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Dallas Takes Game One: Notes and Quotes

+ In terms of pace, that was the second slowest game Dallas has played all season -- 82.4 possessions.  The only game this season played at a slower pace was the first game at San Antonio which Dallas also won.

+ San Antonio did not block a shot and had only twelve free throw attempts.

+ Stat of the game: JJ Barea +17.

+ Player of the game: Brandon Bass.  Playing the final 8:28 of the second quarter in place of Dirk, Bass had 8 points and four rebounds.  Dallas was +7 during that stretch and went into the locker room down just four.  San Antonio had a huge opportunity after Dirk picked up that early third foul, and they couldn't take advantage.  Bass was the main reason why, and that's why he's my player of the game.

Barea's defense on Parker makes him a worhty candidate, but I just think those last eight minutes of the second quarter were the game.

+ Behind enemy lines: "Parker's second half had everything to do with our loss. His inexplicable obsession with driving against Barea proved to be our undoing, and the offense got stagnant when he insisted on playing one-on-one ball and exploiting the supposed speed/skill difference against the Mavs upstart. Memo to Tony: Barea is quick. He can keep up with you."

+ Favorite part of the night?  Seeing Spurs fans begin to exit the lower bowl with two minutes remaining.

Josh Howard

What did you feel was the key tonight to overcoming that second quarter double digit deficit?

I just think guys grinded  it out.  Bass stepped up big for us when Dirk had foul trouble  I think Damp played great defense on Tim.  Overall the team defense was great.

You really stepped up late in the second quarter, did that put you in a great frame of mind for the start of the third?

Yes, exactly.  I got into a groove.  I was comfortable.  I took my time when I winded up and knocked it down. 

You've been part of a long losing streak in road playoff games, but you've had success here.  Did that give you an element of confidence coming in?

I wouldn't say so.  We're just playing as a team.  These last two months we've been playing great, and we just brought that into this great atmosphere.  The Spurs are defending champions, well not defending, but they've won it.  This a tough place to play, and we came down here and took care of business today. 

Rick Carlisle has said that the ups and downs of this season have made you guys battle tested.  Would you say that is an accurate statement?

Accurate statement.  This core group of guys has never been up and down this much since I've been here.  For us to pull together the way we did... We've just got to stay confident, keep playing, and build on it.

What kind of momentum do you think you guys have now?

Just staying confident.  The Spurs are a great team, and they aren't going to lay down on anybody.  We've just got to be ready.

Rick Carlisle

He [Barea] was effective in the first half. The only way to get him significantly more minutes was to start him and get him in the rotation with JET and Jason.   He's played important minutes, and started a lot of important games for us this year.  It's something I haven't hesitated to do because he has always responded.  He was making good things happen, so I felt we needed him out there more in the second half.

Talk about the job Damp did on Duncan.

I thought Duncan played great.  We know he's not 100%.  We know he's had a rough year physically.  He had very good numbers.  13 of 24 is monster game, but there were a couple of key stops we were able to get.  Damp put his body in a good position and he battled him.  We're talking about one of the all-time great players.  He's going to make tough shots, and he did.  There were one or two we got him to miss.  He may have just missed on his own too.

Erick Dampier

How big was this win for you guys tonight?

It's not a race it's a marathon.  We stuck with it even in the first quarter when we weren't hitting shots.  We came out in the second half making shots, getting easy layups, getting rebounds.  When we're out there having fun and sharing the ball we are a totally different team.  Dirk was getting double and triple teamed, but he was making easy passes and guys were hitting shots. We've just got to continue to do that.  We know the second game is going to be a tough game.  We just have to be prepared mentally and come out ready to play hard.

Were you working out nerves in the first quarter, or what was the situation?

I don't think we were nervous.  When you're not hitting shots it's easy for them to get rebounds and go down and score.  During the second half they just gave the ball to Tim Duncan and we contested his shots.  When we're doing the job defensively it's a totally different game.  Tonight we got everybody involved  and it was a good game for us.

You had a double-double tonight, 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Well it should have been more points, that's the way I feel (laughing!).  I missed a couple of easy tip-ins there throughout the game.  I just try to make the best of every opportunity I get.  I know I'm not going to get a lot of touches.  The ball is going to run through Dirk. When I get the opportunities I just have to make the most of them. 

What does it say about this team when JET and Dirk don't have their typical offensive games?

We're a team.  It doesn't matter if they are playing their best or not.  We have to put five guys out there on the floor.  We have other guys who can step up and do the job offensively and defensively.  Coming into this game we knew they were going to double team Dirk, so it was just up to him to make the easy pass.  Guys were just going to play off of him.  We drove to the basket and got layups and hit guys for open shots.

The bench stepped up -- Bass, and especially Barea.

He's a good player.  The pick-and-roll, guys are going to have to decide how they are going to play it otherwise he's going to get layups or open shots.  When they try to double team him then it's up to him to make the pass.

What is the mindset headed into game two?

This game is behind us.  We haven't done anything.  We have to go out and prepare for those guys in game two.  We know they're going to come out hard.  We know they are going to run the ball through Tim Duncan.  It's going to be up to us to do the job defensively on those guys.

Michael Finley

What do you make of Barea?  Offensively and defensively he changed the game tonight.

JJ has been playing well, not just this game but the entire year -- especially when Jason Terry went down for a little bit.  He has a lot confidence from his coaches and his teammates, and he comes and plays that way.  Next game we definitely have to take him into consideration.

Dirk Nowitzki

I think they pay a lot of attention to Terry and myself.  They double teamed Terry off the pick and roll almost all the way out to half court.  They dealt with me when I set pick and rolls.  They barely left me.  In the post they were playing high side and sending somebody from the weak side. 

I think the key was the other guys used their freedom to our advantage.  Barea got in the paint a bunch of times in a row in the fourth quarter off the pick and roll.  Antoine Wright had like six points in a row.  Bass was big for us when I was in foul trouble in the first half.  He hit some big baskets and helped us cut the lead down to four.  I think our bench was great today.