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Postgame Quotes - March 18, 2019

DETROIT PISTONS HEAD COACH DWANE CASEY 

(On their defensive breakdowns tonight): “Defensively, our physicality, them feeling us, was not (there). I don’t care who it is, allow them to shot 58.2 percent from the floor, you’re not going to beat anybody. Our defensive thought process, execution, whatever the word you want to use, defensively, was not there. Totally disappointed in myself, in our team and all of us, anybody in that locker room, just in our defensive approach because again, we knew how talented (Collin) Sexton was. We talked about how talented (Jordan) Clarkson was. We talked about how (Nik) Stauskas could shoot. Again, it was almost like there was a magnet on the three-point line to come across and get into them and make them feel us on those shots.”   (On the playoff race): “A journey to the playoffs isn’t easy. It’s not easy. There’s pressure. There’s physical pressure. There’s mental pressure and we got to fight through it all as a team. When you let up, no matter what the other organization’s goals are, how they’ve been playing, what their record is… Anybody getting paid twice a month can step up and beat you and I don’t think we came out with a healthy enough amount of respect for this team (the Cavaliers) that we needed.”   (On letting the Cavaliers stick around and come back in the fourth quarter): “It started way before that… To start the game, we didn’t play like a playoff team that was hungry, desperate to make the playoffs and again, we have some that try but it’s not enough. It’s another level we have to get to.”   

WAYNE ELLINGTON 

(On where the game was decided tonight): “On the defensive end, for us. We got to be better early on. They didn’t feel us physically. They played really free and that came back to bite us at the end of the game. They had a whole lot of confidence. Guys got it going and made some great shots. We give them credit. It comes from earlier on in the game. Just the flow that they played with that allowed them to have that confidence.”    (On being more aggressive without Blake Griffin tonight): “Not necessarily. I think I had got it going and that’s when I got a little bit more aggressive. Early on, I wanted to take good, in-rhythm shots and just go from there. Once I hit two in a row, I feel like I’m on fire and that’s how it kind of went tonight. (I) got hot so that’s when I got a little bit more aggressive.”   BRUCE BROWN    (On their defense tonight): “I didn’t think we did well. I think we gave up too many threes and they played with more energy than we did.”   (On what the Cavaliers did well tonight on the offensive end): “I just think they played with a lot of energy and got out in transition. They played free and knocked down open shots when they needed to, and contested shots. They just played well today."

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS HEAD COACH LARRY DREW (On what it was like to watch Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman close out the game): “Very gratifying. Hoping that it would get to this point with both of those guys to where they are in a position to where they are closing out games. I’ve had them earlier in the season where they’re on the bench watching and learning. Now, really being a part of it as far as closing out and finishing it off at the end. It was very, very gratifying because both of those guys have come a long way and you can certainly see the growth in their games. As a coach, I see growth in certain situations and that’s very gratifying. It tells me that these guys are starting to understand, starting to figure it out. Understanding is not always going to be perfect, it’s not always going to be a positive result, but what I’m looking for is growth and I’m really seeing it from both guys.” (On if he can call this year a success with the growth of Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman over the course of the season): “Yeah, success is not always measured on wins and losses. You have to look at your team, you have to look at situations, you have to look at circumstances, you have to look at the big picture. For the organization, the big picture is the growth that we see in our young guys. Understanding that, yeah this is going to be a tough season because we’ve had a big turnaround. Now that we have gone to the rebuild mode, we have to ask ourselves are those guys the same players they were at the start of the season, and by no stretch of the imagination are they. These guys have really shown growth. Collin, a lot of people are talking about his assists numbers, he is who he is. It’s not always going to be a situation of having a high assist total, but he made, I think, the play of the game, but will not get an assist for it. It was his pass that led to a three towards the end there where he drove the ball and their defense collapsed. He was up at the rim and he kicked it out to the corner to David (Nwaba) and David kicked it up top to Cedi. Collin will not get an assist for that, but that was the play to me that was the dagger. It was a big play on Collin’s part. Using that situation, he’s always trying to finish, but he had the presence of mind to make the kickout, which led to a second pass and I thought it was probably the biggest shot of the game.” CEDI OSMAN (On winning without four of their bigs tonight): “We’ve dealt with a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year, so we’re kind of used to it, (having) to fight like that. We did a great job against a really tough team – Detroit is playing great basketball. They’re playing tough defense. But we were tough, too, tonight and we were playing good defense. Offensively, Collin (Sexton) had a great night, David (Nwaba), Nik (Stauskas) – I mean, just as a team, we had a really good night. We made some tough shots and some clutch shots, and we were excited that we won a game. We’re happy.” (On playing with a better sense of urgency in the second half): “I think we played with a better pace, and especially from the bench – Nik helped us a lot, he made some tough shots. David was great tonight, he played great. Z (Ante Zizic) played great – defensively on Andre Drummond, he was 9-for-20 and he did a great job on him. So it was totally a team effort. We were okay in the first half, but in the second half I think we played much better.” (On if his 21 points can be attributed to the team’s ball movement tonight): “Yes, definitely. Definitely. We moved that ball, and I’m not sure how many assists we had, but we moved the ball. We found some open shots but we missed them, but at the end of the day, we played great, and as long as we share the ball like this, we will always be a tough team to beat.” (On the changes he’s noticed in Collin Sexton since being drafted last summer): “I think he’s starting to understand the game. I think he’s starting to understand when to attack the basket and when not to. He is a rookie. It’s his first year – of course you’re going to go through a lot of stretches. These last two months, he’s been playing great, especially the last few games. He’s been

shooting the ball and he’s been making all of them. He was always aggressive, and he has to be aggressive. He has to continue to do that. And he’s really fast – like, really fast. Sometimes I’m going to be like, ‘Wow, he’s just fast,’ because they can’t guard him. It’s really tough to guard him. So he’s a really tough player, especially with those two threes tonight (late in the game). He did a great job.” COLLIN SEXTON (On if criticism of his shooting from beyond the arc has motivated him to improve his three-point shot): “Oh yeah, absolutely. Coming into the season, I knew that was the biggest thing (people said) – I couldn’t shoot. So I work each and every day to try and make sure that my three ball is good and make sure that my jump shot looks good. So that motivates me a whole lot – just to show and prove people wrong.” (On relishing the spotlight and big moments): “Those are the moments that people remember – end of the game, you make a big shot, and they go, ‘Oh yeah, he made a big shot.’ So I just feel like those are the moments that I work for and make sure I’m always ready for.” (On how he has sped up his shot): “Just keep working on it. My dad saw some stuff I need to improve on, so I just had to listen and take it…We sit down – my dad and my brother – we just sit down and watch film and they try to help me out, so I appreciate them for that.” (On if he feels like teams are starting to game plan for him): “Oh yeah, during hand-offs, they try to blow them up and stuff like that. So now, I just have to read and react. If they do something, I have to make sure that I counter it with something else.”