What the Oklahoma City Thunder saidand the
after Game Twentythree of the Perfect Season.
Coach Rick 'can't kick straight' Carlisle
(On kicking it like Beckham) "I want to apologize to our franchise, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and our fans. The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands, that can’t happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands, I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I’m not a very good kick. But that can’t happen. The officials made the right call on that one and that’s a regrettable situation."
(On loving the calls) "Well, that’s obvious. But look, we weren’t playing well either. When you’re not playing well, a lot of things get magnified. The ball wasn’t going in the basket, there were some other things we needed to do better. They were playing pretty well, and they were getting to the rim on us; that caused a lot of problems. The free throw disparity was huge, but the number of makes versus makes wasn’t that far apart. It was just a tough night for us."
(On the Game) "They’re a good defensive team, but we missed some shots that we normally make. We had some untimely turnovers. I like the way we hung in. We just couldn’t get there and that’s frustrating."
(On Dirk) "At this point we've all got to be patien. The medical aspect to this, I can't speak to. I'm not a doctor. But this is going to take some time and we're going to have to be patient, and he's going to have to work through it.''
(But you're hoping that shooting is an aberation, right?) "I'm staying very closely connected with Mavs athletic trainer Casey Smith on the minute situation, and we'll go from that. But that's about all I can tell you at this point.''
(On the Game) "We had some guys down, but we’re more than capable of winning this game. It was a tie game there with just two minutes left and Westbrook hit a big pullup there on a screen-and-roll. He was just a little too open. But we battled and I think we got the crowd going."
(On Terry) "Jet's been phenomenal in this home stand. He kept us in the game. We just couldn't help him enough to get over the hump.''
(15 Shots, 2 Makes) "I'm just not in a good rhythm. I had some good looks there, I thought, in the second half especially. A couple of them were just in and out."
(What's going on?) "I think maybe sometimes I'm not confident in the movement. I swing the ball and do pick-and-rolls instead of really making a hard move, and when I try to make a hard move it bothers me a little bit.But it is what it is. I think I've got to play through that and I'll get it right sooner.''
(And physically?) "The swelling is gone, so I think that was the major thing for the first month dealing with swelling off and on. But it's been reacting well since we took that little break. It hasn't swell up after games, and so that's the major thing, so that's encouraging. The rest is just hard work.''
(Flashback to last year) "Last year it was ugly, too, for a couple of games, but not that long. I don't know what to tell you."
(On what he does to overcome) "I've just got to keep on working, come in at night like what I always do. I lift on off days and get my shots up and just keep on working, and keep working in the right direction. I think it's going to come eventually. I can't tell you how long it's going to take, but eventually it's going to come back.''
(On Injury-excuses) "We had plenty of firepower, we just didn’t get it done. No excuse, every team is going to go through injuries at some point in the season, but for us, disappointing loss."
(On the Thunder) "For the time being they are the team to beat and they’re playing very well together. Can they be beaten? Yes. They just were the better team tonight."
(On the Loss) "Give them credit. Third quarter there they kind of took control of the game. We just didn’t make shots. And when they get it going and they get to the free throw line more than us, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your half-court offense and we just didn’t have it tonight."
(On getting blocked 13 times) "Well, Ibaka blocked some shots. He did a great job of protecting the basket, but again, we had some opportunities that we just didn’t take advantage of. Against a shot-blocker, you have to get to his body, which I thought we did on several occasions, it just didn’t go our way."
(On Dirk's slump) "It happens. This guy has been playing at a high level for years. He hasn't been himself, but he'll bounce back. It's a long season. We got to have him out there on the floor. He's got to get his opportunities and when he gets it rolling, we're going to be tough to beat.''
(On the 3rd) "We hit a very ice cold third quarter. We couldn’t hit anything."
(On if his hyperextended Knee could cause problems) "Let's hope not. I'm planning on coming in Thursday and getting treatment and hopefully, it'll be good. It did hyperextend it a little bit. It hurt. But we'll keep treating it.''
(On why he returned to the game) "We were shorthanded enough."
(On Carlisle kicking) "It was an interesting night. He could try out for FIFA. He was right, though. It was an interesting game. It was emotional at times and Rick felt like he needed to make his presence felt. It was kind of crazy how the possessions went. We attack the basket strong and didn't get anything. They call ticky-tack down on the other end. Just a bad night all the way around. But we were still right there in position to win the game.''
(On Rick the Kick) "It happens. Coach is engaged in the game. He's fiery and wants to win, just like everybody else. It was unexpected.''
(On Westbrook) "I think we were right there with them with a lot of key guys out tonight, but we played through it, gave ourselves a chance to win, but we couldn’t pull it out. They’re a very good team and when Westbrook is hitting shots and getting to the basket, he’s tough."
(On Dirk) "I think that he has to get his rhythm back more than anything. I mean, he sat out four games, and it's hard to get back into game condition, unless your name rhymes with 'Smarter'. That's just the way it is. He's getting back into it and you can put the ball in his hands a lot. You can run anywhere all you want, when you're out there playing on the court it takes some time getting used to.''''
(On Pick'n'Roll with Terry) "Ever since I signed here, JET has taken me under his wing with the screen-and-roll and we just have great chemistry on the court. We haven’t been together that long, but he does a good job of looking for me when I’m rolling off of screens. He knows that I draw a lot of attention when I go into the paint, so we’ve just gotta keep that going and thrive in those opportunities."
(On D) "Take away the first quarter and we played some of our best defense of the year. We really got after the ball. We fought through screens. We contested their shots, and we rebounded the basketball. We couldn't ask for better effort and execution."
(On Dirk) "We finally found out that he was human."
