Game 1 Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Bulls

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HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN

(On the team contributing in different ways):
“I thought that individually we had a lot of guys step up. Antawn had 10 rebounds, Andy came off the bench with 15 rebounds, Mo had 10 assists, LeBron had four blocks, so we had guys step up in a lot of different areas besides the point production. That was good to see.”

(On Shaq’s return):
“Shaq, in his own right, stepped up, too. Tonight was a night where we could all see the hard work that he has put in the last six to eight weeks. He’s been terrific working his tail off getting ready for this.”

(On tonight’s game):
“I thought that throughout the course of the game, we played pretty good basketball, except for the one lull in the third where we started to turn the ball over…which gave them some confidence and allowed them to go on a run. Other than the lull and turning the ball over, I thought that it was a good win by our guys. It was a good win to build on. We know and understand that it’s one game in a series and we have a ways to go still. We are not looking past it. It’s one game in the Bulls series and we are happy that we got the win.”

(On the team’s defense on Derrick Rose):
“In those spurts, obviously Derrick Rose hit some tough shots. The shots that he hit coming off of the pick and roll, the one-handed push shot which he can hit from eight to 10 feet. Sometimes you allow that to happen, especially if it’s a point guard and he’s got to take 28 shots. If he scores 28 and we do our job with everybody else, it’s a lot of shots for one guy to take, especially your point guard. We will just have to live with it and hope that we can continue to try and make him work. We are not going to be able to shut him down; he’s a great player. It’s our goal to try and make him work and see if we can get him to miss some of those shots, which he did hit during a stretch. Other than that, I thought we were pretty solid in other areas. They gained some confidence and scored some buckets when we did turn the ball over. We had 18 turnovers; that’s too many. That’s where I was probably most upset.”

(On rebounding and the play of the Cavaliers’ big men):
“I tell you what, (they’re) a great rebounding team (Chicago). For them to sit at 42.5 for the game in terms of field goal percentage and us to still win the rebounding battle the way we did is a positive. That’s something that we are going to have to continue to fight hard to do because Taj (Gibson) and (Joakim) Noah have played extremely well on the glass against us. We have to continue trying to go after that basketball on both ends of the floor and I thought that our effort going after the ball was terrific. Coming up with the extra possessions, which is a big thing in the playoffs, was good tonight. We were good in that area, but Noah and their other bigs logged a lot of minutes and we feel that we have capable bigs that can go in and give each other a rest. If somebody gets in foul trouble, we feel like we can go to somebody on the bench. Our bigs played a terrific game tonight.”


LEBRON JAMES

(On trying to harness emotion after receiving a technical in today’s game):
“Harness our emotion? There is no such thing in the playoffs. The playoffs are all about emotion and executing offensively and defensively. It’s going to be a warrior’s spread; you have got to see these guys four times at least. You’re not going to like the guy in front of you. You’re not going to like them and they’re not going to like us. We are looking forward to the challenge in this game on Monday and the next two games after.”

(On the team’s size advantage in this series):
“That’s something that we have been looking forward to all season - seeing how the size we play differs between last year in the postseason and this year. We have a lot of size, and we have a lot of depth in the frontcourt and in the backcourt and it showed today.”

(On what he said to the team before today’s game):
“This is what we all have waited for. This is why we play hard - throughout the whole season, throughout the regular season and throughout practices - is to get to this point. As much as we loved the regular season, we love the postseason even more. Once we got here the day before the game, we were all prepared. We were all mentally focused and I knew the guys were ready to play.”


MO WILLIAMS

(On if the rest at the end of the regular season was beneficial):
“We were prepared for this. I think that the last five games were long. I think there were a lot of things written, a lot of opinions that people had. A lot of other teams said that when they were in the (same) situation and rested, it wasn’t good…I think with us, we have a bunker mentality where we are worried about home (and) the 15 guys in the locker room, including the coaching staff. We knew that a lot of things were going to be written and a lot of things were going to be said, and we knew that the rest was good. It showed today.”

(On if he was excited to return to the playoffs):
“I put last year behind me. People always ask me what did I get from last year and I say the experience from the series. You have to go through things like that. That was something that I had never been through in my life. It’s just like having your first child. Now I have four, so the other three were pretty easy.”

(On Shaq’s return):
“I think that Shaq was terrific. We saw highlights from before he was injured to the way he is now. He looks great. He lost some weight and he’s getting up and down the floor. He made Z mad in his first practice (back from injury). He came out at game speed and Z was like, ‘Hey, it’s practice’. He took it as a game and he played that way, and he set the tone and he showed us how he would play in this postseason. He was terrific today. He got them in foul trouble. I think that Noah is a valuable piece (to Chicago) and he has to go to sleep tonight worried about what he has to do with Shaq on Monday.”


