Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Hornets
(On the game tonight): “When it started, I thought we came out a little rusty, which was expected. In the second half, I thought our energy was fantastic. We did some things defensively and picked up the pressure. We got out in the open floor and got some easy buckets. Then Kyrie was just kind of making shots everywhere and just doing a great job of being aggressive...He made some great shots, did some great things and the crowd was fantastic. It was a good win for us to start the second half (of the season).”
(On Kyrie Irving scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter): “You can see it coming. He gets a little bit of a gleam in his eye. He hits one or two shots and just kind of gets going. You can see in the fourth quarter that he was really aggressive. I thought he did a great job of just getting himself some space, getting to the basket and finishing. He just kind of put us on his back.”
(On his team having zero turnovers in the fourth quarter): “We were stuck on eight turnovers for a long time. We had six at one point then a couple of quick ones after that. The only thing I told the coaches after the game is ‘Guys, we just did a great job of taking care of the ball.’ That’s big because when you turn it over against teams, it gives them a chance to get easy buckets in transition. We didn’t allow that to happen, especially in the fourth quarter.”
(On Dion Waiters play tonight): “He’s being a little more patient and understanding his role. He’s doing a good job of not settling for jump shots. He’s doing a much better job of being in attack mode and trying to get to the basket. He made some great passes when he got to the basket tonight. He’s been playing like that for the last couple of weeks. I just want him to keep growing, keep playing that way and staying in attack mode but also be patient with it.”
(On his confidence in the fourth quarter): “It just stems off the trust that my teammates have in me; the coaching staff has in me. (The coaches) told me to just to be aggressive, especially in the fourth quarter when it’s a close game like it was. Luckily a couple of shots went in for me.”
(On what was different for the team defensively in the fourth quarter): “It’s the fourth quarter. We needed stops and in a few games in the first half of the season, they would get offensive rebounds and different plays that would change the momentum. We wanted to come out and limit that tonight. Our bench came in the fourth quarter and did a tremendous job of holding the lead. We just came in and finished it.”
(On not turning the ball over down the stretch): “We just know we have to protect the ball and if we do that, it’ll work out better for us. We have to keep pressure on their defenders and just take care of the ball when it comes down to close games. We did that tonight.”
(On his dribble-drive game): “I’m just trying to be aggressive and to find my teammates. I’m just taking what the defense is giving me; just taking and knocking down open shots.”
HORNETS HEAD COACH MONTY WILLIAMS
(On Kyrie’s performance in the fourth quarter): “He had a really good game. I think for the most part we gave in (by) allowing him to go the basket. Robin and Jason tried to take some hard fouls tonight but our other bigs didn’t even attempt to give him any resistance at the basket. You’ve got to take a hard foul and make him shoot free throws.”
(On defending the Cavaliers): “You can only do that (blitzing defense) for so long. You can do it for only so long before teams figure it out. What it does is it (makes the team) give up offensive rebounds. That started happening with Speights. Speights was getting a couple of rebounds. When you blitz, you open up the floor and they have guys who can knock down shots.”
(On Kyrie’s performance): “You can’t let guys get in a rhythm like Kyrie did because it’s hard to stop them when they get going. We should have kept him out in front of us, but we were all like half a step behind on defensive possessions.”
(On the Hornets faltering late): “It was just the flow of the game. Players were trying to help us win and sometimes the ball doesn't go where you want it to.”
• With the win tonight, Cleveland improves to 9-3 in their last 12 matchups with New Orleans at Quicken Loans Arena.
• The Cavaliers had just eight turnovers tonight, including zero in the fourth quarter. The Cavs are averaging 11.9 miscues over their last 15 games. Cleveland finished their seven-game homestand averaging 107.3 points, 25.0 assists and just 11.4 turnovers.
• Kyrie Irving recorded his 11th 30-plus point game this season and finished with 35 points on 13-22 (.591) shooting from the field, five rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 37 minutes. Irving scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and has recorded at least 10 points in eight of the last 18 fourth quarters he has played in. He also shot a perfect 7-7 from the foul line tonight and is averaging 24.8 points, including .466 from the three-point line and .906 from the foul line, 3.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals in 35.1 minutes per game over his last 21 contests.
• Dion Waiters finished with 16 points on 6-10 (.600) shooting, three assists, one steal and one block in 29 minutes. Over his last two games, Waiters is averaging 18.0 points on .560 shooting, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 30.0 minutes per game.
• Tristan Thompson tallied a near double-double with nine points, 13 rebounds, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. Over his last 28 games, Thompson is averaging 14.2 points on .513 shooting and 10.5 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game.
• Alonzo Gee recorded 10 points, including connecting on 3-4 (.750) three-pointers, in 28 minutes. Over his last four contests, Gee is averaging 12.0 points on 19-30 (.633) shooting from the field, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 28.0 minutes per game.
• C.J. Miles added 11 points on 5-7 (.714) shooting from the field in 18 minutes off the bench.