What the Phoenix Suns saidand the
after Game Twentytwo of the Perfect Season.
(On Winning) "Look, we’re a franchise that expects to win games and it starts with Mark Cuban at the top. We place high standard on our play. And when you get off to an abysmal start like we did, it’s painful. But we’ve climbed out of that and we’ve got to understand that just ’cause we’re winning and playing well now, there’s nothing guaranteed and we’ve gotta keep working at it."
(On the game) "We caught a break with Nash not playing. I don’t think you can overlook that as a big factor in the game, but we played. I thought our effort was even and consistent. We were able to keep fresh guys on the floor and we moved the ball well and made shots. Our defense was
good enough to win. It’s a good win for us and we have another game on Wednesday."
(On Carter) "Vince has been a longtime starter at the shooting guard position. He's bumped over and played some small forward certainly in his career. But he's another guy that can make plays, that can get shots for other people, that can create looks for himself. The good thing right now is he's gotten back healthy, and that's the biggest key."
(On already the 3rd Game vs PHX) "It's kind of unique. There's the familiarity aspect of it. In this season there's a lot of quirky things going on, so we've all got to accept the challenges that are before us and approach them with enthusiasm. That's where we're at."
(On the Key) "We were able to really blow it open there at the end of the second. That was a huge run for us to go up 20 at the half and kind of cruise from there."
(On his Legs) "I’m getting better. I obviously got some work to do, but I think my legs are stronger and even Sunday against San Antonio I was able to put the ball on the floor. I’ve got to be able to move and put the ball on the floor a little bit. I like the progress.’’
(On 18 Games in January) "If you would have asked me at Christmas and the day after, I would have said we're in trouble. But I think we've come a long way since the first couple of weeks of the season. I think guys got in better shape. I think guys are learning to play off each other. And I've said this almost feels like last year. We've got a bunch of veterans who want to play and are not selfish, like Vince and Lamar."
(On the Mavs) "I really like the setup of the team. I think we were really worried coming into the season, losing Tyson. But the way Brendan Haywood has been playing is some of the same stuff Tyson was doing for us, protecting the paint, blocking shots. It almost feels a little bit like last year. We’ve got a bunch of veterans that want to play, they’re not selfish.’’
(On still get motivated to play the Suns) "It’s a little different coming here and playing as a visitor coming here and playing in this gym. I’m a Dallas Maverick right now and that’s all you can focus on. When you play in a city like this for a long time there is definitely part of you that is still there. It's not every day you can spend 8½ years with a team. Coming back is very interesting."
(On coming back a champion) "Yes. We worked hard. That’s something we earned. We did what we had to do last year, went out and got that hardware."
(On a Ring w/ Phx) "I could have gotten one here. That was the biggest thing that hurt more than anything. I wish I had brought a championship here."
(On doing anything different since injury) "Nothing, just playing, just getting in the flow. With the injury I had some time to get my body right, of course with the foot and just getting healthy. I was just trying to do all the things I could just to get back, step back in and continue to play. So I got a lot of shots up, just working on my body and getting stronger."
(On acknowledging Assistant Coaches) "That is just how I have been. I'm appreciative of the coaches putting the extra work in. I have been around a long time, and for them to push me and work me like a young guy to get me better, I appreciate that and I have always been that way."
(On playing 18 games in January as a rookie compared to now) "It’s tough to compare because I was a rookie. I was just happy to be out there. It was grueling, but at the same time when you are young and dumb you don’t really know better. So it’s just learning. I had a great cast of guys with me so I felt prepared. I felt this is just the way it is and the life of the league and I had to just deal with it. It wasn’t as bad as I could recall. Now, it’s tough but I’ve done everything that I can to take care of my body and be ready. Something I think as a young guy you don’t appreciate, realize and you do. I think that’s the biggest difference, just taking care of myself."
(On the Mavs) "We’re moving the ball, finding the open guy and guys are hitting shots. This is a team where we don’t really care how many points you score. We’re worried about are we playing together and are we making the right play. And we’ve done that."
(On the Mavs) "We have so many playmakers, so many guys that can put the ball in the hole, we just really have to trust each other. That was on full display tonight. We didn’t have our leader, J-Kidd, but we might build off this and get him back as soon as possible."
(On 25 Points on 12 Shots) "You know, I can shoot the basketball. The coaches keep telling me to just step up and take my shots. The ball found the open man tonight and I was just knocking down shots," West modestly said of his night.
(On Nash sitting) "Usually, if he had a couple of days off he’d be able to recover. If he would be able to go, he would go. If anyone can do it, he can do it."
(On the game) "Obviously we ran into a team that shot the heck out of the ball and they caught us in rotation with Dirk, we were always trying to help Grant. Their shooters shot the ball extremely well tonight. Bench shot well. We were playing catch-up from there and it’s hard to play catch-up against that team especially when they’ve got everything locked in and gone. They force you to get into rotations. You gotta try and double Dirk and he opens up other guys and they shot the ball extremely well. They are 18th in the league in shooting and we forced them to make shots and they made them. Sometimes you have to play the averages."
(On Childress playing time) "He’s playing well. The guy is a true professional, he came every day and he worked. I talked to him several times and he says "I’ve got to be ready if I get a chance to play then I’ve got to be ready to play." We gave him an opportunity and I think he responded and did a great job."