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

(On setting the tempo in the first quarter):
“We just wanted to come out and play aggressive, play at a high level. I’m at the point in my career where I only want to take the high-percentage shots so I’m just going to take a couple dribbles, if they come, kick it out and if not, go for what I know.”

(On his baseline spin dunk in the third quarter):
“They’re playing me not to go middle. It was a basic move. I just spin and go up strong. I’ve been doing it for years. We know we have our hands full against a young and energetic team. We just have to keep playing at a high level.”

(On Noah defending him versus Miller):
“Everyone pretty much plays me the same. They just bang, bang. I see that they’re coming from the baseline guy when I go into my drop-step. We’re going to watch tape and make some adjustments. I’ve been here 17 years. There’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Nothing at all.”

(On playing with the team after the layoff due to injury):
“We’re pretty good. I felt in the third quarter we relied on our jump shot too much. That’s because they went to a zone. We’re going to go back and watch some tape and make some adjustments. We’ll be ready for Game 2.”

(On how he felt personally after not playing due to the injury):
“I felt pretty good. Uncle Jerome had me on the three-day workout and special diet. This is very vital for me, vital for everybody. I wanted to come back extra, extra ready so I did some things I don’t usually do. I just wanted to change up a little bit. This is the time we have to be ready and I just wanted to be ready.”

(On projecting the team’s status three weeks from today):
“I don’t like to project. I see where I want to be in my head. I think everybody has the same thought process that I have. We just have to take it one game at a time. Everyone knows it’s the first team to 16 (wins). It’d be ludicrous for me to say ‘when we’re in the third round or when we’re in The Finals’. I don’t really operate like that. We have our Game 2 on Monday, (Games) 3 and 4 next week. One game at a time.”

(On his thoughts after his spin dunk):
“That’s the patented move, I’ve been doing it for years. That’s the ‘Diesel Truck with No Brakes’. You see when I get into that move, people get out of the way because they know I’m (going) and don’t have any brakes.”

(On how his thumb felt today):
“The one lob that Mo threw me kind of hit the fat part (of his thumb protector). Other than that, it feels pretty good. Cleveland Clinic did a great job in constructing that. My hand felt fine.”

(On Brad Miller):
“He’s a very physical guy. He’s a very tough-minded guy. He’s a guy that’s not going to back down. My game has been the same for many years: try to take the high-percentage shot, I don’t shoot jump shots, I don’t shoot fadeaways. I just try to take what he gives me and go up strong.”

(On if he feels this team is like his early 2000 teams):
“It was a mental factor. Obviously for me, it was an age factor. That was a different time in my career. That was a time in my career where I dominated the ball. I was the first option. My role is different on this team. It’s a role that I accepted. LeBron is going to take most of the shots; we all know that. It’s our job when he gives up the ball to make him look good. At 38, 39, I accept that. I did that tonight and we’ve been doing that all year. I sort of did that when I was in Miami and it works. If we keep playing that way, we’ll be fine. 2010, for me, is different than 2000-2002.”

(On whether LeBron has the ‘look’ in his eye):
“Of course. He’s the unanimous MVP this year. He plays at a high level, does a great job of leading the team…he’s the best on the court and in off the court situations. Quite frankly, I’m impressed that a guy that’s so young has the knowledge and know-how to keep everybody together. I said earlier that I’m one of those unorthodox CEOs whose been hired as a consultant. This is LeBron’s corporation. I’m a guy that’s been there and done that. Whenever he needs advice, he has my BBM. We talk about a lot of things and a lot of situations. I’m very impressed with how he handles things.”


ATNAWN JAMISON

(On the first half):
“We did a great job of executing offensively, stopping them from penetrating and getting transition points. But they did that in the second half. They knocked down shots and limited us to only one shot to create opportunities in transition. We just have to do a better job when we’re not hitting shots. That was a point of emphasis is their transition and not letting them get into transition.”

(On his first playoff game as a Cavalier):
“This is what it’s all about. We’re in a position to be very successful, the crowd is pulling for us and we’re having fun. I’m just happy to be in this situation and get the win. These are some of the best fans in the country. They’re really behind this basketball organization and you can feel their presence.”

(On Game 2):
“They’re going to make some adjustments to contend with what we did in the paint. We just have to continue to execute offensively. The third quarter was the only quarter where we didn’t do that.”

(On the team’s hustle):
“I got hit in the face going for a loose ball. They were bodies flying around every quarter, but that just goes to show you the way guys were hustling. We want to get those 50-50 balls, which is something we’ve been successful at throughout the season and something we want to continue to do.”

(On defending Chicago’s drive and kick offense):
“I thought we did a great job at that, especially in the half court offense. It was a great point of interest for us. The thing that got us was transition. Derrick Rose did a great job of keeping his dribble alive. He took a lot of shots and got a lot of points, but taking a lot of shots is what you want him to do. We just need to do a better job of transition.”

