What the Portland Trail Blazers saidand the
after Game 2.
(On the Win) "We had to play two tough-minded games to beat this team twice and both games were extremely difficult. We had to battle back from six down with five minutes to go the other night and tonight it was back and forth all night."
(On the importance of limiting POR's fastbreaks) "They're very clever they do a good job running out not only after misses, but after makes."
(On only 6 TOs) "It’s huge. Portland is a big forced turnovers team and it took them out of some transition opportunities which was big for us."
(On Kidd and Peja) "I don’t know how many shots Kidd hit exactly coming out of halftime, but he hit the first three or four. Again, with our team, we need different guys to step up at different times, and finding that person or having the guys on the floor find that person is key. Stojakovic found openings tonight, and Kidd was really important to us at the beginning of the third quarter. We’re down 2 points, and it just was a very difficult game in the first half and the beginnings of the third quarter have been really tough for us."
(On Nowitzki's night - 17 FTA) "Look, he’s a great player, and he’s been aggressive, and we’re obviously looking for him. When he gets the ball, he’s going to make something happen. He’s either going to be aggressive to score, or if he gets double-teamed he will make the pass out. Balance is so important to our team, we had a really good balance before we really started going to him exclusively and I think that helped us."
(Wait, are you trying to say he ain't soft!?) "I think he's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around, without question."
(On supporting Dirk) "We’re never sure which two to three guys may or may not get hot, but we need contributions from a lot of different guys on a nightly basis to be successful, and that’s what we got tonight."
(On Stojakovic)"His shot-making was great and very timely. But his defense was better. He was just really solid. He didn't let anybody drive by him all night, which was huge, and he just played a terrific all-around game.
(On the Series) "It’s a long series. It’s two games, we’ve done our job, now we’ve got to regroup and get on a plane Wednesday to Portland, where it’s gonna be tougher."
(On the lack of a consistent 2nd scorer) "We've been doing that second-scorer-by committee all season. Our bigs did a good job of battling Aldridge all game, and we've got to do more of the same on Thursday."
(On the Team) "We’ve got a bunch of guys who want to play off each other, who want to win with each other and that’s how we’ve been winning all season long, together."
(On the veteran experience on the team) "We've got to use that to our advantage."
(On the Bench) "We feel like we have one of the best benches in the league."
(On the Series) "We know this series is far from over. They’re a very, very good home team. Their energy is great, they make shots and the atmosphere in that building is great. So, they’re gonna come out swinging on Thursday."
(On the Mavs always being doubted) "The only thing to make that doubt go away is ultimately if we win it all. I understand that. We had our chance there in '06 and unfortunately came up a little short."
(On the Mavs) "This team is going to keep fighting. I’m going to keep fighting."
(On Kidd's surprising shooting performance) "That doesn’t surprise me. He’s a Hall-of-Famer and that’s what Hall-of-Famers do."
(On if he sees anything new in the team) "I see growth in this team. I see a different focus. I like that we’re not satisfied when we get a couple of stops."
(On turning the ball over) "I think we've shown we can toss the ball out of bounds with the best of them. The big thing is we appreciate the ball this time of year. We've talked about it and we won't harp on it. When you start to harp on it you take away that freedom and creativity. So guys have been really good about it."
(On being sick in the 3rd Quarter) "Just a little bit too much sugar. I had a little upset stomach, but I'm fine. When I was sick my teammates were picking me up and they got the lead and we were rolling, so I didn't mind getting sick at that point."
(On his shooting) "I think in this league everybody is going to give me an opportunity to shoot, so that's no secret. So, it's just being in that mindset of, maybe, 2005."
(On Crawford reffing) "Didn't really care for it. That's not any of our concern. It's something we can't control. Hey, there's good refs all throughout this league. You don't ever know who you're going to get. I didn't even know he was out there."
(On Defense being the key) "Nothing that we didn't already know. We're a good, solid, veteran team. Defense is what we've built this whole season on, and we've just got to continue to do it."
(On the 4th) "We maintained our defensive intensity. Regardless of what was going on on the offensive end, on defense we were in tune with our coverages and everyone was focused."
(Explain your scoring output tonight) "I don't know how to explain it. I was able to help the team and make the shots and this team is a very good basketball team and we have so many talented players. I think when we play a good defense we get into a better flow offensively but also Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki get a lot of attention to our offense, and sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. But if we move the ball from one side to the other we can be very effective."
(On his Game) "This is an intelligent group and the Blazers did a lot of switching on the pick-and-rolls, and Dirk was always getting a mismatch so they doubled on him and I was able to get open and was able to make those shots tonight."
(On the threes) "I was able to make a couple of shots and that gave me confidence. With Dirk, J-Kidd and Jason Terry on the floor, they draw so much attention that we can move the ball around and get good opportunities."
(On Dirk) "He's an unbelievable player. He puts in so much work on the off days how much he's committed to this team, to the organization and he's doing a great job for us and in every way he's a leader on this team and hopefully he'll continue to carry us."
