RE: They were in control 77-56 in the third quarter.
What changed at that point to allow you guys to get
back in and then eventually get the win?
I really felt like in the first half we
played way better than the score. Maybe there was a
couple of shots we could have challenged better, but I
was hoping that the law of averages would kick in at
some point. Some of those shots were just incredible. I felt like we started slow in the third quarter, and it was
disappointing because I felt like we could get back in
that thing. I thought both teams were a little sloppy at
that point, and then our guys were better toward the
end of the third. It goes back and forth in the fourth,
and we’re lucky to win.
RE: Was it defense or offense do you think really got
you back in this and won the game?
Well, we’re not going to win unless
we score the ball, but our defense was pretty good all
night. And I know that sounds crazy, but like on a lot of
Love’s shots, on Kyrie Irving’s shots, I thought our
defense was pretty good all night. There are things
that we’ll have to look at and do better, but we were
pretty connected, pretty locked in. That’s why I was
disappointed at the start of the third quarter. But the bench did a good job, specifically Jonas
Jerebko, of lifting us at that time.
RE: A lot over the course of Marcus’s career has been made about what a poor shooter he is, but he always seems to hit them late. What did you see of that tonight?
I think we talked about it Monday. We can talk about his shooting all year long, but you know when it’s in a big moment, that kid is going to rise to the occasion. He just always has. That’s one of the reasons why if he goes through a funk at some time in March, shoot yourself out of it, and we believe in you, and let it fly. Because in this moment when we needed him the most, he made huge shots. He was terrific tonight.
RE: You’ve talked about it before with this team, but in this case, the way the first two games went, not
having Isaiah, down 21 with six minutes left in the third, what did you see from them on the bench? What was the mood, and how do they stay so resilient when there’s every reason to not be?
When we won here last year, we were down big. When we had a chance to win earlier this year, we were down big. We’ve been in that situation before. We were playing way better. I don’t know how to phrase it other than that. We were playing way better. We were getting good shots on offense and playing with great purpose, and on defense I thought we were much better than the score indicated. I think that when you play better, you feel better. And you just kind of stay the course.
RE: Did you get a sense the guys realized that and felt that as you’re down 21 —
Well, I know they don’t listen to very much that I say, but I try to say it as much as possible because I felt that way. I felt like it was by far the best first half we’ve played, and it could have easily been a four-point game instead of a 16-point game.
RE: First couple of games you said that when things
weren’t going right, you guys seemed to get down,
seemed to deflate a little bit. Marcus seems to get
the opposite attitude when those situations arise.
How did that affect how you were able to come
back tonight just him getting angry?
Yeah, I don’t know if it was angry. I
thought he was really purposeful all night. He’s
competitive, spirited, but played with good poise. He
was tremendous, and I thought our other starters
played really, really hard. I thought Avery didn’t have a
great shooting night, but he played as hard as he could
on the other end of the floor. Jae Crowder guarding
LeBron is a handful. And then Al had his moments,
especially in the fourth quarter — he made big plays for
us. But Marcus just kind of led us. One of the things about
Marcus is he’s going to play regardless of the score.
Like you mentioned to me, he’s going to compete, and
sometimes he’ll try to hit home runs because that’s —
and then we talk about those after the game and we
always say, and it’s true, those are his greatest
strengths. He is a true competitor. He’s a tough guy. And the other one that we haven’t talked about, I just
thought Jerebko was huge. This whole postseason for
us has been built on the next guy that hasn’t played
that much being ready and kind of helping take the
whole team to a new level.
RE: I was going to ask about Jonas. He came in
middle of the third quarter and the 21-point deficit
erased pretty quickly. What did he do to unlock the
side-to-side offense for you?
I thought it was that, but also he’s a
spacer — being able to kick out and knock down those
shots. But more important than that was the energy on
defense. He blocked a shot, got a couple of rebounds,
kept balls alive. We just needed just a little jolt. I do think there are times guys that haven’t played quite
as much, there’s a real energy and desire to go out and
put it all out there. Sometimes you get gassed early,
but he’s done a good job of staying in shape and
staying the course. Without Gerald, we don’t win the
Chicago series. Without some of our bench play in
Washington, we don’t win. And then Jonas tonight was
a huge reason why we won.
RE: They had 14 threes in the first half. The second
half Tristan Thompson just kind of dominates the
offensive boards. The free-throw disparity, you had
a lot of things go against you. When you win it’s
usually Isaiah hitting a lot of threes, but tonight it
seemed to be different. How did you keep the guys
from getting discouraged, and can you describe
your personal emotions, although you don’t show
any visibly, when Avery’s shot went in?
The first thing I’m thinking about is
are they going to call timeout. If not, get back, get set,
and then when you see it’s 0.1, there’s not much you
can do at 0.1. So you think about that first, and then,
sure, you get excited with the guys in the locker room.
But again, I would have just preferred that ball to
bounce just a little longer and just end it. The first part of your question, we hit more threes than
they did. It’s a long game. We hit 18. These guys are
Rev #2 by #242 at 2017-05-22 03:38:00 GMT page 2 of 3
tremendous players, and so tremendous players hit
tremendous shots. But the first half was kind of like
Game 2. It was like oh, my gosh, this is a little bit
unbelievable. It’s like a video game what’s going on. And so maybe the law of averages worked in our favor
a little bit.