Here's what Cavs coach David Blatt said after Thursday morning's shootaround for the 8 p.m. opener against the New York Knicks:
Q: You excited?
A: Absolutely. And Iíve gone through it a number of times, not in this environment, but over the course of my career. I can tell you myself and the staff, weíre as excited as anybody. This is the beginning of the journey and weíve worked hard during the course of the preseason. Our ownership group and management worked hard this summer to put a good team in our hands. Very excited would be a very fair way to describe the feeling.
Q: Ever have an opener with this type of anticipation?
A: Honestly yes because of where Iíve worked. But this will be special and unique because itís in Cleveland, Ohio. It marks the true return of LeBron James and the addition of great players like Kevin Love and the commitment of players like Kyrie Irving and all the other new guys we brought in who came here primarily because they wanted to be part of something new and exciting that hopefully will lead to great achievements. This is a special day for a lot of people. This city is as excited and as enlightened as they can possibly be. Iím sure weíll feel that energy in the arena tonight.
Q: Describe this energy/moment for outsiders.
A: The last several years in Cleveland for basketball has been though and the people have not left our side. But they are hungry and deserving of a good product, of a good show every night, of a team thatís willing to give them everything theyíve been giving this club the last four years in tough times. I feel, my sense walking around the street, particularly when people are yelling at me out their car window, that happens a lot by the way. You have to be careful because if you turn around you might get clippedin the middle of the street. My sense is the people are firmly behind this team and this project and theyíre excited and anxious to get this going and so are we.
Q: Can LeBron get too ramped up?
A: If there is anyone capable of handling that itíd be LeBron. Heís been through just about everything.. Although this will be one new experience. You have to acknowledge and admire once again the decision that LeBron made and the commitment he has made to this state, to this city and it should be a wonderful moment for him. Iím happy for him and Iím proud of him for what heís done. I hope we can all lift ourselves as well as LeBron for this moment, for this crowd and for this season.
Q: What question do you want answered?
A: Are we going to grow every day? Are we not going to fall prey to the noise and the tough elements? They will ultimately come. Itís part of the process. Are we going to stay focused and determined and dedicated to task and are we going to believe in each other enough to work our way through all the trials and tribulations of an NBA season and ultimately become a top level basketball team?
Q: Will you let LBJ address team before game if he asks?
A: I didnít think about that to be honest. Heís the leader of this team. If he has a word to say I donít think thereís anything wrong with that, not at all.
Q: What will you feel when step out on court?
A: Know whatís great about those sort of feelings? You donít anticipate, you just let them come. Iím in the moment of trying to help my team win, Iím in the moment of thinking about who we are and who our opponents are. Whatever comes is going to be great. Iím not overthinking it.
Q: Your first NBA game, is this emotional for you?
A: I think this is about the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron, Cleveland and all our guys. Iíve been coaching for a long time, obviously this is my first NBA game and thereís significance to that, but Iím going to leave that on the backburner and focus on helping those guys do the best they can.
Q: What's the real answer?
A: OK, Iím as excited as hell. Who wouldnít be?
Q: How can you help fast track chemistry?
A: Simplify, designate, lock in on minimal number of things and try to grow from that point. Stick to principles, stay fundamental and willing to stay the course and ultimately to grow. Thatís what Iím trying to do.