Game 3 Quotes: Cavaliers at Bulls
(On the overall game:)
They won this game. Derrick Rose really played good for them. Kirk also shot the ball well and they got good play from all who were on the floor. I give my guys credit. They fought back from a large deficit. We gave ourselves a chance to win down the stretch. We kept them out of the paint better. They hit the jump shots that they didn't hit before tonight. We got a terrific performance from LeBron. He carried us on his shoulders and we almost got the win. We know we have to play better especially against them in this building. Overall we know we know we can be more physical on both ends.
(On their defense giving up 108 tonight and 100 last game:)
Right now, we're not playing good defense. We played just good enough to win the last game and almost stole one tonight. Chicago earned the win tonight. We need to be more physical on the defensive end. We made mental errors out there tonight leaving guys and letting them get dunks. Our defense just has to get better.
(On the small/big line-up matches:)
We feel pretty good with whoever we put out on the floor. We haven't played good defense the last 2 games. But whether we go big or small we feel we can match up with anybody.
(On the late charge call on LeBron:)
He (the official) said he was there and took the hit in the chest. I thought he was moving but it's a judgment call and he made it.
(Did you guys start too late in this game?)
Yes, we started the game too lax. I don't know why. We didn't have a sense of urgency to start the game. We didn't have a lot of energy to start the game. As much as we crawled back in the 2nd half, it didn't matter.
(On the offensive foul late in the game:)
I saw me and Luol, I saw Luol backpedaling. Me as a driver, I'm watching his feet to see if he's stationary or moving. I thought he was still backpedaling. As soon as I saw him backpedaling, that's when I decided to take off. They called a charge. I haven't seen a replay, but I know exactly what I've seen on the court with the defender right in front of me.
(Who's decision was it to put you on Derrick?)
I put myself on him. They had a small line-up. We've been really, really good this year when we play small. We become more athletic, we become faster and that helps our rotation move faster. That doesn't take away from our big line-up because we can also go big, but we play really good basketball when we've been able to go small. If that's something that's going to be successful for us, then we have to do that. We have to look at match-ups, but it's a really effective line-up for us.
(On giving up an average of 104 points the last 2 games:)
They do a good job of exploiting what we do defensively. We are a spread the floor team. But they did a good job getting into the paint and they're hitting jump shots right now. Derrick Rose is hitting a lot of jump shots, Kirk is hitting a lot of jump shots. 104 points is not our M.O. Shooting over 50% against us is not our M.O. Coming into game 2 and coming into this game we said we couldn't give up a lot of offensive rebounds. We only gave up 7 offensive rebounds which is really good. We said we couldn't give up a lot of fast break points and we only gave up 11 so we cleaned that area up. They just shot the ball really well from outside. They shot the ball particularly well. We made some adjustments from game 2 to game 3 but they just hit some open shots. Not all of them were open. Some were certainly contested.
(On Shaq's lay-off:)
I'm not concerned. I think we know that he needs to pick up his play, but he knows that also. No matter who you are, ever if you're the best player in the world, if you have an 8 week lay-off, it's going to take a toll on you. He's just trying to be as productive as he can after that layoff and be a force in the interior and help us win these games.
(On trapping Derrick Rose defensively)
We definitely made adjustments. When you have a guy like Derrick Rose getting going you have to make adjustments, and we did. We made him give the ball up, we wanted to make other guys make plays. And Hinrich stepped up tonight, he was 9-of-12 from the field, 4-for-4 from three, five assists, five rebounds, I think he was really the “x” factor tonight. He made plays off the ball, he made shots, he also got the ball off the screen and roll. We have to make an adjustment going into Sunday about how we're going to play against their guards. Both of those guys get them going. When you have both of those guys playing particularly well, you're going to have a long night. You're going to see yourself probably 85 percent of the game in pick-and-roll situations.
(On him being more aggressive in the second half than he was in the first.)
We're a team that has a lot of different weapons. How I approach it, is the same every game. I come out and let the game come to me. I'm the point guard on this team and I feed off my teammates. I feel like if it's a situation where I need to be aggressive, I'll be aggressive. But if it's a situation which we're going to play through Shaq or play through (LeBron) then I'm always there and stretch the defense and do things in some different ways and parts of the game where I'm not taking shots. A lot of times on offense when a defender doesn't leave me, I've done my job. If that man can't help on (LeBron) or can't help on Shaq, I'll go through stretches where I don't shoot and don't get shot attempts but that's fine because I'm doing my job. I'll just try to find a way to be effective. This team, we have so many weapons. It just depends on how we play at that particular moment.
HEAD COACH VINNY DEL NEGRO
(The team got the scoring up and LeBron scored almost 40)
They kept coming at us. Cleveland is so tough to guard when LeBron is coming at you like that. We had to find a way to battle. We kept our turnovers down again, which was good. We helped them out by missing some free throws. The first half went pretty smooth for us. In the third quarter we had a nice start. Then we went to one pass and shot and Cleveland got out on the break and hit some threes and got back in it. We had to gut it out and our guys made plays. Kirk was outstanding shooting the ball, he really gave us a big lift. Luol was solid again, Joakim does his thing on the glass and Derrick had a good overall game. I liked his aggressiveness. There were a lot of positives, it comes down to making plays. Unfortunately we missed free throws but we were still able to get a nice win out of it and get back in the series.
(On Derrick's quick start with 15 points in the first quarter.)
