Game 4 Quotes: Cavaliers at Bulls
(On tonight's game)
It's good to get a win, especially a win on the road. When we get on the road, we need our defense to be great. It was good to see us get back to who we are. That is, a defensive team. LeBron was terrific with his triple-double tonight. He also set the tone for us defensively. He talked defense the whole game. That is who we are and who we want to be. Antawn was also active for us at both ends. Mo was active offensively and knocked down his shots. Then J.J. gave us a big lift off the bench. The guys set the tone defensively tonight that is what we want to be. The Bulls want to get out in transition and we needed to get back on defense. I thought we did a better job of that tonight in the second half. The playoffs are a possession game. We had trouble in that area and were turning the ball over earlier. We did a better job tonight. We also need to keep them off the glass. I thought the guys did a terrific job tonight.
(On J.J. Hickson's play)
Andy and Shaq had two fouls late in the first quarter or early second. I knew I wanted to go with him if it came down to needing another big. We looked for him to buy us a few minutes and he did. After game three, I felt I needed to have Shaq on the floor more but he got in foul trouble.
(On LeBron James' game)
A: I hate to ever downplay anything the man does, his triple-double tonight was terrific. It was a spectacular performance and it's what this man is capable of doing. He tries to utilize all who are around him and you can see that in his 11 assists. What is his range? If he can get the ball over half court, I am sure he can get a jump shot off. If there's time on the shot and he gets a decent look from 29 or 30 feet, I'm confident it will go in.
(On the impact of the game three loss)
Last year we had no obstacles early, we won eight straight. That loss tested us and we had to see if we would stay together and come out and play hard and win. I've told these guys we need to have a bunker mentality, there are going to be ups and downs. Staying together like we did is how we won.
(On making buzzer beaters)
They are back breaking shots, they are momentum makers.
(On the team's confidence level)
We have always been a confident bunch. We can't go from Game 1 and worry about Game 2.
(You let them stay in the game in the beginning)
We were turning the ball over, not getting back on defense and letting them control the offensive boards.
(On their confidence level)
I have a great group of guys who know this is the toughest time of the season. As a leader, I have to keep my confidence level up and it will trickle down to the other guys.
(On getting a big lead in the 3rd quarter)
We did a great job moving the ball around and I did a great job keeping my team prepared. This series is so important. Game 5 is the most important game of our season.
(On Antawn Jamison)
He was great, he was the X factor. It's hard to cover him. He goes around 3's and over 4's. I'm glad he is on our side because I have been on the other side of him for years.
(On Joakim Noah)
He is very active, very long. If you don't get a body on him around the basket, he will tip it in.
(How did you feel about having a rookie on you with 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter?)
For me at that point, we were in the penalty so we needed to go to the basket. For me it didn't matter who was in front of me- James Johnson, Luol Deng- I just needed to go to the basket.
(At the end of the second quarter, something snapped)
We had a carryover from the last game, we were not matching their energy. We knew we were still playing with them evenly. We knew that as a team, for things to go our way we had to step it up defensively and limit their transition points. We just got fed up, they played hard, they did a good job in game three, they're a young team and the more and more they stick with you the more confidence they gain. We just wanted to do a better job, especially going into halftime to get a lead and some momentum.
(You came out aggressively against Luol Deng)
After game three our team in general was very frustrated. We put ourselves in a difficult position, we did a nice job making it close at the end. We could not afford to let a team like this gain momentum and confidence. We saw what they did against Boston last year in the first round, we knew we had to keep loading up the middle. They had four or five guys in double figures, we knew we had to buckle down. LeBron and Shaq did a great job as far as setting the tone. Shaq took a couple of hard fouls and LeBron did a great job playing defense all over the place. When you have your two Hall of Famers doing that, it trickles down to the rest of the team.
(On the opportunity to win a ring)
It is the chance of a lifetime. I've been in the league for 12 years now and have not gotten past the second round. Every year at this time I'm watching other teams. Come June, I am sick. It is very frustrating. Winning a ring is the only thing that drives me now. It is the only thing left for me to accomplish. My name has been associated with a great teammate, but one thing I want my name to be associated with is champion. Hopefully this is our opportunity and it is a great one.
(On LeBron's overall efficiencies)
I knew he was in the zone, he was really focused. He had that look in his eye. We needed him to play a great game. He did a great job setting the tone and putting guys on his back. He is a great leader and a great communicator in the locker room and in the huddle. Anytime you have a guy like that who is focused enough and determined enough to get a win for his team there are not many organizations that have a guy like that.
(On him being the X factor in this series)
I would not say that I have to have big games, I do have to have a presence that does not necessarily mean scoring points. I need to be a factor in other ways, playing defense, diving for the loose ball. If I can have that kind of presence for the team we will be okay.
