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Game Quotes: Cavaliers at L.A. Lakers - Jan. 15

Kevin Love
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/GettyImages

Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt

(On how it feels to put the Cavaliers losing streak behind them):
“It feels great. There’s nothing like winning basketball games. The team has been working hard. We have been all around it the last few games. Obviously with LeBron [James] coming back and Shawn [Marion] coming back, the guys have been able to play together for a few days. We’re building up to it. We had a tough game tonight. L.A. played very, very well particularly in the first half. It’s an away game and almost the tail-end of a long west coast trip. It’s not easy. I felt the guys responded extremely well.”

(On how the Cavaliers adjusted defensively in the second half):
“We locked in defensively in the second half, much like what we did the previous game against Phoenix. We got stops and we made good decisions at the offensive end that took care of the basketball tonight. We’re getting a lot of good looks at the basket. We’re this close to really, really scoring the ball because we’re getting good shots. I think we missed four or five layups in the first half alone. We had a lot of good looks from the three. We didn’t shoot a good percentage at the end of the day, but we moved the ball and we got good shots. Those balls are going to go down. There are too many good shooters on our team for that not to happen.”

(On Kevin Love’s charge on Jeremy Lin):
“That was the play of the game. Everyone is always asking me again. Kevin Love is doing a lot of things that he hasn’t done in the past and he is doing them well. Again, I take my hat off to him for his performance tonight.”

(On if it felt special watching Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play against each other):
“You know, until you just mentioned it I didn’t really think about it. Now that I have a chance to reflect a little bit, yes that’s very special. For the fans, for the players that are involved, for all of us, those are two all-time-greats going at it and going at it like two prize fighters within the context of the team. LeBron [James] obviously scored 36 points, but he got his teammates good shots. Kobe [Bryant] had 19 points and 17 assists, which speaks volume to how well he took care of his teammates. It’s great to see two guys at that level playing the game at such a level for so many years and still involving their teammates in the way that they did.”

LeBron James

(On playing against Kobe Bryant):
“It’s always fun and a pleasure. There are two big competitors and to be on the same court as him, who I looked up to when I was a child, growing up and seeing him go from high school straight into the NBA, you know, it’s fun. It’s great. I hated him being out of the league because of the injury but it’s fun having him back.”

(On the appreciation of playing with Kobe before he retires):
“You don’t take that for granted. You don’t take that for granted, for sure. You don’t have many guys that come through this sport like Kobe [Bryant].”

(On the win):
“It was huge. I mean any win for us is huge. But I think the way we battled. We fought from the beginning. We scrapped from the beginning all the way until the end.”

(On Kevin Love’s efforts):
“Like I said, you have instances during the season where you get closer. I think what Kevin [Love] did tonight, playing through the injury, he could have easily sat down for the rest of the game, but he was able to tough it out. He knocked down a three and he battled the glass. Even with his back, those are moments in the season where you know your team is making a step forward.”

Kevin Love

(On the win):
“Guys stepped up and made plays when they needed to. I tried to make a couple of big plays. I just tried to get as many boards and tried to be in the right position. I did whatever I could to help the team.”

(On his pain before the game):
“It happened right when our names were being called. It just bit on me. It was something that if I kept warm, I could be out there and still play. I tried to be as effective as possible. Ours guys made plays out there. We are happy with that and we are back in the win column.”

(On the team’s performance):
“I think guys all around are making big plays. Guys like Tristan Thompson made big plays tonight. I thought his rebounding was really great. He had a big three in the corner. Obviously, LeBron [James] was great tonight when he needed to be. Guys like that really made the difference for us tonight.”

Kyrie Irving

(On playing with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James):
“It was great to be a part of it. [They are] two great players going at it. I want to be a part of that as a competitor. Who knows how long that will last. It’s great to be a part of it.”

(On the win):
“We need every one. Everyone is going for it. Obviously we’re dealing with a lot of scrutiny a lot of criticism but the only thing that matters is our locker room. We have each other’s back in here. We’re going to go out there and compete and this is the only thing that matters.”

