QUOTEBOARD: Final Score - Mavericks 103, Spurs 109

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

After a devastating loss that put the Mavericks behind 3-2 in the series and facing elimination, all of the players and coaches had thoughts to share.

Rick Carlisle

On Tiago Splitter having a big game and Mavericks' defense:

They are a great passing team. We have to pick it up defensively. They were shooting about 50% for the majority of the game, and [scored a lot] in late shot clock situations, and those are the ones where you have got to sustain your activity and keep playing. We got very close at the end. We had an opportunity to cut [the lead] to two [points] one time, and then the shot didn't go down. We have to stick with it. They are a tough team. It is a tough series. It's the playoffs, it's supposed to be tough.

On Dirk Nowitzki's game:

He just stayed aggressive. We ant the ball touching his hands in good situations. We have to continue doing that...He just had a couple of tough plays that just didn't quite finish...Dirk is playing well offensively and the shots went in tonight. We just have to make sure that our obsession in this series is at the the defensive end, because that's where it's really hard. It's really hard because of the pace that they play with, and all their cutting and passing. That's where our focus and attention has got to be heading into Game 6.

Dirk Nowitzki

On heating up in the fourth quarter:

I just made some shots. I thought I actually felt pretty good in the first half. I had a bunch of balls that rolled in and out. I just stuck with...and I was able to make a couple there in the fourth. I would obviously like to have that [shot that would have made it a two point game] back, there on the wing, when I faked Splitter. That was a big shot. So I just gotta make that one. I thought overall we didn't play enough defense to win. Even when I was going there in fourth, every time down we just couldn't get the stops to really get back into it.

On the Spurs changing their pick and roll attack, and beating the Mavs' defense:

Obviously they're a little smarter with it now. We've been doing it for five games. That roll [by the big ma] is tough. You can't give Duncan or Splitter those easy, uncontested layups...We'll see, we'll watch the film. If we need to adjust we'll adjust. That's something the coaches will look into tomorrow. We just have to have more energy about our defense. What'd they have, five turnovers? I mean, that's a joke in a 48-minute game...We have to be the more desperate team on Friday for sure if we want to win.

On finding the energy to play defense when struggling so hard on offense and working so hard for rebounds:

Well, we just gotta dig deep. I think [it's hard] for both the guards and the bigs. The guards gotta fight over screens, and the bigs gotta help, and find their right place in the field, try to make them miss, and if they do miss, we just gotta get those rebounds. We gotta get those loose balls. There were some flying around and Splitter got to a ton of them, and that's tough. That's deflating on [us], on our defense, when we do get the stop, you know, and give up an offensive rebound, kick out, and 3. Just a little more. I think we needed just two or three more stops there in the fourth to really make it interesting, and we just couldn't do it.

On what makes the Spurs so difficult to defend on the inside:

Well it's pretty obvious if you've been watching the five games that we're trying to take their three-point shot out of the game, we're trying to stay home on some of their shooters, so if we do that, then sometimes the [big man rolling to the basket] is there. Either the weakside [shooter] is sucking me in, or we have two or three guys in the paint, and that's exactly what they usually want. That's how they killed us in the regular season, in all those meetings where we gave up 15, 16, 17 threes. It's no secret that we're trying to stay home [on shooters] a little more, and they know that, and they're figuring it out better in the last couple games. So we'll see what we do in Game 6.

Devin Harris

On the Mavericks' poor pick and roll defense, and whether the Mavs defended it differently, or the Spurs attacked more effectively:

Yeah, I mean, we made some adjustments, but we just gotta do a better job on the pick and roll. We didn't do a good job of fighting over screens tonight, and they were able to make us pay for it.

...

We didn't change a whole lot in what we did. But it feels that way. We just gotta be better at what we're doing, and get back to what we did in Games 1 and 2...It's no secret to what we're doing. It's Game 5, so they're making adjustments, and it's our turn to kinda figure out what we're doing and go back and try and counter that.

On Dirk getting going, and the impact on the whole team's scoring:

I mean, I dunno what the balance was, I didn't look at the score sheet, but, I mean, [the problems] are [greater] defensively than offensively for us. I mean, we can't allow them to get threes, or easy layups, or live in the paint like they did tonight. Offensively, we're gonna have bad nights and we're gonna have great nights, but I think we really need to hang our hat on the defensive end. We gotta do a better job.

...

It's hard to focus on [Dirk getting going] when we're battling uphill all game long. It's good to see him, and we need to get him going obviously for Game 6. It's going to take all of us. But like I said, the problem isn't our offense, it's really our defense.

On Manu Ginobli affecting the Spurs' offense:

He makes it tough. He's a good interior passer, he's good at penetrating and in-between shots. He's a really good player. He's been the one hurting us for the last couple games, along with Boris Diaw. I think we've done a good job [on them] but we gotta bring a little more energy, be more aggressive with it.

Vince Carter

On the frustration of being within arms length of the Spurs the entire game:

Aw, man, it's tough. But, again, that's something we stressed before the series: just matching their intensity, and their even tough when we can do that. It was important for us to kinda come out and hit first, and they did a great job of, first off, protecting their home, and then every run we made they answered back. Now we just gotta take care of business at home.

On the lapses in Dallas' pick and roll defense:

[They key is] just focusing in, concentration points, I think there's just some small adjustments that we need to make, and they do a great job of just moving the ball and reading the situation, so they put the pressure on the defense. I mean, Manu's ability to score in transition, in the paint, with the hand in his face, and he's a great passer at the same time. So, it's gonna be tough. Nobody said it was easy. I think we gave em a good look, a different look early [in the series], and they made adjustments and we need to do the same.

On missing DeJuan Blair:

Absolutely [we missed him]. We want all our bigs, we want all of our bigs to contribute. Every big brought something to the table this series, and it's unfortunate that we didn't have him, and it's good we have him for Game 6, I'm sure he'll be fired up and ready to go. He does a great job of helping us to cover up our mistakes, but they've just exploited us. I mean, too many easy baskets. They're gonna get some, they're hall of famers over there...But sometimes we just gotta make it tough.

Sam Dalembert

On the Spurs having figured out the Mavs' defense:

I'm not concerned with the other team, you know, I'm just concerned about ourself, and playing the way we've been playing. Giving up too many points at the basket and at the paint isn't acceptable, and we're going to have to do a better job.

On his ankle injury, and how it will react in the next few days:

Yeah [it's concerning]. You know, I'm used to that. I'm used to playing with injuries throughout my career. I'm just going to have to take care of it tomorrow and get ready for Friday.

Gregg Popovich

On Tony Parker, whose baby was born tonight, and who was playing on a grade 1 ankle sprain:

It was a pretty special night for him. I think his child is a little more important than the game, but he managed to do them both. He had a hell of a night, and was magnificent for us.

On Tiago Splitter:

He was really active. I thought we moved the ball better than we had in the past. We looked a little bit more like we have been playing offensively the rest of the year. Tiago is a big part of that. He reads lanes and understands the timing of things pretty well. He did that well with his aggressiveness. His blue-collar type stuff was really great tonight.

On taking advantage of the Mavericks defense:

We just played. We just did what we usually do, nothing different. It was a heck of a game just like all of them have been, except for Game 2 when [Dallas] blew us out. Other than that, [the series] is anybody's game. Making stops and making a shot or two down the stretch is what it is all about. It's the playoffs.

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