We need Derrick to be aggressive and we need him to score. We ran the screen and roll for him and he made a lot of plays. It is nothing we haven't seen all year, he's really feeling good about his floater. We try to get him into those spots where he can hit the floater. A couple of times in the fourth quarter he had some isolations and pulled for jumpers. I would have preferred that he attacked the basket and get them in the penalty. They put LeBron on him at the end, we were just a little bit tougher, a little more effective. They still hit 14 threes and they got offensive rebounds which was a problem for us.
(Kirk's offense was non-existent in the first two games, how big is it to have both guards scoring?)
Any team is different when you can knock down shots. Kirk did not shoot the ball well the first two games but he does a lot of things for us, intangibles that are not on the stat sheet. All the rotations that he does, he's in the right spot and he provides leadership, stats to me at time can be overblown. Kirk has been as consistent a player for us in terms of leadership and defensive ability. It was only a matter of time before he broke out. We needed him to play well and he had a monster game for us. When you can have that production from your back court, that is a positive. Flip Murray gave us some good minutes and James Johnson did not play a lot of minutes but he played good defense on LeBron. Whenever you can shoot 50 percent that is a huge plus. They have shot well the first two games and today we were able to hold their shooting percentage down and that was the difference for us.
(LeBron playing defense on Derrick at the end, a sign of respect?)
We tried to open the court up a little bit with the screen and roll. There was one play where he pulled up for the jump shot and I would have liked for him to attack the basket.. That is why making the playoffs is so important, especially for the younger guys. It gives you a chance to see things and work on things, playoff basketball is different. And all the things we go through now are hopefully going to pay dividends in the long run. I'm pleased with how the guys fought, we made our adjustments. Usually when you bring good energy and a sense of urgency, good things happen. We shot it better and our rotations were better. I just wished we could have made a few free throws down the stretch. Give the Cavs credit for having such a big fourth quarter.
Cleveland is the No. 1 seed for a reason. We're going to have to play our best basketball on Sunday to even the series up. We put a little pressure on them but just because we're at home doesn't automatically mean we're going to play that much better. We have to have the right mindset, the right focus, and come in here hungry with a sense of urgency. We know we're going to have to play our best basketball of the year.
(On the game.)
I thought our rotations were pretty good even though they made some threes. Mo hit some deep, deep threes at the end there. We'll have to look at that. We can't give that up. We can't give those types of things up.
(On the foul on Varejao at the end.)
I wanted to foul. I didn't want to give LeBron a chance to have the basketball. He has the ability with this strength and size to jump over you and knock threes down. Didn't want to give him a chance to tie it up. I figure I would take our chances at the line. I have confidence in my free throw shooters so we could go back and forth with that.
(Did you feel you were in a similar situation to LeBron in the game having to make shots?)
No way, I was nowhere near the kind of groove he was in that game. I think our fans are the best in the NBA. I did feel confident taking shots and trying to make plays late in the game.
(On the crowd:)
The atmosphere was crazy. Those were die hard Bulls fans and they were totally into the game. We knew watching tape that this was going to be a tough game and we found a way to get the victory.
(On their overall performance:)
My biggest thing was just sticking together. No turnovers. When they went on the run, we missed 5 or 6 shots in a row. We were trying to cut down on our turnovers because when you commit turnovers against them they get a lot of open shots on the break.
(Were you surprised that LeBron was guarding you at the end of the game?)
Yeah, it surprised me a little bit, but it was fun out there.
(On his 0 turnover performance:)
Randy Brown usually tells me that after every game. He's probably more excited about that than I am. With my type of game, I tend to make a few too many turnovers. But I've really been trying to make smarter decisions.
(On the MVP chant:)
Don't listen to them. Just don't listen. I almost passed out. Maybe one year, but not this year. I just want to win games right now.
(On Brad Miller:)
Brad makes us tough when he hits his shot. We tell him to shoot the ball but he really like to drive. The slowest guy in the NBA and he's out there trying to drive. But, he's a big part of our team and it's huge when he's making his shot.
(On the win after being down 0-2.)
It was definitely a huge win for us. It's a game where we went through a lot of adversity. They came back at the end but we held them off. Derrick Rose played big for us. We feel we can play with them. It's good to be in a situation where we handle our business like tonight.
(On their confidence.)
We felt like in game two they hit a lot of shots where guys wouldn't hit them throughout the series. Defensively, we played really good and we stayed with our defensive plan. With LeBron coming down the lane, we tried to take it away from him and force the other to take jump shots.
(On their play down the stretch.)
Derrick Rose was huge for us. I'm glad he's on our team. Those floaters were huge for us. They need to get the ball out of his hands.
(On the LeBron charge call.)
On (Luol's) charge call I was worried about it. I saw the ball went in and one ref looked like he would call a block but looked at the second ref and he called a charge. I may be biased but I thought it was a charge.
(On his foul trouble.)
Stupid, stupid, stupid. I can't get them going for offensive rebounds. I also shouldn't have jumped on (LeBron's) jump shot fake. Our game plan is to force him to shoot long twos. It's always tough when you're on the bench and can't help. I have to do a better job staying on the court.
(On being the soul of the team.)
At the end of the day, you just have to go out and play basketball. We all understand our role. We're a close team and understand each other. It's great for our confidence to beat a team like this, it's a huge lift for us and we feel that we can compete with them.