(On playing with Shaq):
“He knows how to play, that’s why he’s one of the greatest. He’s teaching me so much about the game and what it takes to be so successful at this level. I’m with two Hall of Famers and I just want to take advantage of the situation.”

(On the team having any rust):
“(We had) a little bit. We hadn’t played with each other, but we were still able to do what we did on both ends of the floor and that says a lot. It’s all about perfection. We’re not happy with just getting the win. Defensively, we talked some things out. Offensively, we weren’t all in accord during times in the game. The more and more we played, the more and more we’ll get that, but we let some opportunities get away.”

(On getting so many blocks):
“It just shows you how guys fly to the ball. That’s something that we do a great job of. If a guy gets beat, a teammate is there to help out.”


JAMARIO MOON

(On letting the Bulls back in the game):
“We just stopped attacking the basket. We started settling for jump shots and they got the long rebounds and were able to get out into transition for easy buckets. Once we figured that out, we started attacking the basket again.”

(On defending Chicago’s drive and kick offense):
“I think we did pretty well. We held them to 83 points, so we did a good job of shrinking the floor and making the lane a little crowded. Once they kicked the ball out, we closed out pretty well.”


HEAD COACH VINNY DEL NEGRO

(On what the difference was when the Bulls closed the gap in the fourth quarter):
“I thought we turned it over too much in the first quarter. They jumped on us. We started the game off pretty well and then we started ‘one-pass shot’, and didn’t make them guard us very well. They got out in the open court and got a lead on us in the first quarter, but obviously rebounding was an issue with their second chance points and the way Varejao did a good job getting them extra possessions, which he’s really good at. But our guys battled, made some adjustments, and we got back in the game, cutting it to seven. LeBron made a couple of plays down the stretch and we couldn’t capitalize on anything. ”

(On the defensive problems):
“I thought our initial defense was pretty good at times. I though we gave up some middle penetration at times, but I thought the rebounding was the difference. I thought they had a lot of balls where they hit them out and got some second opportunities against us which really opens the defense up. I thought after the first quarter, we really locked in a little bit better defensively. Our turnovers, we cut those down for the last three quarters. I thought we were just a little bit more efficient, but we have to shoot a higher percentage. We had some good looks that we didn’t knock down, but I like the way we fought back in it. I like the adjustments we made at times. We’ll take a look at the film and obviously continue to make some changes depending on where we feel we can be successful.”

(On the Cavs size):
“We’ve done such a great job this year rebounding the basketball. We have some length up front as well with Taj (Gibson) and [Joakim Noah] and Brad (Miller). We’re not the biggest front line obviously. With Shaq and Z and especially Anderson, they cause a lot of problems. They’re big, they have a big front line. They keep coming at you. Shaq can wear you down. Z is a pick and pop guy and then Varejao’s activity, you always have to know where he is. You have to get a body on him. He’s always hitting balls out. You can’t allow a team like Cleveland to have second chance opportunities. It really puts you back on your heels a little bit.”

(On if he will play Brad Miller more in Game 2):
“It just depends. Tonight we got a little bit of foul trouble early, so we’re trying to mix and match to keep guys out there as best we could. I thought we did a better job mixing it up in the second half. Depending on the flow of the game, the matchups. You want to try to get Brad on Shaq as much as you can and let [Noah] get around the glass as much as he can on Anderson. Sometimes that doesn’t work depending on time and the score in terms of our rotation. Give Cleveland credit. It’s a long series. Our guys are excited about it. They know we can play better than we did tonight. We have to get off to a better start. We were back on our heels a little bit. We fought back and cut it (the lead) a little bit and then LeBron made a couple of plays.”

(On Rose taking 28 shots):
“I always want Derrick to be aggressive. We need him to score the basketball the way we’re set up right now. I think the bottom line is, if two or three guys are on Derrick, we have to have good spacing on the floor and guys have to step in and make some shots to open up the floor a little bit more. We didn’t shoot a high enough percentage to put any pressure on them and I want Derrick to attack off the dribble and make plays. That’s what we need him to do. We’ve won games this year by defending and by rebounding the ball. Today, the rebounding numbers aren’t in our favor. I thought we defended well at times. We’ll make our adjustments, but we’re going to have to do a better job rebounding the ball to get out in the open court to get some easy ones so we can shoot a higher percentage instead of setting up against their front line with their size and LeBron’s athletic ability. We’re going to have to do a good job with the tempo of the game and picking our spots. ”

(On how foul trouble affected Noah):
“Joakim played hard. He’s done a great job for us. You have to be a little hesitant at times. I thought a couple calls I have to look at. He’s going to battle. He’s going to play. We need him to be in the game with his strength and rebounding ability. Shaq is a big body. He’s going to wear you down a little bit. We tried to get Brad on him to free Joakim up a little bit, but then you have to have Joe on Jamison who spreads him out a little bit and gets lifted on the weak side. You have to pick your spots with that. Joakim has been fantastic. He had a solid game, but he knows he can play better and we’re going to need him to.”

