The Cleveland Cavaliers does a quick job of Dallas Mavericks in their only stop at the American Airlines Center. Cleveland looked like a team near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, taking an early lead and never looking back. Meanwhile, Dallas continues to stutter, despite mid-game adjustments. With the 105-90 loss, the Mavericks fall back to .500.
Here’s what the players and coaches had to say after the game.
(On whether it was Cleveland starting hot or Dallas starting slow…)
“I think it was a bit of both. It’s a very good team. They have two 7 footers in the paint, which is hard to reach. They have [Lamar] Stevens who is strong and tall. And then on the attack, they have Darius [Garland] and [Donovan] Mitchell, they’re gonna do their own thing. They have a pretty big team, a big team.
(On late defensive breakdowns…)
“We will see tomorrow what we are going to do in terms of defence. We just didn’t keep and our offense was static. We also missed a bunch of lay-ups, especially me. I have to do much better than that. And we just have to bounce back.
(On what makes Donovan Mitchell a great goalscorer…)
“He’s a great shooter. He’s very quick and athletic. He can penetrate defense obviously. He can shoot. He’s a complete player. Cleveland, when they traded for him, you can see that (see him score ). They win a lot of games and they have an amazing team. That’s the guy you know.
(Playing without Maxi Kleber…)
“Obviously on the defensive end he’s one of our best defenders, so we miss him. On the defense side, he can bounce back. And on offense, he can shoot and space the ground. We really miss him.
(On what prompted the change in starting roster to start the 2nd half…)
“Everything was on the board. We started slowly. At one point we were only down five – I think it was 30-24. We couldn’t score, but I thought C-Wood [Christian Wood] got us there. Then we talked, at halftime, who might help slow it down [Donovan] Mitchell. We watched Reggie [Bullock]. Reggie had another good first half game for us. Then we started talking about, you know, is there a way to get C-Wood started [so he could] gave us points, and he gave us a good start in third. Again, we couldn’t stop them. They are a good team. It’s a very good team. »
(On what Christian Wood was able to do against the big men in Cleveland tonight…)
“He can stretch the floor. When you look at Maxi and the things Maxi can do by stretching the floor – their two big ones, Luka has to beat [Lamar] Stevens and then he has to face [the bigs] at the rim. So with the ability to have C-Wood on the ground, his ability to shoot, catch and drive, it helped us there in that first quarter and then helped us in the third.
(On what he saw from the rotation breakdowns that allowed for so many cutbacks and lay-ups tonight…)
“Yeah, I think that was what you just said: breakdowns. We just couldn’t reach the cutter fast enough. So let’s look at the tape and see where the errors have taken place. We will work on it and improve.
(On what the game against the Mavericks meant after last year’s playoffs…)
“It could have been them or it could have been anyone. I think for me it’s just understanding that at the end of the day, they’re kind of the reason I’m in Cleveland. They did a great job in the playoffs, and I’m grateful to be here, but it’s just recognition. I’ve faced them many times in my career and played them 6 times in the playoffs with intense focus on different things. Obviously the staff are different here, so I’m able to find gaps, and I was telling those guys how they were going to attack me and approach the second half. I didn’t shoot as much in the second because I knew they were going to start blitzing and trying to knock me out of the game. Everyone did a great job, but I wouldn’t say I got there. We see these guys again and we have to be ready for them. For me, it’s just about setting the tone. I think it was mostly about trying to set the tone after the loss to San Antonio and then coming here worried about last year. Last year made me a better player overall. You take those lessons and you learn them and implement them into the game.”
(On the defensive effort on Luka Dončić…)
“I think we did a terrific job. It was one of those things where Lamar [Stevens] set the tone early, but it wasn’t a one-man job. We had a group of guys who had to try their luck [Luka Dončić]. I thought they came out and executed the game plan very well. He is an extremely talented player, obviously, a gifted basketball player. You do a great job and he always ends up with 30. But, I think what we did set the tone, slowed it down early, gave us a chance for our attack to get going. I would say this is the most complete game we have played. in a long time for sure, and maybe all year.
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