Game 1 Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Celtics

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HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN

(On tonight’s game):
“What a ballgame. I thought early on, we struggled. Boston obviously is a good defensive team. I thought we had a couple of good looks that didn’t go in, which gave them momentum. Our defense wasn’t quite there, especially in the paint on the weak side. The good thing about it is that we stuck together. There was a trust that you could feel on the floor throughout the course of the game, no matter if we were up or we were down. Guys just stayed together. As the course of the game went on, we kept our composure, whether it was Shaq keeping his composure because of the foul trouble or Mo keeping his composure because he missed shots or whatever early on. The trust and that defensive identity that we want to establish and continue establishing, turned out OK for us. Mo did a terrific job in the third quarter of knocking down shots and getting to the rim. The transition play was fantastic. I thought that Andy came up with some 50/50 balls or some loose balls that were huge for us. He garnered us extra possessions in that third quarter that we needed. A lot of those possessions that he got were off of a rebound or loose ball or whatever, we were able to convert into points. I thought that J.J. and Delonte early on, they brought us energy when we were struggling for a little bit. I thought in the fourth quarter, Shaq was big for us on both ends of the floor. He was a presence in the paint and he hit some big baskets for us when we kind of stalled out a little bit offensively. Obviously, LeBron came in and closed the game. He is our closer. A great group effort tonight on both ends. But like I said, most impressive was our composure, our trust that we had and then our ability to defend the way that we will need to throughout the course of the series, especially protecting that paint on the weak side of the floor.”

(On J.J. Hickson’s play tonight):
“I thought we were a little flat and Shaq got in a little foul trouble. I thought J.J. might be able to bring us some energy, some quickness, some athleticism and give Boston a different look, so I threw him out there and he did. All our guys obviously all year, we have said that they have kept themselves ready to play and J.J. is in that category. J.J. is going out there in some of these playoff games and impacted the game the right way on both ends. I thought he did tonight.”

(On Shaq playing the fourth quarter):
“Shaq got in early foul trouble in the third and I knew I hadn’t played him a ton of minutes because of the foul trouble. He did a terrific job of keeping himself composed and keeping himself in the game mentally. When we put him back out there in the fourth, I just thought his presence was big factor in the way we defended in the fourth quarter. Not only that, we went to him a couple of times, more than a couple tonight. In that fourth quarter he delivered at crunch time, which gave LeBron, gave Mo, gave Antawn just enough breathing time to get themselves ready to go and close the game. He definitely played extremely well in that fourth quarter and earned the (nine) minutes or whatever he played in that fourth quarter on the floor.”

(On LeBron playing through elbow pain tonight):
“You gave me more information than I know. I didn’t think he was favoring his elbow in the first half. Maybe you saw it better than I did, I don’t know. He didn’t complain about it to me, our trainer didn’t say anything to me about it. I thought he has some pretty good looks from right around the basket that just popped out on him. He is a guy that is going to deliver. With the team that we have, he didn’t have to press in the first half. I thought that, more than anything else, was going on. He had an opportunity, I thought, to press a little bit, but watching him he was continuing to try to look for his teammates, even though at times Boston wasn’t coming to double team. Just as the game went along, he got more aggressive and more aggressive and more aggressive and shots started to fall. You would have to ask him because there was not one thing said about his elbow to me by him, by our trainers and I did not see him favoring it at all tonight.”


LEBRON JAMES

(On Rondo’s play):
“I think Rondo is really good. He’s grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. That’s another reason why he was an All Star. He poses a threat to our interior because he’s so fast and gets into our interior. He breaks our interior down where he’s able to get a layup or kick out for a three-pointer like we saw tonight with Ray one time, or a couple layups for KG or for Perkins. We have to do a better job of trying to keep him out of the paint. We did a great job in the second half. In the first half he was able to get in the paint and continue to get layups and shoot floaters and get to the free throw line. Rondo is definitely a really good point guard in this league and he is going to continue to be one of the best that we have.”

