Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Knicks - March 1st, 2010

(On tonight’s game):
“It was a good win. I thought that after getting up big, we did a nice job of staying focused, coming out in the third quarter and trying to close and finish the game the right way. Give everybody in that locker room credit for trying to string a game together for 48 minutes, even though we were fortunate to get off to a big lead.”

(On J.J. Hickson’s play as of late):
“J.J. was good tonight for us. When he’s out on that floor, with LeBron especially, he’s extremely active and his activity is something that gives us a lift on both ends of the floor. He played the center spot against Dwight (Howard) a little bit and did OK. He can’t play (center) for extended minutes, but as long as he goes in there and tries to be physical without fouling every time down the floor, then he will give us something because of his athleticism. He’s played minutes (at center), so it is not all new to him.”

(On if the big win was a product of hustle):
“I give the guys in the locker room a lot of credit. They came out and they played hard. They were focused and shared the ball; we had 20 assists at halftime. New York had scored some buckets in the second half, especially in that third quarter and we really came out and defended. That was really fun to watch. I just think that our guys really played the right way. Coach D’Antoni is a good coach. He’s got it tough right now because of all the trades that they made and with where they are sitting. We were just fortunate to jump out to a big lead and be able to run away with it.”

(On running more of a fast break offense and tempo):
“We want to go out and push the basketball no matter how big we are out on the floor and if we get stops, it’s going to allow us to run. We encourage that. Our biggest thing is getting stops. I’m not a huge fan of the old Sacramento, old Dallas, old Phoenix (styles of play) because the success for that formula in the playoffs hasn’t been that high. You have got to have a foundation and our foundation is on the defensive end of the floor. Tonight I thought that our guys brought it for most of the 48 minutes, but when the opportunity was there when we got stops, everybody got out and ran. We didn’t have many leak outs and that was fun to watch.”

(On making the decision to start J.J. Hickson at center tonight):
“It was a gut feeling. We started, obviously, Andy the last time around and I just felt that Andy coming off the bench gives us terrific minutes. J.J. in the starting lineup feeds off of LeBron and the rest of the guys very well, so why not go out there and see what happens. It happened yesterday as a matter of fact right before practice. I just felt it and went over to Andy and said, ‘hey Andy, this is what I’m thinking about doing. How do you feel?’ He said, ‘whatever Coach.’ So I told him to switch teams right when we started practice and scripted it.”

(On Anderson Varejao):
“Andy is terrific. I’m not a huge plus/minus or stat guy, but if he is not the top in the NBA, he’s got to be in the top five. Some of the names up there that you see around Andy are remarkable names: LeBron, Kobe and those types of guys. If you’re up there in any way shape or form, then you deserve recognition. The tough part about it is that he doesn’t score a lot of points, so he may not get the recognition he deserves for Sixth Man of the Year or anything like that. If people don’t vote for him to be Defensive Player of the Year or first team all-defense, then not many people really watch the game closely because he impacts this game on that end of the floor like no other guy. He impacts it so much that I don’t know how he can’t have many votes for Sixth Man of the Year also.”

(On the team’s fast break success):
“We have to get stops (first)…then we can get out and run. We have athletic guys who can get out on the break and finish at the rim. It’s not something that we practice a lot, but we do practice throwing the ball ahead and getting into our sets early.”

(On J.J. starting at center):
“His athleticism is great. It allows us to play different types of defenses, switching the pick and roll and covering for one another. Offensively, it allows us to play differently with Antawn in there to stretch the floor.”

(On tonight’s game):
“You’re not going to have the same pace all game, but you want to keep getting better and I think we did that. We didn’t have any lapses at all and in a game like this, you can. The last time we played we had the same type of first half, but in the second half we let down. We didn’t do that tonight and that’s good.”

(On the team’s recent offensive success):
“We’re moving the ball, getting up and down the floor. We’re playing together. We aren’t saying (to ourselves) ‘let’s go out and score 120’, it just happens in the flow. We have guys that can make shots and that want to play defense.”

