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Potent Quotables - Cavaliers beat Bulls 96-83 in Game 1


(On the team contributing in different ways):
"I thought that individually we had a lot of guys step up. Antawn had 10 rebounds, Andy came off the bench with 15 rebounds, Mo had 10 assists, LeBron had four blocks, so we had guys step up in a lot of different areas besides the point production. That was good to see."

(On Shaq's return):
"Shaq, in his own right, stepped up, too. Tonight was a night where we could all see the hard work that he has put in the last six to eight weeks. He's been terrific working his tail off getting ready for this."

(On tonight's game):
"I thought that throughout the course of the game, we played pretty good basketball, except for the one lull in the third where we started to turn the ball over...which gave them some confidence and allowed them to go on a run. Other than the lull and turning the ball over, I thought that it was a good win by our guys. It was a good win to build on. We know and understand that it's one game in a series and we have a ways to go still. We are not looking past it. It's one game in the Bulls series and we are happy that we got the win."

(On the team's defense on Derrick Rose):
"In those spurts, obviously Derrick Rose hit some tough shots. The shots that he hit coming off of the pick and roll, the one-handed push shot which he can hit from eight to 10 feet. Sometimes you allow that to happen, especially if it's a point guard and he's got to take 28 shots. If he scores 28 and we do our job with everybody else, it's a lot of shots for one guy to take, especially your point guard. We will just have to live with it and hope that we can continue to try and make him work. We are not going to be able to shut him down; he's a great player. It's our goal to try and make him work and see if we can get him to miss some of those shots, which he did hit during a stretch. Other than that, I thought we were pretty solid in other areas. They gained some confidence and scored some buckets when we did turn the ball over. We had 18 turnovers; that's too many. That's where I was probably most upset."

(On rebounding and the play of the Cavaliers' big men):
"I tell you what, (they're) a great rebounding team (Chicago). For them to sit at 42.5 for the game in terms of field goal percentage and us to still win the rebounding battle the way we did is a positive. That's something that we are going to have to continue to fight hard to do because Taj (Gibson) and (Joakim) Noah have played extremely well on the glass against us. We have to continue trying to go after that basketball on both ends of the floor and I thought that our effort going after the ball was terrific. Coming up with the extra possessions, which is a big thing in the playoffs, was good tonight. We were good in that area, but Noah and their other bigs logged a lot of minutes and we feel that we have capable bigs that can go in and give each other a rest. If somebody gets in foul trouble, we feel like we can go to somebody on the bench. Our bigs played a terrific game tonight."


(On trying to harness emotion after receiving a technical in today's game):
"Harness our emotion? There is no such thing in the playoffs. The playoffs are all about emotion and executing offensively and defensively. It's going to be a warrior's spread; you have got to see these guys four times at least. You're not going to like the guy in front of you. You're not going to like them and they're not going to like us. We are looking forward to the challenge in this game on Monday and the next two games after."

(On the team's size advantage in this series):
"That's something that we have been looking forward to all season - seeing how the size we play differs between last year in the postseason and this year. We have a lot of size, and we have a lot of depth in the frontcourt and in the backcourt and it showed today."

(On what he said to the team before today's game):
"This is what we all have waited for. This is why we play hard - throughout the whole season, throughout the regular season and throughout practices - is to get to this point. As much as we loved the regular season, we love the postseason even more. Once we got here the day before the game, we were all prepared. We were all mentally focused and I knew the guys were ready to play."


(On if the rest at the end of the regular season was beneficial):
"We were prepared for this. I think that the last five games were long. I think there were a lot of things written, a lot of opinions that people had. A lot of other teams said that when they were in the (same) situation and rested, it wasn't good...I think with us, we have a bunker mentality where we are worried about home (and) the 15 guys in the locker room, including the coaching staff. We knew that a lot of things were going to be written and a lot of things were going to be said, and we knew that the rest was good. It showed today."

(On if he was excited to return to the playoffs):
"I put last year behind me. People always ask me what did I get from last year and I say the experience from the series. You have to go through things like that. That was something that I had never been through in my life. It's just like having your first child. Now I have four, so the other three were pretty easy."

(On Shaq's return):
"I think that Shaq was terrific. We saw highlights from before he was injured to the way he is now. He looks great. He lost some weight and he's getting up and down the floor. He made Z mad in his first practice (back from injury). He came out at game speed and Z was like, ‘Hey, it's practice'. He took it as a game and he played that way, and he set the tone and he showed us how he would play in this postseason. He was terrific today. He got them in foul trouble. I think that Noah is a valuable piece (to Chicago) and he has to go to sleep tonight worried about what he has to do with Shaq on Monday."


(On setting the tempo in the first quarter):
"We just wanted to come out and play aggressive, play at a high level. I'm at the point in my career where I only want to take the high-percentage shots so I'm just going to take a couple dribbles, if they come, kick it out and if not, go for what I know."

(On his baseline spin dunk in the third quarter):
"They're playing me not to go middle. It was a basic move. I just spin and go up strong. I've been doing it for years. We know we have our hands full against a young and energetic team. We just have to keep playing at a high level."