(On if he waited to shoot jumpers because of his elbow):
“I got into the paint a few times and my first five shots were all in the paint and I missed four of them. I missed three of four layups, shots that I usually make. I was able to still be aggressive and get to the free throw line and be aggressive that way. As far as me worrying about shooting a jumper or shooting outside the three point line, I just take what the defense gives me. Mo came up to me at some point and he knew that my elbow was bothering me a little bit, He was telling me to stay focused and not to worry about it and to just play your game like you would play it if it wasn’t injured. After that point, I started to get it, he started to get it going and it was a good game between the two of us and our team.”

(On how his elbow feels):
“It’s been better, but it’s no excuse for me. I don’t make any excuses and I’ll be ready any day.”

(On the three-point shooting):
“You have to attack against a real aggressive defensive team and that’s what Boston is. They try to force you to take jumpers but you can’t settle all the time. It’s going to start with me first and its going to trickle down to everyone else that we can’t settle. We are a good three-point shooting team and if we have looks, we have to take them. Even though sometimes it may look like you have a good three-point shot, you have a better drive and you have to take it. You have to continue to put pressure on a defense that’s very aggressive and that’s what we did tonight. We were able to get to the free throw line 31 times and only took 12 three’s. That’s a good ratio to have. We have guys that can catch and shoot threes if the opportunity is there and we’re going to take them, but if not, we’re going to be aggressive also.”

(On watching Mo and Shaq play big late):
“It’s great, anytime you have help and I’ve had it all year. It’s something I’ve never worried about; guys stepping up. This being Mo’s second postseason, I think last year has definitely helped him this year to be more comfortable with the situation, with games. First round and now the second round, he’s more comfortable with himself, he’s more comfortable with the role, being at a bigger stage. Shaq has been around this block more than once. He knows how to take advantage of certain situations. At one point the score was 90-90 and we go down to Shaq and he makes an up and under and puts us back up two. And also, late in the game, I was able to find him on a roll and he stuck with the play and got a tip in. Mo was great in the third quarter. He started with a dunk and he came off shooting, shooting, shooting. He got to the free throw line a couple times. It’s great when you can sit back and let your teammates take over on offense and I can just worry about the defensive end.”

(On his reaction to Mo dunking):
“I knew Mo could dunk. I told Mo, a long time ago, if he ever dunked a basketball in a game, it was definitely going to spark us in some way that we haven’t been sparked before and he just looked at me and laughed. He remembered me telling him that. I said ‘if you dunk the basketball, it’s going to be so unexpected that it’s going to fire up the whole team’. Not only did it fire up the whole team, it fired himself up. He was able to take over in the third quarter. It was a big momentum play. I told him he can’t do it every time, you have to keep guys guessing as to when you’re going to dunk the basketball and when you’re not.”

(On if he came out tentative and if he took a shot to help get better):
“I did not take any shots. I don’t like needles so I didn’t do that. I came here early, got a workout in, but I stayed close to the rim. I tried not to hyperextend it any worse that it was. Did I come out a little tentative? I thought about it a little bit too much. Mo could see me thinking about it. It’s kind of the first real injury I’ve had to play with, especially with it being on my shooting hand. I came out tentative but if I’m on the court, then I have to be productive. I’m not a guy to make excuses. We’re not a team to make excuses. It starts with me so if I’m on the court, I have to be productive and if I can’t be productive, I might as well just sit down.”


MO WILLIAMS

(On if it was his first dunk as a Cavalier):
“As a Cavalier in a game, yes. It was a big play. If you see me do it all the time, it would have just been a normal play. You see LeBron, you see Delonte, those guys go on a break, Jamario is another, and they throw it down all the time. I think anything uncharacteristic that happens, it always sparks energy. Obviously when me and LeBron get on a break, I’m looking to throw a lob to him and get him going and try to get (the defense) to commit to him. My first instinct was, he didn’t commit to going in for the layup and I saw him jump in. Paul is 6’7”, 6’8” and I thought he would block the layup. My intention was to kind of shoot what I call a floater layup and try to fade away from him a little bit so he couldn’t get to it. I realized I was a little high. So I was like ‘I think I might try it’. It turned out good. It was a great feeling. I’ll tell you that.”

