Dallas has clinched a spot in the playoffs for the ninth straight season! They are tied with Utah (the Jazz hold the tiebreak), and they are just one back of New Orleans for sixth.
The Mavs sixteen steals were a season high. Josh Howard's seven steals were a career high.
Congratulations to Matt Carroll for his hitting his first three as a Maverick.
The Dallas bench scored 63 points.
On momentum/confidence headed into the postseason...
We're playing with confidence. Especially on defense. I think we are starting the game a little bit better. We're getting stops and our transition offense is working. I think also we are doing a better job getting into the paint. That's what we need to do a little more. We've just got to keep it rolling.
What was the key for the bench tonight?
It was incredible. I think coach did an excellent job rotation wise, what time they put us in. Jason Terry came in and gave a spark real quick. James Singleton, he's so athletic so he's going to get it done. And then coach called a couple pick and rolls for me and it worked out tonight.
What was the impact of Josh Howard's defensive game?
Oh, he's great. Josh Howard is the biggest part of this team. He could be playing bad or good or doing his thing, we need him out there though.
You could move into a sixth place tie on Friday with a win, but obviously easier said than done.
We're looking forward to Friday. I know it's a big game, but we owe them a couple of games so it will be good for us to get this one on Friday.
We needed a win to get in the playoffs, to guarantee that we're in. So it's an important win for us. A lot of guys played well. We didn't have to run anybody up big minutes so that's always a good thing. We've got to go on from here. We're in control of our destiny to a certain degree because if we can continue to win we have a real opportunity to move up. That's the challenge.
Talk about the defense, especially Josh Howard.
Josh Howard was great. His shot making wasn't there the way it has been the last three games he's played, but defensively.. seven steals is a ton of steals. I may not have had seven steals my whole career. You know, it's a lot. They were timely plays. A lot of them were situations where the momentum could have gone the other way. It could have been a five point swing. We miss, and then boom he comes up with the ball. He was great and hey, you saw his face. His left eye was almost swollen shut for the second half of the game. He gave us a big lift again.
We played a good game as a team. the biggest part of the game was the first half they only had one second chance opportunity. If you can rebound with Utah and limit them to one or two in a half, it means you are really doing a great job and your intensity is there on the boards. Our crowd was great. It was a good night for us. The last time we played them it was a miserable night for us at their place. It was good to bounce back from that loss however many weeks ago it was and play well.
You guys really answered the call tonight.
We came out and we did the job defensively. Go out there, play good defense, have fun while we are out there on the floor, share the ball, run the plays. Guys were hitting shots tonight. Things are just coming together for us. We've just got to continue to do it consistently and hopefully we'll come out victorious.
Talk about your bench.
JET has been great all year. Comes in and averages 20 off the bench. JJ is our spark. We run a lot of pick rolls for him to get to the basket and hit guys for open shots. All those guys continue to do what they very night and we're going to give ourselves a chance to win more games.
What's the teams mindset. Where is your confidence right now?
We're taking it one game at a time. Each game from here on out is a confidence builder headed into the playoffs. We know we have a chance. A lot of team probably don't want to face us in the first round, but they're going to have to. As long as we play good defense and get good shots we are going to give ourselves a chance to win any game.
You have chance to be in sixth with wins over New Orleans.
We're not overlooking anyone. Any win is good on any given night. New Orleans is a great team. We're playing those guys back to back so we know what we have to do. Chris Paul is going to give a push to those guys. It seems like he always plays better when we're playing those guys. We're just going to try to go out and do the job defensively and get the win.
Have you set a number, like we want the sixth seed?
We haven't set a number, but we know we would love to be the sixth seed. Wherever we finish at, we'll be looking forward to playing whoever it is. And we'll go out and give it all we have.
What happened on that one play?
I got fouled pretty hard. No call. Just live with it and that's it.
What did it say about how bad you wanted to play that kept going?
I always want to play. Regardless of the situation, I've always been the guy that wanted to play. As long as my eyeball wasn't falling out or I was half dead I was going to come back out there.
Would you say that was one of your best all around defensive games?
Nope. I probably had some when I was younger -- just had flashbacks right there.
We've been fighting here over the last couple of weeks to get in. It's good to know that we made it, but we're still looking to move up.
Considering NO lost, how much does that elevate Friday's game?
Both games are big. We see them back to back so it's kind of a playoff type atmosphere already. It's going to be fun. The first one is at our house where we've played great all season. I think it's the first time I've seen the wave here in eleven years, so I think everyone is ready for the playoffs. It should be a fun game Friday.