(On Noah defending him versus Miller):
"Everyone pretty much plays me the same. They just bang, bang. I see that they're coming from the baseline guy when I go into my drop-step. We're going to watch tape and make some adjustments. I've been here 17 years. There's nothing I haven't seen before. Nothing at all."

(On playing with the team after the layoff due to injury):
"We're pretty good. I felt in the third quarter we relied on our jump shot too much. That's because they went to a zone. We're going to go back and watch some tape and make some adjustments. We'll be ready for Game 2."

(On how he felt personally after not playing due to the injury):
"I felt pretty good. Uncle Jerome had me on the three-day workout and special diet. This is very vital for me, vital for everybody. I wanted to come back extra, extra ready so I did some things I don't usually do. I just wanted to change up a little bit. This is the time we have to be ready and I just wanted to be ready."

(On projecting the team's status three weeks from today):
"I don't like to project. I see where I want to be in my head. I think everybody has the same thought process that I have. We just have to take it one game at a time. Everyone knows it's the first team to 16 (wins). It'd be ludicrous for me to say ‘when we're in the third round or when we're in The Finals'. I don't really operate like that. We have our Game 2 on Monday, (Games) 3 and 4 next week. One game at a time."

(On his thoughts after his spin dunk):
"That's the patented move, I've been doing it for years. That's the ‘Diesel Truck with No Brakes'. You see when I get into that move, people get out of the way because they know I'm (going) and don't have any brakes."

(On how his thumb felt today):
"The one lob that Mo threw me kind of hit the fat part (of his thumb protector). Other than that, it feels pretty good. Cleveland Clinic did a great job in constructing that. My hand felt fine."

(On Brad Miller):
"He's a very physical guy. He's a very tough-minded guy. He's a guy that's not going to back down. My game has been the same for many years: try to take the high-percentage shot, I don't shoot jump shots, I don't shoot fadeaways. I just try to take what he gives me and go up strong."

(On if he feels this team is like his early 2000 teams):
"It was a mental factor. Obviously for me, it was an age factor. That was a different time in my career. That was a time in my career where I dominated the ball. I was the first option. My role is different on this team. It's a role that I accepted. LeBron is going to take most of the shots; we all know that. It's our job when he gives up the ball to make him look good. At 38, 39, I accept that. I did that tonight and we've been doing that all year. I sort of did that when I was in Miami and it works. If we keep playing that way, we'll be fine. 2010, for me, is different than 2000-2002."

(On whether LeBron has the ‘look' in his eye):
"Of course. He's the unanimous MVP this year. He plays at a high level, does a great job of leading the team...he's the best on the court and in off the court situations. Quite frankly, I'm impressed that a guy that's so young has the knowledge and know-how to keep everybody together. I said earlier that I'm one of those unorthodox CEOs whose been hired as a consultant. This is LeBron's corporation. I'm a guy that's been there and done that. Whenever he needs advice, he has my BBM. We talk about a lot of things and a lot of situations. I'm very impressed with how he handles things."


(On the first half):
"We did a great job of executing offensively, stopping them from penetrating and getting transition points. But they did that in the second half. They knocked down shots and limited us to only one shot to create opportunities in transition. We just have to do a better job when we're not hitting shots. That was a point of emphasis is their transition and not letting them get into transition."

(On his first playoff game as a Cavalier):
"This is what it's all about. We're in a position to be very successful, the crowd is pulling for us and we're having fun. I'm just happy to be in this situation and get the win. These are some of the best fans in the country. They're really behind this basketball organization and you can feel their presence."

(On Game 2):
"They're going to make some adjustments to contend with what we did in the paint. We just have to continue to execute offensively. The third quarter was the only quarter where we didn't do that."

(On the team's hustle):
"I got hit in the face going for a loose ball. They were bodies flying around every quarter, but that just goes to show you the way guys were hustling. We want to get those 50-50 balls, which is something we've been successful at throughout the season and something we want to continue to do."

(On defending Chicago's drive and kick offense):
"I thought we did a great job at that, especially in the half court offense. It was a great point of interest for us. The thing that got us was transition. Derrick Rose did a great job of keeping his dribble alive. He took a lot of shots and got a lot of points, but taking a lot of shots is what you want him to do. We just need to do a better job of transition."

(On playing with Shaq):
"He knows how to play, that's why he's one of the greatest. He's teaching me so much about the game and what it takes to be so successful at this level. I'm with two Hall of Famers and I just want to take advantage of the situation."

(On the team having any rust):
"(We had) a little bit. We hadn't played with each other, but we were still able to do what we did on both ends of the floor and that says a lot. It's all about perfection. We're not happy with just getting the win. Defensively, we talked some things out. Offensively, we weren't all in accord during times in the game. The more and more we played, the more and more we'll get that, but we let some opportunities get away."

(On getting so many blocks):
"It just shows you how guys fly to the ball. That's something that we do a great job of. If a guy gets beat, a teammate is there to help out."


(On letting the Bulls back in the game):
"We just stopped attacking the basket. We started settling for jump shots and they got the long rebounds and were able to get out into transition for easy buckets. Once we figured that out, we started attacking the basket again."

(On defending Chicago's drive and kick offense):
"I think we did pretty well. We held them to 83 points, so we did a good job of shrinking the floor and making the lane a little crowded. Once they kicked the ball out, we closed out pretty well."