(On his second-half defense):
“I thought defensively, we were more active. Early on, I didn’t think our defense was the problem. I thought we came out and played well. I thought we missed a lot of easy shots that we normally make, wide open looks that we had. I think that triggered their transition. That’s what they’re exceptionally well at. Second half, we slowed the game down to our tempo, ran at opportune times when we needed to run. I thought we controlled the tempo in the second half and that was a key. We stopped their fast break. A situation where they would kick out for a three with Ray or Paul and guys closed out on them and made them shoot tough shots. Where in the first half, they were flowing into it and knocking those shots down or getting layups. If it was Rondo getting in the paint shooting his floaters or going to the line or dropping off to a big for a layup or a dunk.”

(On the rivalry):
“I think it’s well documented. They don’t like us and I think it’s vice versa. That’s what makes the game fun. I think that’s what the game is played for. The fans did a great job today. I mentioned briefly in the locker room after the game how loud it was…I think it’s something we need, something we feed upon, something that gives us energy in times when we need it and it affects the other team. When you’re playing on the road and their fans are dead loud, it does affect you. As myself and as my teammates, we want to give our fans a lot of credit for this victory also.”

(On Rondo):
“He’s the engine to their vehicle and we know that. He’s a tough cover, but at the same time, I thought as a team in the second half, we did a really good job on him. That had a lot to do with the way we played in the second half. We made shots…We shot 20-30% throughout the first half and when you do those things, you’re playing into Rondo’s hands. You’re down one or two guys and when he gets on that break, it’s tough to guard him. He did a great job in the first half. I thought the second half we did a wonderful job on him.”

(On how important it is for him to have a strong Game One):
“Game one sets the tone. Individually and as a team. You obviously want to win Game One as a team, but individually you want to start off not playing catch up as far as going to the film and try to figure out how would I get better because I played a bad game or I didn’t help my team win the game. You want to go into the game and play well. Individually and as a team, we did a great job today. As we leave this press conference, Game One is behind us and we go to practice tomorrow, watch film, go over things that we can do better, especially in the first half. Take a look at that so we won’t get off to a start like that again on Monday. Game Two is important also.”

(On what the dunk did for his confidence):
“I don’t think it was a confidence. My confidence was there. It’s always there. It just gave me energy. It gave us energy as a team, but then right after that, I hit a jumper and then three or four plays in a row after that, they called my number and I was productive…one thing we do, if a guy has it going, we’re going to go to him. That was my time throughout that game. We’re such a loaded team. You can recall in the second quarter, Delonte had it going through a stretch and we went to him…I think my dunk kind of overshadowed what other guys contributed in the game. A lot of guys stepped up through stretches and it gave us a lot of help…I thought that down the stretch, Shaq was terrific. Not only on the offensive end, but on the defensive end, being a presence down there with the hard foul on Rondo. He’d been making free throws all night and you saw the free throw he took after that hard foul. Those little things help.”


J.J. HICKSON

(On his play tonight):
“It was just me adjusting to the defense. I just take what the defense gives me and I think I did a good job of that tonight.”

(On the team’s second half defense):
“I think it had a lot to do with energy, but it had a lot to do with us being at home. We play better at home and our defensive intensity tends to pick up at home. I think we did a good job in contesting their shots and not giving them easy looks, even with Ray Allen coming off a couple of pin downs and hitting tough shots. He’s going to make shots, but we did a good job of not giving him easy looks. We contested shots and got a lot of hustle plays, especially 50-50 plays.”

(On Mo’s dunk):
“Oh, man! That was a good play and it definitely got us going. Offensively after the dunk, he hit like three or four shots in a row. When he picked it up, it gave the whole team a lift and we got it done…I think it should be Top 10 on SportsCenter tonight. I was surprised he had that in him as I’ve seen him get up, but never like that. It was a great play for him.”

(On the team’s intensity rising in the second half):
“In the first half, we relied on our help too much. In the fourth quarter, we kind of buckled down. Everyone had a man. You lock up first and then rely on your help second. When we figure that out, we’re hard to stop.”


JAMARIO MOON

(On Rondo tonight):
“He’s one of the best point guards in the league. He has such great vision on the court and great speed to go along with that, and you just have to space him a little bit and try to get him to take the jump shot.”