(On Childress) "If we're going to have Josh Childresses, we're going to win the game. The guy came into the game after sitting for 15, 16, 17 games, he came in fully professional, he was prepared and ready, he hustled, he ran and he gave 120 percent. It was incredible what he did."
(On the Loss) "Tough loss. They were shooting the ball very well today but you know what? End of the day, we let them do that."
(On the game) "Obviously, it’s frustrating that we lost the game the way we did tonight. They just kept hitting shot, after shot, after shot and we could just never get our footing really. But, we have to come in tomorrow, watch the film, break it down and work on those things in practice."
(On Dallas’ three-point shooting) "I wouldn’t say it was demoralizing, but when you’re trying, and you’re playing as hard as we were, and to just consistently get hit with three, after three, after three, it’s frustrating and we have to really focus on running those guys off the line. But, also trying to rebound the ball and get out on the break, put the pressure on them."
(On his role) "Coach wants me to come in, play solid defense and give Grant Hill some
Sprite rest. So that’s my main focus and I have to make sure I’m in there and doing well."
(On the Mavs) "They’ve always been tough for us. They have a great defense, they have different counters, they got people that can score in different ways. Jason Terry can shoot the ball, Delonte West knocked it down, Vince Carter played well. Obviously, Dirk Nowitzki causes so much attention with them. The Matrix, they put him in a position where he can do his floaters. It’s just a tough team to guard and once they start hitting shots, the flood gates really opened and it was tough for us."
(On Dallas' Bombs away) "Even when we had a hand up on good defense, they were hitting it. When we had bad defense, they made us pay every time. You keep seeing 3s go in. That's how we do, usually. I guarantee you when we were playing the Lakers last season and hitting 22 3-pointers, that's deflating. I don't know how many they hit, but it was a barrage."
(On staying positive) "All that you can do is just come in, look at film, look yourself in the mirror, work harder. Including myself, I need to get come in here, get better, look at stuff and defensively, we played really bad tonight."
MMB | Bowecap FreeThrees4all
Dirk Nowtizki wasn't particularly great (10 points, 4-of-10 shooting) but his mere presence helps Dallas spacing so much. Also, I will say this was the first time Dirk looked comfortable in the post in WEEKS. Dirk finally did more than just hang out waiting for catch and shoot opportunities. He had a couple of nice, Dirk-y post moves and was moving the ball brilliantly out of the post (four assists). Phoenix wanted to make sure everyone but Dirk beat them, swarming him with multiple defenders before he even made his first dribble in a post up. Remember there was a time where Dirk's passing out of a double team was his biggest weakness? That feels like 10 years ago. Oh wait, it kinda was.
Bright Side of the Suns Scor(ch)ed
The Mavericks dropped 10 of 16 threes in the first two quarters, including 6 straight to end the half. Once again a former Sun did major damage. This time it was in the form of Vince Carter (cringe), who went for 15 points on 6-9 shooting, including three out four 3-pointers. The Suns were out rebounded 23-13, with the Mavericks scoring 15 second chance points. While the Suns looked decent from a numbers standpoint: 48% fg, 4-7 from beyond the arc, and only 5 turnovers, missing 5 of their last 6 shots to end the 2nd quarter left them down by 18 at the break.
Said Suns defensive guru, Elston Turner: "..We blew assignments and allowed too much dribble penetration..."
Sound familiar? Need to read any further?
Of late the Suns have struggled to defend the paint, and despite looking rather efficient on offense with sitting out with a left knee contusion, deepening those struggles at U.S. Airways Center was the Suns’ failure to run the Mavs off the three-point line. As frustrating as they might be in the locker room afterward, it was rare to see frustration on the players faces during the game outside Childress (he slammed the ball hard on the floor after losing a dribble out of bounds early), Dudley (the forward looked more aggressive as the game got more embarrassing) and backup point guard (he dove on the floor for a loose ball and was in a controlled attack mode throughout).
23 Bullet Points? LOL, MUCH LATER!!
On a related note: Ian Mahinmi and Brendan Haywood have both been effective offensive rebounders this season, but the stylistic differences in their technique always stand out to me. Earlier this season, I discussed the difference between offensive and defensive rebounding approach with Mahinmi. He offered the following:
“Defensively, you try to box out your guy. You try to make sure that your guy is not getting the board, and then you go get it. Offensively, you’re just moving around, and when the shot goes up you just go up and get it. There’s no special recipe.”
That description sums up Mahinmi’s offensive rebounding strategy pretty perfectly; the shot often goes up with Mahinmi on the wing or near the top of the key, and he grabs an offensive board through hustle alone. Haywood, on the other hand, seems to approach offensive rebounding much like he does defensive rebounding. He establishes position down low, boxes out his man, and uses his height and long arms to corral rebounds slightly out of his immediate vicinity.
Dallas took 21 Shots at the Rim. Missed three of 'em.
Brendan bricked none of nil from the line. So far he is stuck at a brickrate of 50%. Celebration for our
thirdbest Center, Beaches! [nsfw]
On the other Hand, Roddy has attempted 1 FT in the last 116 Minutes.
Outrebounded? Nope, 44-33
3rd Time's a Charm
48 FG, 31 Assists for the Mavs. I doubt they can make much more FG in a Game anytime soon.
Disclaimer: If you couldn't tell by now, all italic sentences are made up thoughts, not actual quotes.