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(On if LeBron made a case for himself as a MVP candidate after his 42-point performance tonight): "I’ve been saying that for weeks. Obviously, he was just fabulous tonight."
(On Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith): "J.R. Smith played 36 minutes tonight and Iman Shumpert played 31 minutes. Between the two of them, they had four points. The Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) were 10 for 30 from the field. That’s why (Shumpert and Smith) were on the court and that’s why we’re winning because of that selfless attitude and the willingness to do what it takes to help the team win which is what is important.”
(On if J.R. Smith’s play has been surprising): “I have been saying since the very beginning that I don’t know what all was being said about him before, I don’t know where it comes from and it wasn’t my business. All I can tell you is from day one, that guy has been a dream and has helped us to get on the right path and stay on the winning track because of the way he plays both ends of the court."
(On giving up 33 points in the first quarter and not more than 23 in any other quarter): "Well, they’re a first quarter and a third quarter team, scoring-wise. Those are their best scoring quarters. They’re a hard team to guard. That’s the bottom line. We came to play. We weren’t laxed and we weren’t lackadaisical. They’re just a great, great scoring team and they defend you at the other end. We had the same mentality but we just were more successful in the last three quarters. Sometimes it’s not always what you do. Sometimes it’s what the other guy does. They played great offense in the first quarter and they scored it the way they’re used to scoring it. But from that point forward, our defense really, really picked up and we held the highest scoring team in the NBA at 110 points per game to 99. That speaks volumes to how we did defensively overall."
(On what it means to beat the best team in the league record-wise): “It’s big for us. It was a test and we answered the call. We were all locked in. I was a little surprised at the assists tonight, but everyone was making shots, including LeBron. Everybody was making plays on both ends of the floor for one night.”
(On his mindset for the game tonight): “I was challenged by my coaches this morning. They wanted me to play a little more in the post tonight and be aggressive. I just try to do what I need to do to help our team win. I was happy I was able to make a few plays to help us do that.”
(On the team’s defensive effort): “It’s been our staple as of late. We understand that no matter what you do offensively, if you don’t defend at a high level, you’re not going to give yourself a chance to win…and we defended. They’re one of the top offenses in our league and we played at a high level for 48 minutes.”
(On the MVP discussion): “That’s not about me. For me, I have to be the MVP for these 14 guys in this locker room. When I’m out on the floor, I try to do everything to help us win – offensively, defensively, whatever the case may be. Wherever I end up at the end of the season, that’s where it’s at.”
(On being out on the court early pregame): “I just wanted to try to get into a rhythm, see the ball go through the rim. And it did. I didn’t miss many shots in the pregame warm up. I was just locked in from the time I got to the arena all the way until the end of the game.”
On how it feels to win): “It feels good. We felt like against Detroit that we were a little lax in the first half, and starting off the third quarter. So we wanted to play 48 solid minutes and tonight we felt like the energy and intensity was there.”
(On defending Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry): “Just forcing them into tough shots. They’re a tough match up anytime you go up against two caliber guards like they have. They’re not going to have many nights like that. We were fortunate enough to play good defense, and as I mentioned, force them into tough shots. We were fortunate they missed.”
(On tonight’s game): “We fought hard. We competed. We just we didn’t play our best. When you play one of the best teams in the league on their home floor and LeBron (James) goes nuts like he did, you’ve got to be at your best. We had moments where it looked like we were going to be right there. We had a couple of careless turnovers and missed free throws. Things didn’t quite fall our way, but that was mostly our fault. This is what happens in the NBA.”
(On whether tonight’s loss brought to light any issues with his team): “This is the league. You’re not going to win every game. We’re coming in to play the hottest team in the league on their home floor. The best player on the planet from the last five years has a huge night on us. It’s going to be tough to win. Part of the league is (that) you play well one night and maybe you struggle the next, but you just keep moving forward.”
(On tonight’s game): “That was a tough game. We had to play our best with the shots that LeBron was hitting most of the night. So we hold our heads high. We played hard and had some careless turnovers, but for the most part I think we executed well. Shots didn’t fall, but when he does what he did tonight you’ve got to be perfect, especially on the road. We didn’t have it.”
(On whether there is anything you can do to stop LeBron on a night like tonight): “You just try to make him take tough shots. Half of them were, and he was just knocking them down. You could see it from the beginning of the game that his mission was to try to be aggressive. He wasn’t really looking to pass it. He was just get to the rack and look for a shot. He got a rhythm early, which just kind of snowballed into the game he had. He’s obviously done great things for a long time. This was just a tough game for us.”
(On the MVP conversation): “Well I hope it’s not based on this game. If I’m playing one-on-one against him (LeBron) and you look at tonight, then I lost obviously. It’s about a body of work. It’s about what your team is doing. It’s about just being consistent over the course of the season, and that’s my job. You’re obviously going to have off nights. You can put the spotlight on whatever you want to. But for the most part, my job is to go out and play hard every single night to try to help my team win.”
(On whether there is anything you can do to stop LeBron on a night like tonight): “No. We played great defense on him. I think a couple of times early we didn’t step over to help on the post-ups, but I think HB (Harrison Barnes) did a great job. Andre (Iguodala) did a tremendous job. But once he gets going…that’s why he’s arguably probably the best player in the world. Once he gets going, it’s tough to stop him, especially when he’s hitting those contested jump shots and step-back jump shots. Those are the shots we want him taking, so when he’s getting them, it’s tough to stop.”