(On if he was surprised at Shaq’s effectiveness):
“Shaq knows how to play. He’s seen all the double teams. Obviously when you’re out that long, conditioning wise, he didn’t play a ton of minutes. He’s always going to be a factor when he’s in a game just because of his size and his ability near the basket and then defensively, clogging the lane and running into his body. He’s so big and athletic. He doesn’t have to lift like he did, but he’s still a factor and you have to prepare for him because they’re a different team when he’s in the game compared to Z and even when they go with Anderson. They have the ability to present different lineups out there that present different problems.”

(On the minutes of Hinrich and Rose):
“The minutes are a concern, but this is the playoffs. They’ve been having to go extra minutes just in our situation the last two, three weeks in the season. Now we don’t have any back-to-back games and we’ll get some rest tomorrow. There’s two days in between games two and three and same thing for games three and four. I want my best players out there. We wouldn’t be here without those guys and maybe get their minutes down a little bit depending on matchups and flow of game, but Kirk kind of stabilizes us out there and Derrick is out there to make things happen for us. You’re going to go with your best guys. (We) probably need to get guys a few more minutes of rest, but it really depends on foul trouble and what we’re trying to accomplish out there and how they’re feeling.”


DERRICK ROSE

(On if he was trying to be aggressive from the start):
“I just wanted to be aggressive almost the whole game. Just keep them on their heels. Going to the hole shooting my regular shots. Some were falling and some weren’t. ”

(On his turnovers):
“I just have to back my guy down a little bit. They were getting deflections and making turnovers that were usually at the top of the key. I was making turnovers at the top of the key. I just have to take my time with the ball, make the right decisions and deliver the pass. ”

(On what it’s like in the locker room):
“We can’t wait to play, I know I can’t. It’s going to be a fun series. This is something I live for. I think about every day, every minute of the day, playing against the best team in the NBA, one of the best players in the NBA. I can say I’m blessed to even be here and it’s a dream come true. I’m loving that we’re playing against him.”

(On what he can do playing with bigs collapsing on him):
“Pass it to my teammates. Right now, they’re keeping that guy on me until I pass the ball…Joakim was a little bit off in the beginning of the first quarter and the first half, but those are shots that they are going to have to take. Brad (Miller), Joakim (Noah) and Taj (Gibson), if they make some shots, it frees me up and frees everybody else up.”

(On the two teams “getting after it” with each other):
“That’s basketball. When the fans get into, the players get riled up, going against each other. We’re all competitive, so it just brings out the hardest play out there. You’re going to dive, scratch, push elbow, whatever to get the ball, get that possession and that’s what teams were doing today. The fans, I love them. I love playing here. It makes me play harder. I feel like shutting them up sometimes, but we’re going to need a win.”


JOAKIM NOAH

(On the game today):
“It never feels good to lose, but we have a chance to come back here and play a huge game on Monday.”

(On his performance today):
“I wasn’t really happy with the way I played today. I feel like I have to come out and bring a little more energy. We had that one stretch where we kind of lost it a little bit in the first quarter, but besides that, we fought pretty hard as a team. We just have to really understand that we can play with this team, and we can compete, but at the end of the day, they won the game. It doesn’t matter if we lost by 20 or one, we lost, and we’ll be ready to play on Monday.”

(On getting in foul trouble):
“It affected me a little bit. What you want to do when you are playing against an all-star in Shaq, somebody who has been in this position many times, and won a lot of championships. At the same time…I didn’t feel like some of those calls were fair.”

(On Game 2 adjustments):
“I feel like we need to shoot the ball better. We have to get more points in transition, and try to run on the break a little bit better. Give them credit, we made runs at them, cut it down to seven, and they hit some big shots. Mo came off screens and had contested shots and he hit them, so you have to give him credit. We also have to do a better job of keeping Varejao off the glass. He did a great job offensive rebounding and keeping balls alive. We have to stay inside and try and get that ball.”

(On the team’s mindset going forward in the series):
“We can’t get down on this game. We have to stay confident. We missed a lot of shots today. We just have to keep fighting.”

(On going up against Shaquille O’Neal):
“He’s definitely tough to get offensive rebounds on. It’s tough to get around him. This is the way it is. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are playing against the best team and we fought pretty hard tonight. We just have to stay positive and hopefully things will go our way next game.”


BRAD MILLER

(On the Bulls’ run in the fourth quarter):
“It shows that we don’t quit…The last three quarters we played them pretty much even, so we just have to come put ready to go in the first quarter on Monday.”