(On Mo’s dunk):
“I thought it was definitely going to be the turning point of the game. From then on, it seemed like we made one play after another. I think that play put us over the hill. We hope he has a couple of more dunks in those calves. He played great and I’m sure he’s going to bring it every game this series.”

(On LeBron’s play tonight):
“He drives to the basket so much anyway, I wasn’t worried about his elbow. Once he drives and gets a few layups, the basket looks a little bigger and there’s nothing to worry about. He made a couple of big three-pointers towards the end of the game and we expect that of him.”

(On tonight’s playoff environment):
“It’s rough out there for the opposing team. The fans were so loud, that during a time-out, Chris Jent came over to the huddle and I had to get really close to him without looking like I was kissing him just to hear him. We need that (from our fans) though.”


ANTAWN JAMISON

(On Mo’s play tonight):
“He really did a great job of attacking the rim tonight and it really got him going. Eventually, we were going to wake up and get things going in the right direction, but that was the key point of the game.”

(On playing Rondo):
“We have to do a better job. We know what he’s capable of doing, but he just came out so aggressive and that’s something that we can ill afford to let happen. For him to get off and score that many points, but also get his teammates involved the way he did…we’ll look at the film and try to contain him.”

(On the Celtics being too old):
“They looked at what occurred through 82 games of the regular season, but this is a team that’s done it before and they know exactly what it takes to get it done. I think they are really trying to prove to the world that they aren’t too old and that the opportunity is still there. You can see the sense of urgency in their eyes to come out and win this series.”

(On the Cavs-Celtics rivalry):
“You can tell that’s there’s no love there. For me, I was telling myself this is what’s it all about. You have a team that’s done it and been there before and you have a team that’s trying to accomplish what they did a couple of years ago. It’s a sense of respect, but we know in order for us to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we have to beat them. It’s fun to be a part of it.”


HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

(On the Cavs defensive intensity in the second half):
“I don’t know what we shot, (53.7%) in the first half. We moved the ball, played in-out basketball, then we made the next passes. I thought in the third and fourth quarter, we decided to settle with our jump shots. Very rarely we go down low and play in-out basketball anymore. Their pressure had a little bit to do with it, so give them credit. I just thought we went away from our game plan and we didn’t sustain 48 minutes of focus, but give them credit. I thought they turned the heat up and we didn’t handle it very well.”

(On Mo Williams getting hot):
“It was a big stretch. He made some tough shots and that was a big stretch for him. We had done a terrific job in the first half on him. We really felt, going into this that he’s one of the guys that you really have to focus on. We talked about it. I thought we let them play way too comfortable in the second half. I thought our defensive pressure and offensive pressure was great in the first half and I thought we let down in the second half.”

(On the impact of the foul situation):
“It had an impact, but not that big. It was us. Maybe mentally, guys were worried about fouls. I told them at halftime, I don’t care if everybody fouls out by the third quarter, don’t change. We were winning because we were attacking. They won the game because they attacked in the second half. We had enough guys. I told Baby (Glen Davis), ‘I don’t care if you foul out in the first half, I don’t care but you have to be an energy guy’. He went away from being an energy guy because he was concerned about his fouls. We have enough bigs. I thought overall, the second half, we just went away from what we were supposed to do.”

(On the final few minutes of the game):
“We had some good looks at it. (Official) Jason Phillips blocked Rays wide open three one time. That was a big play actually. It’s not Jason’s fault. He was running down the floor, but Rondo got it to (Ray Allen) in a great spot and the official ran into him, but then Paul had the shot on the ball swing. Kevin had a point blank look. Perk bobbled a couple. I’m not that upset with some of the shots we had late in the game. I was just really upset with our guys execution and the next pass. We were so good in the first half. We were just swinging the ball and not settling but in the second half, I just thought we settled.”

(On if he looks back and wonders how Boston lost the game):
“No because we’re playing a pretty good team. We knew they had a run in them. It happens. I didn’t think we absorbed the run very well. They were going to make a run. You thought it would be LeBron doing it more than Mo Williams, but it was Mo Williams. I thought that stretch changed the game because he had started it even before the 11-point run. That lead could have gone to 18 or 19 for us and Mo made just amazing shots and then he kept it going. I thought that run was huge for them.”

