CLEVELAND -- Point guard Kyrie Irving wants the Cleveland Cavaliers to keep shooting three-pointers even when they are not falling.
In a 110-106 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday night, the Cavaliers made just 11 of their 42 three-point attempts, but with the long-range shot being such a huge part of their offensive arsenal, Irving feels the team must stick with what has gotten them to a level of success previously unseen by the organization.
“Keep shooting,” Irving said. “Keep letting them go. It’s not like we can celebrate when we go 18 for 34 and we’re going to take our attitude and throw it away just because we’re not shooting well that night. Keep launching them, man.
“We’ve got specific shooters that we have on this team to just do that or make plays for other guys. We got incredible shots. They just weren’t falling. When we were getting downhill and spraying to our shooters, we got some great looks, especially in that fourth quarter. It didn’t start out too well, but the way we ended it, we gave ourselves a chance.”
Irving converted only one of his seven three-point attempts, but sunk 10 of his 20 other shots and got to the free-throw line seven times, six of which he made in the loss to the Hawks.
“Man, it was weighing on me that I was getting in that mid-range, and they were just going in and out on me,” Irving said. “I shot a third one and just started asking myself, ‘How great do I want to be in this mid-range? Within this game? How am I going to affect this game?’
“I just got it going attacking the basket, got two free throws, tried to get our energy back. I’m definitely taking responsibility on my end when we start the fourth quarter and I believe we were down five, and when that energy shifts, I take it so personal. When I go back and watch the game, I just want to throw my freaking remote at the TV because when we start off that fourth quarter after doing so many good things in the third, it’s my job to come in and sustain that.”
What Irving also wants to sustain is a defensive effort because he feels it gives the Cavaliers a boost on the offensive end of the floor, and vows to do better, starting with Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards.
“We’ve got to keep pushing,” Irving said. “We’ve got to keep pushing defensively. We realize obviously our offense is predicated on our defense.
“When we’re getting it rolling, when we’re getting stops, when we’re getting out in transition, myself, ‘Bron, Swish, Kev with the trail, we’re coming off pick-and-rolls and we’re playing with great pace, it’s hard to stop us. I think we got some great looks, but going forward, it’s still my job to make a conscious effort to keep pushing the pace even on misses and makes. We’ll be better.”