(On the series) "It's not over. We need to win both of our games in Portland."
(On Nowitzki) "He's a hard matchup. No matter what happens in the 1st half, they're going to play through him."
(On Dirk in the Fourth) "The ball is going to be in his hands and he's going to make plays."
(On the Bench) "Our bench hasn't been able to score. And our first unit was playing well, so I ended up going back to those guys to get them in quickly."
(On the 4th) "They're making plays. We've started off with turnovers. I thought we started off that quarter, we had some matchups, and I thought we hurried a couple of those matchups and turned the ball over. We got a little too anxious at the start of the quarter and had some turnovers which led to transition with those guys making a couple of shots." "
(On the Mavs threes) "We're losing guys on the three-point line."
(On Kidd) "He had his confidence and he was looking for his shot."
(On the Game) "Every time we had a chance, we'd turn the ball over or make a big mistake and they ended up closing out the game."
(On solutions) "I think we'll go home and have our crowd behind us. Hopefully that will bring us more energy and we'll play better."
(On his place in the team) "There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking 'You better not cry,'. I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can't be sorry for yourself. I'm a grown man, but there was a moment there that I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help.''
(On coping with reality) "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little hurt, or disappointed. But the biggest thing is to keep moving, to try and keep my spirits up. But it's tough man. I just …. I just always thought I would be treated better. That was a little disappointing for me.''
(On the Bench) "It just seems like their bench has an identity. They've been playing that way for a while now. And our bench is a little stagnant. We've got to try to find an identity and some chemistry before we play the next game."
(On how to cover Dirk) "You're telling me. It's tough when you don't know how to guard him. He has an arsenal of tactics down there as far as getting to the basket and getting his shot off. But, I think we did a great job on him tonight. Once again, our main thing is trying to keep him off the free throw line. It's tough when he's making shots and he's getting to the free throw line. Either or, but you can't give up both of them."
(On Home teams winning) "Over the season this has been the trend. They won two at home, we won two at home. So we just have to got take one game at a time, take home, then come on like dogs to steal one on the road."
(On Dirk going to the Line 17 times) "Seventeen #@C§ing Freethrows! §#$k!"
NBA Playoffs Fastbreak
MMB | Catcap: Knocked aside
The German assassin had struggled through much of the previous three quarters, and even parts of the early fourth, shooting just 6/18 before his eruption late. But it appeared to just be a matter of time, and when it counted the most, Dirk came through in front of an emotionally charged American Airlines Center crowd, featuring both his father and his mentor Holger Geschwindner, and carried the Mavericks with his 33 points.
[...]While its true that the Mavericks do have the upper hand and the momentum, they cannot assume for a second that this series is over. Portland is a dangerous road team (the Mavericks were 0-2 on the road in Portland this year) with explosive players, and a crowd that is just waiting for a thunderous alley oop to exceed 130 dB. A few things that I would watch for in Game 3 is whether or not the Mavericks will be able to establish some more inside scoring with Marion and/or Chandler.
Blazersedge, Recap | Media Row (m8be not)
In a Nutshell
The Blazers alternate between gritty play in the paint and running the ball, keeping even for a half but Dallas comes out in the second half playing to their strengths: playing through Dirk Nowitzki, hitting open threes, and taking care of the ball. Throw in taking care of the ball, cutting off Portland's transition game, and getting to every loose ball first in the fourth period and the Mavericks end up taking this game easily.
Portland's initial problem, inexcusably, was Jose Juan Barea. He scored 6 on the Blazers in the first 4:30 and assisted on 2 more. On the other end the Blazers utterly failed to take advantage of him in the post, first bungling those post attempts badly then turning over the ball, making revenge impossible.
We said it in the series preview, and we noted it again in Tuesday's reset : the Portland Trail Blazers are not the team many thought they were and they're not the team they were as recently as a year or two ago. They're simply not deep. That point was made abundantly clear during Portland's 101-89 Game 2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
McMillan corrected his one big rotation error from Game 1 -- overplaying Roy, especially in the fourth quarter -- but the result was ultimately the same. His team was badly outplayed in the final six minutes. His starters looked overwhelmed and a half-step late on defense, and alternated between "unsure" and "forcing it" on offense. That's generally what happens when a team with eight or nine quality, productive players faces a team with six or seven.
Hoopdata Boxscore (later) | Notes: Mavs are feeling it!
Beautifully played game from Dallas with only six turnovers and what will grade out as a big night in offensive efficiency. This was another very slow game. I know the TNT announcers kept telling you it was being played at a much faster pace than the opener. It wasn't. When the expanded boxscore goes up you'll see another slow tempo. Games can feel fast when the shots are going in. Portland only took 66 shots! How could that happen in an up tempo game?
