Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Spurs
(On the game tonight): “That was a tough one. I really thought our guys played hard. We gave a heck of an effort against a very good basketball team. One thing we didn’t want to give up at the end of the game was a three. That’s the one thing we talked about in the huddle. Don’t give up a three, and we give up a three. It was just a loss of focus at that time of the game, which is unfortunate because I thought we played pretty well throughout the game.”
(On the last offensive play): “It was just give the ball to Kyrie at the top of the key. You have three seconds to see if he can make a play.”
(On Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller): “Our two rookies played well tonight. I thought Dion was good on both ends of the floor. He was into the game. I thought Tyler was great tonight by just giving us a physical presence, giving us some extra possessions and doing some good things on the offense end. So, I thought our two young rookies played really well tonight.”
(On Kawhi Leonard’s three-pointer at the end of the game): “One thing we always talk about is to never help off the corners. We don’t leave corner shooters, and they’re such a good corner shooting team. So, I have to look at (the tape) to see what exactly happened. I know Tony (Parker) was being guarded and we tried to trap him a little bit and he went around Tyler. I still thought Tyler was there. I didn’t know if Dion really needed to come or not, so again, I have to see it on tape first…Our thinking was still to make (Tony) shoot over Tyler. You don’t leave Mr. Leonard in that corner because the last thing you want to do is give up a three. We can live with a tie game or go into overtime, but you don’t want to give up a three.”
(On the final play of the game): “(Tony Parker) cut me off and I tried to spin. He bodied me a little bit and I lost my balance and that’s basically it.”
(On if the team takes solace in a game like tonight’s): “Absolutely. Everybody did their job tonight and we competed for the entire 48 minutes. We had a defensive letdown and that led to Kawhi Leonard’s three, but that’s what happens in the game and we had a chance to win it.”
(On tonight’s loss): “It’s terrible; we played hard. That’s one of the best teams in the NBA right now. I blame myself. I helped too far when I came over.”
(On if this game is part of the growing pains as a team): “We only learn from it at the end of the day. I hate to lose that way. We played hard. We battled hard. We just came up short and it hurts.”
(On the final minute of the game): “We made a mental error at the end. We were up by two and we know that two couldn’t kill us, but a three could definitely hurt us. It was just a mental breakdown, but that’s the game of basketball. (San Antonio) is a good team and we fought all night. I’m proud of the guys, but what would have made it better was a win.”
(On if he took anything away from almost beating the Spurs): “We beat ourselves; it wasn’t anything that they did. We felt that we made mental errors down the stretch; that’s what makes this loss hurt even more. We don’t feel like they beat us, we feel like we beat ourselves. We’ve got to take it and learn from it.”
Spurs HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH
(On if Kawhi Leonard’s game winning shot was by design): “If Tony had an open layup he would have gotten the layup. He beat the guy and everyone had to come in and that’s the alternative.”
(On doubling Kyrie Irving on the final shot of the game): “It depended on a couple of things. Overall, we wanted Tony to pressure him as far out as he possibly could and for the other two guys to be tight on the elbows to make it crowded. We didn’t want him to have the three. We wanted him to put it down and drive in some way, shape, or form and have the help there. Fortunately, he slipped.”
(On the way his team performed against Kyrie and the Cavaliers): “I thought Tony did a fantastic job. Kyrie is a tremendous player. Their team is a fine young team. They’re just not experienced. They played hard. They battled us. They deserved to win the game as much as we did.”
(On a review of the Cavaliers this year): “They’ve obviously improved. They have talent. There is talent left and right on the team. They are young and it’s about developing that talent and developing it in the system. Kyrie had a tough night but he’s had an unbelievable year. Tristan and Zeller are both very good bigs. They’ve got some pieces in place. It’s about developing that talent and growing together.”
(On if he was able to play earlier on the road trip): “Yeah I could have but sitting here right now…I’m glad I waited. It’s an injury that I didn’t want to re-occur throughout the rest of the season. All that was going to help it was rest.”
• The Cavaliers had just 11 turnovers tonight and are averaging 12.2 miscues over their last 14 games.
• Cleveland shot .867 (13-15) from the foul line tonight and are shooting .807 (422-523) from the charity stripe since December 28th.
• Dion Waiters finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-15 (.533) shooting, six rebounds, four assists and one steal in 31 minutes. Tonight marked Waiters eighth 20-plus point game. Over his last six games, Waiters is averaging 13.5 points on .531 shooting from the field, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 26.5 minutes per game.
• Tyler Zeller recorded a near double-double with 16 points on 7-10 (.700) shooting from the field, nine rebounds, four assists and one block in 34 minutes.
• Tristan Thompson tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes. Over his last 27 games, Thompson is averaging 14.4 points on .519 shooting and 10.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 33.7 minutes per game.
• Marreese Speights recorded a near double-double with nine points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench and is averaging 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game in 10 contests as a Cavalier.