DALLAS -- After the first signature win of the season, the Mavericks can finally put the DeAndre Jordan decision behind them for good. Dirk Nowitzki scratched an itch that had been festering on the backs of Mavericks fans everywhere for the last three months with his vintage 31 point performance. Wes Matthews put the final nail in the DeAndre coffin with his best performance of the season. Matthews demeanor and performance cemented his role as a leader on this team.
"I think the basketball gods were on our side," Rick Carlisle said. "We had a couple of lucky breaks, but of course they had one at the end of the clock, too. It was a great game. I'm really happy for our guys and I'm happy for our fans that we won."
Here's everything the players said after the 118-108 Mavericks' win tonight.
On Mavs' psyche with DeAndre Jordan in the building
"We knew there was going to be really good energy in the building tonight. I was concerned with the early start because we're a late start town, but the fans got here early and we had good energy from start to finish. As we work to get whole, from a health standpoint, everybody needs to dig deep and that's the bottom line. We did that tonight and the fans helped us an awful lot. I think the basketball gods were on our side. We had a couple of lucky breaks; of course they had one at the end of the clock too. It was a great game. I'm really happy for our guys and I'm happy for our fans that we won."
On whether there's a little more pride on winning tonight
"For me, as a basketball player, as a player for the Dallas Mavericks, it's most important to help the team and to play good, to play the right way. Whenever it happens, I'm proud of it. A lot of things happening on the court, off the court, but we move on. I don't think it's the right thing, even for me, since everyone knows I'm the next player, to keep talking about DeAndre and how he didn't come. I'm here, you know. So let's just worry about our team. I kind of take it personal, too, if you ask me. It's very normal, but at the end of the day, I know what I'm capable of doing and I know that we are 4-4 and the one thing I worry about is whether Wes (Matthews) can keep going this way and when Parsons can get back physically. It's going to be a fun season for us."
On admitting it has to be a good feeling to hit the go-ahead free throws
[long pause] "I'll take this win."
On feeling like himself for the first time
"Little bit. It's still a process. It was everybody. The ball was flying with energy with energy and we played with that tonight. We played with a lot of aggression, but it was controlled. I don't think it was very controlled against New Orleans. It was a game that we needed and we got it."
On the energy from the crowd
"They were booing him in warmups and layup lines. That had a push. They helped will us to this game. Even when they made their run back, the crowd stayed with us. Even with they took the lead they stayed with us."
On what this win meant
"This was huge. We need that marquee signature win, to see it. It's one thing to believe it or know that once everything gets going that shots will fall. But it's one thing to say it; it's another thing to do it. We did it tonight. We dominated the game for the most part. They made their run like good teams do. We didn't hang out heads at any point. There was a lot of head hanging in New Orleans. It's one thing to hang your head, it's another thing to put your head down and put it do it."
We have talent all in this lockerroom. It's matter of figuring everybody out. It's a brand new team with everybody coming from different systems and situations. We're pegging this dude [Deron Williams] to be more aggressive. He's gotta retrain himself from throwing it to Joe Johnson and watching. We're starting to know each other and learn each other's tendencies. Mainly learning each other on the defensive end and knowing that we're going to be there for each other.
On the impact of playing well
"For confidence, it does a lot. Sometimes I have to be faithful with the little things and realize what happened and kind of pat myself on the back a little bit. But at the same time, I can't get comfortable. I just want to continue to work hard, because I can help this team. This team is very competitive. We're onto something and I just wanna do my job."
On the atmosphere of the game
"It was great with a lot of hype in the air as expected. It was a fun game against a great, deep team. Going back and forth in the fourth, it was almost a playoff atmosphere."
On responding to the Pelicans loss
"Last night was almost embarrassing. We didn't show up on a lot of levels. Defensively, we just weren't good. I didn't know what to expect. We responded the right way and showed some character and fought for each other. Wes showed tremendous leadership by guarding CP [Chris Paul] early and really getting us going with a couple shots from the block."
On what this win means
"It shows us that we can compete with anybody in this league. The problem is if we just go through the motions like we did last night, we'll get rolled by everybody. That's the name of the game, especially in the West."
On Dirk's eternal battle with Father Time
"I feel good. I worked all summer. I played Euroball. I worked hard at camp. I did all sorts of stuff to stay fit and stay ready. I don't want to get too excited. I had a good November last year and then everything went down the drain for a few weeks. I'll just take it game by game and work hard in between."
On Wes Matthews' performance
"He showed a lot of leadership. He actually texted me last night. He was disgusted with our effort and said it was on us and all the guys to set the tone early. He was fantastic. Basically picking up CP full court forcing him to take tough shots. On the offensive end, he was on fire. He hit some huge shots in the fourth. We were down one late and his hit that setback on the left wing. He made huge plays on both ends of the floor and that's why we got him."
Did Dirk call glass?
On whether there was more emotion than usual
"I guess. I thought there was more emotion than the first time. I thought the other night Memphis exhibited the same emotion. Guys, basketball games are emotional every night. It's just when we choose to see it. Tonight, because of the DJ stuff, we wanted to look at it like an emotional game. Every time we play it's an emotional game because it should be. I hope the game is played with emotion. I don't want the game to get emotional, I don't want to say that. I just thought our defense was awful."
On how the Clippers managed emotions
"I thought the emotion was in the crowd. I thought on the floor you had two teams fighting to win a basketball game. That's emotional anyways, but other than that if if were a January afternoon those two teams would have played (the game) the same. The crowd was emotional and that's fine."
On DeAndre Jordan
"DJ was fine, I thought DJ was fine. He did what he does. Clearly when this happens you want to win that game, your team wants to win the game for you. We didn't do it for him and that's disappointing. Any time you get in one of these the game is only one game, but you want to win the game for your guy."