WASHINGTON D.C. -- Here are last night's postgame quotes following the Washington Wizards' 101-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is Mike Prada writing the blurb and choosing the best soundbites, but Michael Katz gets the byline because he was, you know, actually there.
On the close call at the end: "I think I saw some packs of cigarettes fall out on the floor with our bad habits a couple times. We're going to have to fix that. But again, this was a game we made harder than we should have, but that's the learning process. As I talked to them afterwards, plays you make the last minute and a half, two minutes of a ball game can't be the same plays you make the first five minutes of the game. We kind of did that, but hopefully, the next time we're in that situation -- where we're up 10, and they make a couple threes and we make a couple of turnovers and suddenly it's a game -- we'd have done our part a little better. But that's part of a teaching process."
On Andray Blatche's performance: "He did [hustle]. Nine rebounds, four or five assists? He had five. And hey, we know, he knows. As I told him before the game, 'You go out and play. Don't worry about results right now.' He has a lot of rust on him, and it's hard when you have a calf injury and you can't do any running for six weeks and then come out for two practices and expect to be who you can be. But for him to have nine rebounds and five assists, that's a big part of our game."
On John Wall's "extra energy" in this game: "I hope it's not extra energy. That's what we want every night. I think he has been doing that every night. The Orlando game, I thought he had that same level of energy, and that's what he's got to do. He has, as he and I talk after every game, he has habits that need to be broken too. His guy gets beat, whether it's a high pick and roll, and he [sometimes] just gives up on the play, doesn't stay in the play and keep chasing. Well, that was a heck of a block that he had at the end of the game where he did that. He stayed, he kept chasing and presented an opportunity where he can block the shot. John's been playing well. I like where he's going in his decision-making, to the point where I don't have to coach anymore. As a coach, you want to prepare them, and you want to get them ready. Then, you want to let them play. That's the perfect scenario as a coach. John's getting an understanding of where I want the ball, who I want the ball in the hands of, which plays to run, without having to look over at me every time and say, 'What do you want, coach?' That's the growth of a point guard, and he's made great steps in the last couple weeks where he doesn't have to look over at me. I have to yell at him if I want to change what's being called. I like that."
On JaVale McGee's coast-to-coast turnover: "That wasn't the only cigarette that fell out. (long pause). Cigarette smoking's a tough habit to beat."
On his passing/full-court drives (deflected with humor): "I had two assists, but they only gave me one, so I'm going to have to go to the league about it. You know, I'm not looking to score all the time. I have a high shooting percentage, but I don't shoot a lot. I like the pass the ball, but sometimes, people aren't open to get it."
On Kyrie Irving: "He's a talented point guard that can shoot really well, penetrate and finish. He makes it tough to guard him because you have to switch up on certain guys. With him, you definitely have to go over the top of screens to stop him. He did a great job leading his team and got them back in the game in the fourth quarter."
On running the offense: "I'm growing comfortable. At times, you got to know who to get the ball to and who not to. I think I did a great job of finding Roger Mason in the first half when he was hot, and me and Shelvin [Mack], in the second half, we found Jordan [Crawford] when he was hot. It's just about not being careless with the ball and getting turnovers. That's how you get trust with your teammates.
On Andray Blatche: "Dray just gave us a lot of energy rebounding the ball and helping out on defense. He was giving us good minutes that we need at the 5 and 4 positions."