HEAD COACH VINNY DEL NEGRO
(It was nip and tuck in the 1st half and then James Johnson came in and picked up fouls and the momentum shifted)
I don't think it was just one guy. Overall in the 2nd half of the 2nd quarter we took quick shots. They got out on the break and that put us on our heels and they got into the penalty with a couple of fouls. They got that cushion at half time. Momentum is a big thing. In the 3rd quarter, we were just one pass and a shot. We were not making them guard enough. They got in the open court and they made shots. We were not able to make shots tonight. When you shoot 37 or 38% that does not put any pressure on them at all. Against a team like that it is hard.
(LeBron said he loves Chicago but he is not coming back)
We have to play better there. Game 2 was very close and the 1st game we were down 7 with 6:21 to go. We missed some tough shots and a couple of guys for them stepped up and made plays. We have to play better than we did tonight. Statistically if you look at it we had offensive rebounds, we had more turnovers but it was not way up there, our fast break points were good. It came down to LeBron and Jamison. We could not control him. We will bounce back, we have to go battle. I know how difficult it is to play in Cleveland. No excuses. We have to battle and make them earn it.
(Assists were way down)
Our shots broke down. You have to put the ball in the basket. If we shot 50% like last game, those 14 assists become over 20 and there becomes a different complexion of the game. I don't think we took a lot of bad shots. We did take a lot of quick shots. We had one pass and shoot instead of penetrating and make them guard a little bit. We have to do a better job of moving the ball from strong to weak side. We did not put a lot of pressure on them. Against Cleveland you have to take a lot of pressure away. Those guys are going to make a lot of difficult baskets.
(On their 3 point shooting)
LeBron gets to the middle of the court and they shoot the corner 3 very well. If you don't help out, LeBron is going to get to the basket or dump it off to their wide open shooters. We had been doing a good job of keeping them from the middle. Their other guys made some plays. You have to give Cleveland credit. Mo Williams was very solid for them. What it came down to was we were not very efficient offensively.
(On the end of the first quarter and into the second)
They were playing great defense, making us shoot contested shots and getting out and running. LeBron was hitting some crazy shots.
(Was Cleveland's intensity level different today?)
They were switching up people and putting a lot of different people on me. If anything, they just out-hustled us today.
(When you were down, did you settle on too many jump shots?)
Definitely. I think that's what happened in this game. It hurt us down the stretch.
(Does it bother you when they put a bigger guy on you?)
A: No, if anything, it gave me a little confidence. When someone who's bigger than me, it's easier to go around them.
(The series is 3-1, do you have to take over from here?)
I have to play more aggressively, but we have to play as a team, take away the jump shots and attack the hole. My confidence level is high, I will not let it go down.
(Of not taking advantage of having them in the penalty in the first half)
When we had the lead, we should have run some more effective plays. Run some pick-and-rolls and attacked the basket. And even if you couldn't make the shot you could dump it off to a big and maybe they could get to the line.
(On everyone saying it's over now that you're down 3-1)
I know that we have to play another game. My confidence is high and my team will follow me.
(Do you guys think you can take it to the next level next year?)
The future looks bright but right now we're in the playoffs, I'm not thinking about next year.
(On the last 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter)
I just think we weren't very tough mentally today. We were playing good ball and then just collapsed. We’re a young tame and have to learn from this. When things are not going our way, we can't put our heads down. Tonight we just broke down when things were not going our way. We have to get stops and play our game and when we didn't we had our heads down. That includes me as I have to bring the energy. It wasn't good tonight especially playing in front of our home crowd to have a performance like this is disappointing.
(On the 2nd half)
I think they are definitely more aggressive team than us, especially in the 2nd half. In the 1st, we started out more aggressive and played pretty well. It all started to collapse in the last 3 minutes of the 1st half especially at the defensive end.
(On his role as an emotional leader)
I just tried to effect winning as much as I can. That's all I care about, winning. (On being the 1st Bull with 20/20 in the playoffs) Right now, it means nothing to me. Winning is all the counts.
(On LeBron's play)
We're not demoralized. We did a pretty good job most of the time on him. You just have to find a way to get the ball out of his hands. If LeBron has 40, you can't let Jamison have 25 and Williams get 19. We have to slow down the other guys. Good players like him hit shots from all over the court. You can't control that. Jamison is a very good player as well. We just have to find a way to get him to his counters. Make him use his left hand. We can't let Jamison get 25 if LeBron is getting 40.
(On bouncing back in game 5)
We definitely can't feel sorry for ourselves. We have been pretty tough and resilient all year. We have fought through a lot of adversity all year. We will be ready in Cleveland.