On how he felt playing with his new teammates):
“I felt a lot better tonight, especially offensively. I’m kind of picking up guys tendencies with the offense and I’m not running around asking guys where I need to be. Coach (Mike Brown) has done a great job of just simplifying (the offense) and the guys have been helping me out on the fly.”
(On the team playing from behind):
“When you’re playing from behind, it takes up so much energy to try to get back into the game. A lot of times, you don’t have that burst to help push yourself over the edge.”
(On the Wizards’ defense):
“That was one of our better 48 minutes defensively. You get yourself to the five minute mark in the fourth quarter and you’ve built yourself an eight point lead, you have to win it defensively. There should be no excuse, no matter what we do from an offensive standpoint. They really went out and took that challenge. It was really a great effort defensively all the way around.”
(On Al Harrington’s performance):
“Al gave us a big lift in the second half. He was panting like a dog out there. We have to continue to get him rounded into shape. His minutes were big tonight. He came out with a lot of energy and made a couple of shots and provided veteran leadership.”
(On finishing the first half strong):
“It was a big couple of shots that (John Wall hit) to get us a bit of a cushion going into halftime. It’s always big to ride the momentum coming in at the half.”
(On tonight’s performance as a whole):
“We’re a team, right now, that’s just trying to play the right way and get on a roll. We played team basketball and tried our best, and to try to stop Kyrie Irving and not let him take over like he has been doing in the past.”
(On facing Kyrie Irving):
“It’s always tough. Everybody wants to know who is the best young point guard and who’s the best guy in the Eastern Conference. We both do things great for our team. He’s probably a better offensive guy, skill-wise, and can basically take over games with his skills. I’m more of a point guard that likes to get his teammates involved and am blessed with the talents and abilities to get hot and able to score the ball. Guys look at every time we play as a marquee matchup, so everybody is going to be tuned in for the next couple of years.”
(On splitting the season series with Cleveland):
“We felt like we gave two games away at home and they had played better than us in the closing minutes. Tonight, we just wanted to keep playing the right way. It was a tougher coverage because of (Cleveland) adding Spencer Hawes. He’s a guy that stretches the floor and he usually gives us problems.”
(On his defense):
“It’s just me being more locked in. When I’m locked in defensively, I believe I can do the best job on anybody in the league. That’s one thing that (Coach Wittman) has challenged me to do on a consistent basis on any given night. I kind of took that personal. Tonight I wanted to make it tough on Kyrie Irving. He missed a couple of easy shots tonight but he’s an All-Star for a reason and he’s very talented.”
- The Cavaliers shot 21-26 (.808) from the free-throw line. Cleveland has shot at least .800 from the free throw line 18 times this season, including three of the last four games.
- Cleveland held a 51-48 edge in rebounding. The Cavs have won the rebounding battle in eight of their last nine games, outrebounding opponents by an average of 6.9 (50.0-43.1). The Cavs also pulled down 13 offensive rebounds leading to 14 second chance points. Since the 2014 calendar year, the Cavs are pulling down 14.0 offensive rebounds per game and scoring 15.8 second chance points.
- Tristan Thompson posted his team-leading 27th double-double of the season with 11 points and a team-high tying 12 rebounds (four offensive) in 32 minutes. Thompson has posted a double-double in five out of the past six contests, averaging 15.5 points on .571 (36-63) shooting and 12.2 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per game over that stretch.
- Spencer Hawes posted his first double-double as a member of the Cavaliers (20th of the season) with 16 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting, a team-high tying 12 rebounds, four assists and one block in 32 minutes off the bench. Hawes has pulled down 10-plus rebounds in his first two contests with the Cavs, averaging 11.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game.
- Luol Deng finished with a team-high 17 points, including 9-9 from the free throw line, seven rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes. Deng posted double figures in points for the 16th time in 21 contests with the Cavaliers.
- Kyrie Irving tallied 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes. It marked the ninth time this season he has recorded at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in a single game this season.