LeBron, Kyrie on why Cleveland didn’t rock in loss to Nets

The Nets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-98 on Friday night at Barclays Center. LeBron James, who had 24 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving, who had 26 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds, spoke of the loss after the game.

James said of the game, “I think they (the Nets) played a very good game. I think they were in attack mode, we didn’t control dribble penetration enough. They put us in a lot of pick-and-rolls and they played small and a lot of those guys are dual threats that were shooting the three and they were also beating us off the dribble. So we didn’t do a good job of keeping them out of the paint.”

James said of the Nets possibly being a desperate team, “Nah, I just sense a team that has been playing for each other for a while now and they just know how to play. We just happened to get them on a good night.”

On Cleveland’s energy level tonight, James said, “It was spotty. At times, we were flying around and at times we were kind of in a trance. One thing we can do is try to control how hard we play and how much we communicate; I don’t think we did that to our capabilities tonight.”

Kyrie Irving said of the team’s energy, “I mean, yeah, we have to be there, we’re playing basketball.”

James said of re-focusing after tonight’s game, “There is no excuse, you come out to win every game and we didn’t play our best game tonight. We’ve got practice tomorrow, we’re going to watch film and see ways to get better and try to implement those into Sunday’s game against Philly, I believe. There’s no excuses and that team over threre played better than us tonight.”

On playing at power forward, James said, “Like I said, each game presents different challenges and I’m okay with it. It’s not something I love to do as far as extensively, but I don’t mind doing it at times to help our teams, whatever the case may be. Tonight was one of those nights, knowing that Thad Young was out, they were going to play a little bit more small ball. Even though they started two bigs (Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee), we knew they were going to go small so that was fine with me.”

Kyrie Irving said of the game, “You’ve got to give respect where respect is due. Started out the game, hit us in the mouth early, got over the hump a few times, but a game like that is kind of tough. They were in an unbelievable rhythm and they were hitting a lot of shots. Our defensive rotations were a little bit slow tonight, but it is what it is sometimes, just the flow of the game, it’s the game of basketball. We got a lot of open looks in the first half and a lot of great looks in the second half as well, but they just didn’t fall down. Like I said, it’s just the flow of the game sometimes and we live with it. We take lessons from this game and move on.”

Irving said of playing to the level of the competition, “I mean, it’s just the game of basketball. I guess you guys expect us to be at the all-time level, we expect us to be at the all-time level, sometimes it’s just not going to happen. Shots are just not going to go in, the rhythm is going to change, it’s the game of basketball. I don’t know any other way to get around that question. Not every game is going to be 30-30-30, all five of us scoring in double figures. Some ugly games, some perfect games for us, some great games, some bad games. It’s just the flow of the game of basketball and we’re just playing with each other. As long as we take a lesson from each and every game and we move on, we know what we can correct. Tonight, we tried to make a late push, like against Milwaukee, it just didn’t work tonight. It’s just we’ve got to have that consistency and we’re still finding out a lot about ourselves, but I think that on and off switch has to go away pretty soon. We have to continue to be on all the time and I think that’s what you were talking about, we don’t want to be an inconsistent team and I don’t think we have been this whole season. There are obviously going to be some games where there are lulls and guys are not in the right rhythms and it’s just the game of basketball. We’ve just got to find out a way to win and sometimes you’ve got to win ugly. It’s just the growth of the team and all of us individually have got to take the challenge and we’ll come together collectively and make adjustments.”


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