(On Ibaka) "He's been playing great defensive basketball, I'd say eight of the last nine games. He's good when he's really aggressive around the basket. People are looking for him and that's what we need out of him."
(On Ibaka's perfomance his best shotblocking game) "It might be up there. I've seen him do it many times for us. His first year against the Lakers, this was right up there with that. But that's what he does. As long as he continues to do that it's going to be hard to score on us."
(On playing better in crunchtime as a team) "It was just learning from our mistakes the last two or three years of playing together. We're doing a better job of closing out games. You saw that tonight."
(On Dirk 2-15 and 10 Iblocks) "We usually to just play up on Nowitzki, make him hit tough shots and, like I said, he usually still does make them. Ibaka's blocking ability changes the entire game. It can take away a big part of what they're trying to do in getting to the basket. He probably had four or five where he went straight up and made them miss, which are the same as blocks. So if you look at it like that he may have made them miss 15 or 20 shots. That's huge."
(On 10 Blocks) "When you're in the game, I like to get offense, but on offense it wasn't my day, so I thought the defense was working so I said, 'Let's be focused on that. With the blocked shots, I wanted to just keep going."
(On what Dirk had to do with that) "Most of the time, I play defense on Dirk. But tonight, I asked my coach if he can let Kendrick Perkins or Nick Collison stay on Dirk so I can stay in the paint. Because most of the time when I play defense on Dirk, I'm outside because he's a shooting big guy and I can't leave him open. So it's tough for me to go down and block shots. After playing a lot of games against the same team, it was easy to know."
Collection (starts at 1 min)
MMB | J0shcap Against 'em all
All things considered, the Mavs should feel pretty good about this loss. They were down three men, four when counting Dirk in, and yet were able to keep it a one-possession game until the last minute of regulation. The officiating also didn't help the case up to a point that even the ESPN guys had to admit some kind of disproportion.
What was tonight's turning point?
The turning point tonight was during halftime when the Thunder finally realized that outside of Jason Terry, the Mavs had nobody else who could consistently score. OKC came out in the 3rd quarter and played exceptional defense, holding the Mavs to only 14 points in the quarter. The Thunder went from being three points down at the half to being up by five heading into the 4th. Given the Mavs' offensive struggles, this reversal of leads proved to be decisive.
In a way, the disappointing thing for Oklahoma City was that it was a close game at all. When your opponent shoots below 40 percent, you should expect to win big. But the Thunder struggled to only 41 percent shooting themselves and continued to look erratic in the half court for long stretches, despite a ho-hum (for OKC) 14 turnovers on the night, matching Dallas’ total.
Roddy Beaubois had four assists and no turnovers in 32 minutes, but shot only 3-13. He was a victim of a few unkind bounces after cutting to the rim, but really, it’s not often I watch him play and really think the Thunder screwed up with the Byron Mullens draft day trade. Guys like Beaubois come along often enough. So when you have two highly rated prospects and one is seven feet tall, you go with the seven footer. … Wait, what’s that about Greg Oden and KD? Nevermind.
Ian Mahinmi (six points, nine rebounds, four offensive rebounds) was naturally inserted into the starting lineup in Brendan Haywood’s absence, but it was Brandan Wright (12 points, 4-5 FG, three blocks) who ended up being the man in the middle — or really, the man streaking all over the court — for Dallas by game’s end. Mahinmi had a solid game (and was particularly effective on the offensive glass), but Wright found his sweet spot on both ends: He cut hard to the basket and came up with some truly impressive finishes (a feat made even more impressive by Ibaka’s dominance and OKC’s length in general), and did a spectacular job of defending the rim in both man-to-man and zone coverages. Wright’s athleticism wasn’t showcased very well in Golden State and New Jersey, but his time in Dallas has been a legitimate revival for his career. This is the prospect that warranted the No. 8 pick in the 2007 draft, and he’s already proven to be more useful in limited minutes than a lion’s share of reserve big men are in far more generous amounts of playing time. It’s now time to not only applaud Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban, and Rick Carlisle for nabbing Wright for the league’s minimum salary, but for signing him to a two-year deal for the league’s minimum salary. Well played, gents.
ESPN DIME Everyday i'm struggeell-lling
Nowitzki, who averaged 32.2 points in the West finals and had his two best scoring games of this season against the Thunder, acknowledged he's trying to rebuild his confidence in his knee and game as he goes. It's especially alarming to see him unable to beat Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins off the dribble, no matter how much weight the slimmed-down big man dropped during the lockout.
ESPN Dallas MC-BAN incoming on Referees
"Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time. [...]
fo,fo,fo,fo = 4 of 19 from Deep, 4 of 11 from long 2, 4 of 11 from midrange, 4 of 16 from close Range
Thunderrumblings from Game
Just before the Mavs inbounded the ball following a stoppage midway through the second period, Dallas’ PA guy announced that the Mavs had four seconds to get the ball across halfcourt. I’ve never heard anything like that. Nice homecourt advantage, I guess. I’m of the opinion that the less noise the PA guy makes the better. But for all the stuff OKC’s PA guy blurts out during games, it might not be a bad idea to start splicing in some helpers like that.
Brendan bricked his lower back at the bench. So far he is sporting a shiny brickrate of 50%. Celebration for our
thirdbest Center, Beaches! [nsfw]
On the other Hand, Dirk had 4 Fts. Positive Thinking!
Outrebounded? Sure, 44-55 There is your Game, right there.
30 FG, 16 Assists, 14 Turnovers for the Mavs. Hi, Dirk.
Disclaimer: If you couldn't tell by now, all italic sentences are made up thoughts, not actual quotes.