(On dealing with scrutiny):
“We all deal with it in some sort. There is always going to be a finger pointed. There is always going to be someone not doing something. There is always going to be an umbrella over our team just because of the players on our team. That’s just part of the game. We have to accept it and move on. The most important thing is that as long as we can look each other in the eye, everything is ok. That’s all that matters.”

Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott

(On whether he was expecting Kobe Bryant’s performance tonight):
“Like I said the first game back after four or five days he’s going to be a little rusty. He got a better sense of his timing and everything tonight. We knew he could play like this. It’s just going to be up and down depending on how much rest I give him if it’s four or five days, or if it’s a couple of days after a game or one day. We knew he was going to play much better tonight.”

(On whether he worries about preserving Kobe Bryant when he’s guarding someone like LeBron James):
“No matter what, if it’s 30 minutes or 32 minutes, Kobe [Bryant] is going to play one way. Except he gets a little extra gear and a little more focus when it’s somebody like LeBron [James]. His intent becomes sky-high.”

(On how difficult it was to find someone to take care of LeBron James):
“It was very difficult. He’s probably the best in this league. [He has] tremendous talent. The last couple of minutes because he was guarding Kobe [Bryant], Kobe [Bryant] was like ‘I’m going to guard him so we don’t get mismatched.’ And he did a great job on him. But to ask him to do that for 30-something minutes and then also carry us down on the other end is a lot. You just saw two great players going at it again.”

(On his thoughts when LeBron James was making a push in the fourth quarter with Kobe Bryant on the bench):
“Yeah, I heard the fans, ‘We want Kobe’ with about eight minutes left. I was going to say I want him too. But I’m not going to do it. That’s basically what I was thinking. I’m looking at the clock hoping that it runs down to the six minute mark so I can get him back in because I knew that would put him at about 32 [minutes] at that particular point. That’s tough because I know how much he means to us but I also know that in the long run, it’s going to be the best thing for us.”

(On what he sees as the biggest issue tomorrow night against Utah):
“Well, first the back to back. You’re going up there in that altitude against a team that gets up and down the floor. They have a front court that is very physical, and [Enes] Kanter and [Derrik] Favors. Then you have a hell of a player in [Gordon] Hayward. He’s pretty good too. So they have a good team. They play fast and they play physical. So obviously we have to let this one go, get on the plane, get some rest, and get ready for tomorrow.”

Kobe Bryant

(On if he ever saw himself getting 17 assists):
“Yeah, honestly. I use to play with a big guy who every time he’d make a pass, it would make me look good. Shaq’s philosophy was always just make a play. When it comes to assists, it’s really the other guys that make you look good. They did that tonight, they made the shots and got me to 17 assists.”

(On playing against LeBron):
“It’s a little different now. Some years ago we were competing for championships, I was a lot more moody. Now it’s a little different, I get a chance to appreciate the competition and enjoy that interaction. We’ve gotten to know each other very well. Our relationship had changed over the years, we never really had much interaction until 2008 and it’s grown since then.”

(On appreciating moments like this):
“Now I’m able to enjoy them. It’d be a little different if we were competing for a championship, I’d be my same moody self. Right now, I’m able to have a bit more perspective knowing I won’t get a chance to play against him on the court much longer.”

(On his process to becoming ‘eulogized’ as a basketball great):
“This is different for me because I am used to being hated. It’s really unnatural. It’s like you go up against somebody and they give you a hug. It’s a different feeling, but I am really appreciative of it. It feels good. A hug feels good.”

(On how hard it is to stick to minute constraints in a close game):
“It’s hard, but all the years of it looking like I was tuning Phil [Jackson] out, I actually did listen to some of the stuff that he talked about. Being present, being mindful, being able to detach yourself from situations and just be, is something that has really helped me throughout this entire season. I joke around about it, but I’m actually very serious—this ability to be calm and see the big picture, to just be present.”

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