(On if they missed a great opportunity to get a win in Cleveland and if there will be another one):
“There will be another one. There will be at least three more. I can guarantee you that. It’s just NBA basketball. Hopefully we have a great opportunity every night and hopefully we win one of them. This is not going to be easy for either team. You can see that. It’s going to be a tough series.”

(On Rondo being contained better in the second half):
“Give the Cavs credit. I thought they made some adjustments. I thought we walked the ball up the floor a ton. I thought we stopped spacing the floor and we stopped sprinting up the floor. A lot of it wasn’t Rondo’s fault. I thought Rondo kept pushing the ball up the floor, but there were three guys behind him. Give them credit. I thought they did do a better job on him and in the fourth, the fouls hurt Rondo as well, having to take him out in the stretch. That was a huge run for them.”

(On if he expects the series to go seven):
“I hope so, or five. If we can do it in five, that would be terrific…I don’t know how many games. You go into every series expecting that, but who knows. Right now, they have to feel real good. They won a game, we have nothing, so for us to make it five, we have to win a game first and then go from there.”

(On tonight’s game):
“The first half, I’ll take that all day. We can’t play much better. That was terrific. I thought we blew some opportunities, even in the first half, so I was fine with that. The fouls are the fouls. We’ll live with them.”

(On if he thought LeBron not shooting jumpers in the first half had something to do with his elbow):
“I think his elbow is fine. I’m pretty sure of it, actually. I really thought he was really trying to get everybody involved. That’s what he does. He eases into the game and he actually did a pretty good job, but he just didn’t make some shots. You knew it was coming. Actually, I thought, towards the end of the second quarter, he started his assault. He started being really aggressive.”


PAUL PIERCE

(On the game tonight):
“They’re a great team. They’re going to make a run. I thought we turned the ball over a little too much in the third quarter and let them get back in the game. Obviously, Mo Williams got going in the third, but all in all we still had a tie game with about three minutes to go. It’s all about execution and getting to loose balls. It’s going to come down to the 50-50 plays down the stretch when we have to close out games like this.”

(On what they can take away from tonight):
“Every game is played different. Both teams are going to make adjustments. When you win, you make adjustments and when you lose, you definitely make adjustments. We’re going to try and get one here in Cleveland and that is the goal.”

(On Mo Williams):
"He’s one of their main guys, so you have to expect him to come out real aggressive when he didn’t play well in the first half. We have to do a better job of being aware of their main guys like Mo and LeBron. Once he got going, we probably should have gotten the ball out of his hands…He’s good at coming off the dribble and knocking down the shots and getting to the bucket, so we’ll make the adjustments and be better next game.”

(On Rajon Rondo):
“We want him to push the tempo and get into the lane because we feel like we have a speed advantage there if we get the ball to him and it showed tonight. He was able to get into the lane, find guys and get to the free throw line. We are going to need that from him all series.”

(On his foul trouble):
“I got my third foul, which really hurt me in the first half, and I wasn’t as aggressive in the third quarter as I wanted to be. I can’t really worry about that. I just have to continue to play and be aggressive on both ends of the court and see what happens.”

(On playing with fouls):
“I’m not a player that fouls out. I’m not a player that is always in foul trouble, so I’m smart enough to keep myself on the floor without picking up fouls. I picked up a couple fouls tonight that I didn’t want to pick up, but that is the way the game goes sometimes.”


RAJON RONDO

(On the Cavs in the second half):
“I thought we stopped being aggressive and they picked it up. We turned the ball over and they capitalized on it.”

(On playing with the foul trouble):
“We stopped being aggressive. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. We stopped our pressure and they started attacking us and we fell back on our heels.”

(On Mo Williams):
“We knew he was capable of it, but he just made some shots tonight. We give him a lot of credit, because he just made some great shots. He brought them back in it personally, and they closed it out as a team.”

(On losing the lead in the second half):
“We’ve been there before. We were up at halftime again and we lost a double digit lead again and didn’t get the win.”

(On what they can take from this game):
“We did a good job of getting out to a good lead. We took that first blow. We had a double digit lead going into halftime. What more can you ask for in a road Game 1. They came out swinging and we just stopped doing what we were doing and (stopped) being aggressive.”