Game Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Nuggets
(On the game tonight): “I just thought they played a little bit harder than we did. I thought we played hard and we competed. I just think they had that little extra umph that you need…They just beat us to a lot of loose balls, long rebounds, things like that.”
(On his team’s effort): “We ran into a team that’s playing pretty good basketball. To be honest with you, I thought we did a pretty good job of hanging in there. In my mind, we didn’t take a step back at all. We challenged these guys. We played pretty hard for 48 minutes of basketball. (Denver) has a bunch of great athletes that get up and down the floor. We gave them way too many points in the paint. A lot of that was in transition, which we talked about. We have to take care of the ball, but I’m not disappointed in our effort. Like I said, I thought we played hard. They played a little bit harder than we did and tonight they were the better team.”
(On closing out the end of quarters): “We always try to gage those last three minutes of each quarter. We want to have those, what we call, ‘mini battles.’ We want to win those battles and tonight we didn’t. They forced turnovers and we turned it over. They got layups on the other end. It seemed as though the first three quarters they were able to capitalize on some of our mistakes. When you’re playing a team as good as they are and with the type of confidence that they’re playing with, that’s tough to overcome. They’ve been playing great basketball. You have to give them a lot of credit. They get after you defensively and they have a lot of guys who are the same size, so they switch a lot of things which sometimes can mess up your flow offensively. Our guys had to try to get used to that….That’s the beauty of their team. They have a lot of parts that are interchangeable…Again, at the end of that (third) quarter, we had some costly turnovers and they did a good job of pressuring us.”
(On the team’s lack of penetration tonight): “They did a great job of running up to the ball. Some of their defensive matchups were difficult as well. Schemes that they tried to run on us actually worked in the fourth quarter and first half. We just never climbed out of that hole.”
(On Denver’s defense): “We didn’t make adjustments quick enough that we needed to make. Partly, that stems from me just not being aware. Going forward, we just have to learn from this game and get ready for Monday.”
(On the team’s progression after this loss): “I feel like we’re still making steps in the right direction. Both groups, the starters and the bench were lacking a bit of energy. We were a step behind and they just outplayed us.”
(On not being able to complete a comeback tonight): “They just stayed consistent. They were running and they got easy baskets in transition. They made plays at the end of the game.”
(On why the team gave up so many points in the paint): “They ran the floor pretty well and their point guard got their bigs the ball. They got a couple of alley-oops and got the ball inside.”
(On his shooting performance tonight): “I just got my legs back, but that didn’t help out much. We still got the loss.”
Nuggets Head Coach George Karl
(On the Nuggets’ offensive production from eight different players): “I think everybody was a plus, which doesn’t happen very often. No one had a big plus either. Plus nine was the biggest plus we had. (It was a) solid win.”
(On the Cavaliers’ future): “I think you are going to see Cleveland play pretty well the second half of the season. I think you are going to see them have a better rhythm and a better confidence.”
(On how good the Nuggets’ could be if they play good defense): “When we play defense, there is nobody who can stop us. We know that so when our aggressiveness (playing) defense goes up, we win games.”
(On if he has any surprises for the dunk contest): “No, I just don’t have anything. I haven’t thought about it. It’s not really a priority to me. My priority is win these next few games.”
(On how his knee feels after tweaking it in the first half): “It’s alright. I’m a warrior. I’ll bounce back. I’ll be alright. I’m tough. I’m going to play (tomorrow), no matter what. I’m going to play.”
(On Alonzo Gee’s hot start): “He got hot. Players get hot. He hit every shot. I think he was 8-8. He hit every shot. People have nights like that. You can’t expect it. You can’t prepare for it. It just happens.”
• The Cavs shot 9-20 (.450) from beyond the arc tonight and are shooting .403 from long range over their last eight home games.
• Kyrie Irving recorded a game-high 26 points, six rebounds, seven assists and one steal in 36 minutes. Over his last 18 games since January 4th, Irving is averaging 25.6 points, including shooting .481 from the three-point line and .905 from the foul line, 3.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.2 steals in 35.2 minutes per game.
• Alonzo Gee finished with 20 points, including shooting a perfect 8-8 from the field, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 34 minutes. The last time a Cavalier shot perfect on at least eight made shots was on November 5, 2010, when Anderson Varejao went 10-10 against the Sacramento Kings.
• Wayne Ellington added 13 points, including connecting on 3-4 (.750) three-pointers, and five rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Ellington has scored in double figures in five of eight contests as a Cavalier and is averaging 9.5 points, including shooting 16-35 (.457) from behind the arc, in 20.1 minutes per game.
• Shaun Livingston tallied 11 points on 5-8 (.625) shooting from the field, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench.
• Tristan Thompson tallied 11 points and four rebounds in 31 minutes. Over his last 25 games, Thompson is averaging 14.5 points on .530 shooting and 10.6 rebounds in 34.0 minutes per game.