[...] Dallas has obviously played enough defense to get two wins. And, forcing an average of 12 turnovers per game at slow tempos is better than it seems at first glance because there are few opportunities to force turnovers. Be sure you keep the Dallas defense in proper perspective. They're better than their soft reputation of the past. They're not really as suffocating as allowing 81 and 89 points suggests. This series has been slow as molasses. It was offensive efficiency that was stellar tonight.
Portland Roundball Society Execute'd
It may be tempting to hang tonight’s loss on another hot shooting night by Jason Kidd or a surprise performance by Peja Stojakovic. Don’t do it. It could have just as easily been Jason Terry or JJ Barea scoring those points, and in the next game it might be. This game was about executing offensively and defensively at the apex of game intensity. The Mavericks executed and the Blazers did not.
NBA.Com Unique Dirk
Any time a team manages only 89 points, the offense is the problem. Yes, the Blazers and Mavericks play a slow pace, but 89 points usually can't be argued away in a loss.
But I can't go down that route when assessing where it went wrong for Portland on Monday. Partially because the slow pace made it so Portland actually put up a stellar 110 points per 100 possessions (that's nearly league-leading stuff), but also because the team's new found insistence on running off of long rebounds has been what's put Portland over the edge late in this chaotic season. And without Dallas missing jumpers, the Blazers were more or less … you know.
Offensive Ratings: Dallas 126.1, Portland 110.5 It was masked a little by the slow pace, but what an impressive offensive display by the Dallas Mavericks in a surprisingly easy victory.
During the fourth quarter, Dallas could not be stopped. The attack started, of course, with Dirk Nowitzki. It wasn't a great night for Nowitzki, who shot just 9-of-22, but he earned another 17 trips to the free throw line and was at his best down the stretch. When the Blazers started hugging Nowitzki while defending the pick-and-roll, that opened up the lane for Jose Barea, who fearlessly drove to the hoop for early scores. And when Portland brought over a third defender to cut off Barea, that left Peja Stojakovic alone at the three-point line for daggers. The Blazers did not have enough fingers to cover all the holes.
NBAPlaybook - Portland may not be playing Zone again
Before the Mavericks-Blazers series started I thought that we wouldn’t see much zone in this match-up considering the fact that these two teams play the most zone in the NBA (Dallas plays the most, Portland plays second most). My guess was that both teams have seen the zone so much in practice that it wouldn’t be a surprise to either team’s offense.
So far, that has held true as there was zero zone possessions in game 1, and just one zone possession in game two (run by Portland). With the way that the Mavericks’ ran their zone offense on that possession, you can pretty much guarantee that the Blazers won’t be running anymore zone the rest of the series:
PTB Dirk over you
The Mavericks went 27 minutes, stretching from the 2nd quarter through the end of the game, without a turnover. That’s ridiculous. That’s impressive. And that’s something that will absolutely choke you out if you’re a team trying to push the tempo. The Blazers tried to get out and run, but instead when the Mavericks stopped turning the ball over were worked back into a grind again. It sounds weird for such a good defensive team in Portland to need transition opportunities, especially considering the long-time identity of the Mavericks for the past ten years as a high octane, fast pace offense. But that’s the reality, as the Mavericks’ newfound defensive intensity and accuracy in limited sets make their game more conducive to slowing it down in the half-court set.
J.J. Barea: 2-of-7 shooting, two turnovers, but several critical drives to the hoop in the fourth quarter. Barea correctly identified the Blazer overplays on the Nowitzki pick-and-roll, and attacked the rim fearlessly against a stilted defense. Great recognition, and an excellent job of finishing the play or drawing a foul. Plus, Barea — and the Maverick guards on the whole — defended the post well. The Blazer guards’ post-up play was a non-story in Game 2, even after that element of Portland’s offense had found some success in limited Game 1 application. Kudos to J.J. for his work on both ends.
Haywood bricked all of [four] from the line. He is now 0-6 FTs in two games. Celebration for our third-best Center, Beaches! [nsfw]
Dirk missed 2 FTs. This whole conversation bothers me....
Chandler 4-10-0, Haywood 2-5-0. Mahinmi DNP-Playoffs/French. I know these games are slow as quicksand, but reley?
Mavs 37, Blazers 32
PIP-BoysPOR 38 DAL 36 . Much better than the first Game (46-18)
Bonus or Malus - your whistle
Disclaimer: If you couldn't tell by now, all italic sentences are made up thoughts, not actual quotes. Also, hit the Road, Jack.
Finally....KneeJerk Recap (TM) Jonthefon v2.02
The Mavs (beat/
lost to) [ ]¹ tonight (thanks to/ despite) totol reliance onDirk’s Awesomeness. The (cloud in the silver lining/ major culprit) once more as usualwas the [reliabilty/ lack] of support from his team-mates, with the exception of / ². Especially useless wasJose Barea in the first half Brian Cardinal / Brendan Haywood/DeShawn Stevenson³ and it is (GUESS WHAT) THEY’RE ALMOST NOT ALL USELESS!
¹ Inserted Opponent
² Only one of them, mind you.
³ Two at the minimum, up to all
six seven of them.