David and I had the opportunity to interview some of the Cavaliers' players before and after the Houston Rockets game to gain some insight and celebrate Duke having a poor tournament. It was an unbelievable experience and I basically just tried to follow David's lead. He's basically a pro at this and I tried to follow his lead. Here's what they had to say:
FTS: While you've been out with this injury, you've been able to step back and observe the game from a distance. Is there anything you've observed while on the bench and what changes can you make to your game to adjust when you do return?
AB: Pretty much been working on the same things, just getting my shot consistent, I've been pretty much been doing that all year. Just kinda been working on everything really, this summer is going to be real big for me so I'm just going to stay focused and work on my stuff.
FTS: Have you decided what you're going to do this summer? Are you going to stay in Cleveland?
AB: I'm pretty sure I'll be here, basically just back and forth between here and Toronto. I don't know if there will be anything else beyond that.
FTS: Is it frustrating to have an injury just as your shot was becoming more consistent?
AB: I mean, it's part of the game. Injuries come and go, but you just gotta stay positive, stay focused and stay ready.
FTS: You've dealt with some nagging injuries throughout the year, how've you been feeling recently?
JJ: I've actually been feeling better, you know, just good enough. In the latter part of the season these nagging injuries can make themselves apparent, but I've been feeling better over this stretch and hopefully it can continue moving forward.
FTS: Obviously with Kyrie out you've been getting more consistent minutes, does that make things easier for you or help you get into a rhythm?
JJ: Yeah, obviously having more opportunities always helps your game but no matter how many minutes I get, I try and go out there and play the same type of game, no matter what the situation is.
FTS: It seems like over the last month or so the offense has gone a little bit better, is that just a matter of you guys trusting each other? What do you think contributes to that?
JJ: I think defensively we're doing a better job of holding things down and when we do that it makes the offense come a lot easier, our shots become more fluid and we don't have to work so hard in a half-court set.
FTS: Is it tough dealing with such a hard schedule? You guys had been playing pretty well, but just trying to break through, is it hard to stay motivated and keep fighting as hard as you guys have been?
JJ: The motivation is to get better every time you step between the lines. Regardless of what the result may be, that's the motivation as an individual and the motivation we have as a team.
FTS: You play next to a lot of different bigs that play very different styles of play. What kind of adjustments come with playing with different players all the time?
TZ: It's definitely an adjustment, i think it's fun to play with a lot of different guys and be versatile; sometimes I roll, sometimes I pop. You just got to learn how to play with each different person, what their strengths are and try to compliment them.
FTS: Does your game change, outside of the pick and pop as you mentioned, depending on who you're with and what changes are made?
TZ: I mean you still got to play your game, I'm still going to do what I'm best at. Just as far as pick and roll reads, it changes a little bit. I know what they are going to do, certain people roll more, certain people pop more so I'm either replacing them or I'm dropping down. So it just kinda changes my spots and that kind of stuff.
FTS: I'm sure it changes a lot defensively as well. Is it easier for you to guard power fowards or centers?
TZ: It depends on the night, sometimes the centers are big and sometimes they;re very talented and the same thing goes for power forwards. So it just kinda depends on who it is.
FTS: Is there anything you have to do differently when you are going against a stronger center, such as a Dwight Howard?
TZ: I mean, Dwight is just one of those people who's extremely athletic as well as extremely strong, so it makes it a challenge. But you just need to keep him away from the basket and try to get him to settle for jumpers, which is easier said than done.
FTS: We were talking to Anthony earlier, have you started thinking about your summer and what you are planning on working on? Is there something you want to get better at?
TZ: No, not yet. We still got a lot of time left in the season. Obviously it's not looking too promising for the playoffs right now, but I'd like to close out the season well and then sit down with the coaches and examine what I need to get better at.
FTS: What was the best part for you of Duke losing in the tournament?
TZ: [laughs] Being a Carolina guy, it's great seeing Duke lose any time. But I mean, Mercer played a heck of a game and I was sitting there watching the whole time. It was a lot of fun to watch.
FTS: Terrence Jones had a big night the other night, what do you think about him in terms of how good he can be?
McHale: Terrence could be really good, this is really his first year in the league. He spent most of last season in the D-League and didn't play a whole bunch. He's got a lot of skills, he can handle the ball, pass the ball, he's got a big strong body and can block shots and rebound. That's how you get better in this league, you just got to grind it out and he and Montiejunas both have been working really hard this year.
It's always great whenever Fear the Sword gets a chance to cover games in person. We want to provide the best possible coverage for you guys, so let us know what kind of stories and interviews you would like to see in the future and we'll see if we can make it happen!