(On going up against bigger players at center):
“When I go out there I have the mindset that I have to be aggressive defensively or I’m not going to play. I just go out there and play my hardest.”

(On the opportunity to play more with Shaquille O’Neal out):
“This is another opportunity to show what I can do. We miss the Big Fella and can’t wait until he gets back.”

(On playing with the first unit):
“I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable with this unit going forward with me just getting more playing time. Also the fact that I’ve been playing with number 2 (Mo Williams) and number 23 (LeBron James), it’s made my job so much easier where I just have to run the floor or set a pick and roll to the basket and I know it’s going to be there because our whole team is unselfish.”

(On the game and Knicks):
“They (Cavs) out-classed us, out-matched us, out-played us and (we) kind of gave up in the third quarter. I thought the other guys came in the fourth quarter and did a good job, but obviously they’re (Cavs) a little bit better team than we are.”

(On Knicks defensive problems):
“We just couldn’t guard them. They’re just too big, too fast and LeBron (James) is the best, and (Anderson) Varejao had his way on the offensive rebound, J.J. Hickson’s athleticism. In a game like this, somebody like Will (Wilson Chandler), who at least has the athleticism, can match up a little bit. Otherwise, we just couldn’t match up with them.”

(On Varejao’s offensive rebounding and its impact):
“Very discouraging, I’m sure for the players on the floor it was discouraging because you could see they were just getting frustrated as the game went on. They’re just a lot better than we are.”

(On Knicks competitive level):
“I felt like in the third quarter, we just…again, if anybody has run up a hill with a 100-pound bag of concrete on them, after awhile, they just couldn’t go anymore. We wanted them to, they wanted to, it didn’t happen, and we just have to get back on the horse on Wednesday and try to do it.”

(On going through changes and transition as a franchise, is it worth it for next year):
“I’ll tell you next year. OK? I can’t tell you right now, obviously, right now, it’s pretty frustrating for everybody, but this is what we’re doing and we’ll see where it’s at.”

(On the game):
“That’s a team (Cavs), I feel, is going to contend for a championship. That’s one helluva team. They’ve got the best player in the game (James), great role players. We’re just a team trying to find ourselves. They (Cavs) are playing for something bigger than what we are really playing for. They just pretty much outplayed us across the whole board.”

(On Knicks defensive problems):
“If you try to put too much on keying in on LeBron, which his basketball IQ is off the charts and his guys compete well off of him – he finds guys – they’ve just got a lot of weapons. You’ve got a guy who can pass the ball like that, score, he can pass, you’ve got to pick your poison. They got points in the paint, they got transition, whatever they wanted tonight, that’s pretty much what they got.”

(On fighting back from such a large deficit):
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to have some sort of pride. Regardless of what the score is, you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to keep competing. It happens, it happens in this league, you just don’t want it to happen that often. It was a case where we just pretty much got outplayed.”

(On what is next for Knicks):
“You’ve just got to bounce back. We’ve got a game Wednesday at home, and we definitely don’t want to put out this type of effort at home. That’s really embarrassing. So, we’ll just bounce back and come with a different type of focus and be ready to go.”

(On his health):
“I’m disappointed because at the same time, physically, I’m not able to really go out there and do what I want to do. I kind of put my foot down on stopping that embarrassment, I’m just not physically able to do that right now. It’s tough and it’s frustrating, I’ve just got to keep on pushing through. It (knee) is not getting any worse. That’s the positive sign. But, again, it’s a struggle for me right now on the floor, but I’m making progress.”

(On Cavs having fun):
“They have a lot of fun here at home. It’s tough to beat them at home. You’ve got guys who make plays like that, on pretty much every possession, I’d have fun too. If it’s that easy, you get 60-some points in the paint, that many guys break out, why not have fun. I don’t blame them for celebrating, we have to do something about it, it is what it is.”