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Quoteboard for Mavericks 128, Rockets 130: 'It's the great Nowitzki, man'

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Was this the penultimate game of the series for Dallas and Dirk's final playoff stand?

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Rick Carlisle

On the last play: "We were getting the ball to Dirk and then Monta. He made one great play and we didn't get a great shot on it, so that's on me."

On the difference with Harden from the first two to now: "We changed the coverage on him to take some of the other easy basket by other guys out of it. He's going to be turned loose for a few more shots, a lot of them were difficult. He made a lot of them. We'll keep looking at it and we'll keep adjusting. We can't give a great player like that the same looks all the time. He made a lot of difficult shots; the decisive shot was a contested two that was in and out and then back in again. They had some good fortune on that bounce and we just weren't able to get that last shot to go in."

On Dirk: "It's the great Nowitzki, man. He's unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Unbelievable heart, unbelievable everything. Kept us in it and at one point he wasn't having a particularly great shot making night but he just hung in. We weren't able to get him the type of rest we normally would like but we just had no choice. We had other guys who were going down left and right. Felton pulled his hamstring, RJ pulled something in his calf, so we're losing manpower, but guys are fighting their asses off and I love it. We're going to be back in here fighting our asses off on Sunday."

On being down 0-3: "My hope is that in Game 4, the one play that's kind of an image stuck in my mind and I just looked at it six times on film, is the first play of the fourth quarter, we're scrambling like hell defensively and Devin Harris is going to get the ball and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench, takes the ball and skips it over the top and Ariza gets a wide-open three. So instead of us getting the ball and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a five to six-point swing and that stuff's got to stop. The officials got to get that stuff under control because there's too much physical stuff going on. Howard's throwing people all over the place. That can't happen in Game 4."

On whether he got an explanation on the Dwight Howard shove on Devin that he referenced: "I didn't get one. Look, referees miss calls but there's a lot of physical stuff going on out there, it just doesn't look kosher to me. They're a more physical team, but this series has got to be played within the rules."

Dirk Nowitzki

On whether he can take pride in this performance: "Uh, not yet. It's a game we needed to have. It was definitely a fun game to be a part of, an up and down game, shot making and playmaking all over the place. Really fought back all game. They hit us with runs all game. They're very explosive offensively. Just kept coming back, kept plugging, didn't look get there when Smith had the and-1, still fought back, still kept coming. Having a chance to tie it at the buzzer. It ranks up there as the toughest playoff losses I've had in my long playoff career. This is definitely up there."

On Houston getting back in: "Like I said they're going to make runs. They were fantastic today and they got a bunch of other guys that can make plays, shoot off the dribble. Nobody thought we were just going to run away with that game, they made a little run there to close the half then we didn't start the third quarter off great. Had some looks there we missed, missed some coverages on defense, next thing you know we were down 3, 4, or 5."

On Monta: "Yeah, I don't think scoring was a problem. We scored 130 almost. You know, we just needed a couple more stops. That's where the game was at and we just couldn't get one. I thought when we had it close the and-one from Harden hurt. I don't think Monta and Tyson were on the same page on the high screen and roll. He rolled down the middle and got the and-1 to go back up four. So yeah, Monta kept making plays offensively to kind of keep us close. We just needed a couple of stops."

On mentality in Game 4: "Same fight, same fight we had tonight. For our fans, for this franchise, see who's actually available for Sunday. I think some more guys got banged up unfortunately. I feel bad for Ray, he's been waiting for this situation and he gets hurt a couple of minutes in. RJ got hurt I saw. We'll see, whoever goes out there is going to play hard and attack. Maybe a little smarter here and there on some defensively plays. Maybe that makes the difference."

On officials: "It's a playoff game. It's a game of emotions out there, there's always stuff you don't agree with. I've done that in my 17 years, I usually get my complaining in during the game and once the game's over it's not their fault. There's plenty of plays we could have made."

On Monta getting the last shot instead of him: He had hit a shot the play before "so we gave the ball to him again. He's been great for us the last two years, hitting clutch shots and coming through for us. On the second one, they were ready for us, I had to catch it out a little further, that means the handoff was a lot further out than we wanted it to be. Monta just had to go one on one against a guy who's long and quick. He forced him into a tough shot and unfortunately for us."

Tyson Chandler

On effort: "I thought we fought hard tonight. Just had some bad breaks. Lost a couple bodies early. That made things tough."

On Harden: "He had a good game tonight. I thought he made shots. We switched up coverages a little bit, he found a little daylight, he had a big game."

On whether the adjustments made that possible: "Our defense is still clearly, he's always the no. 1 threat. Tonight he just got off."

On the last shot: "[Monta] had a good look, he just missed the shot. We ran a play designed for a read option for Dirk and Monta, depending on what the defense did. Monta felt like he had the good option and went with it. He's hit shots like that before, he just missed tonight."

On officials: "You know, I won't get involved with that."

Amar'e Stoudemire

On playing together: "Yeah, it felt good. We played with high energy and got after it. We played together. It felt good. We just didn't have enough to win."

On defensive problems: "They shot the ball well. Corey Brewer did a great job with shooting his corner 3s. James had a phenomenal game. Dwight did a great job on the boards and defensively blocked the shots. They played a well-rounded game."

On guarding Dwight on the glass: "Everyone [has difficulties]. He leads the league in rebounds for consecutive years in the past. So it's not an easy task keeping him off the boards. We have a good rebounder in Tyson, who had to battle with him all night. It wasn't easy, but we did have our chances to win. We just didn't have enough."

On whether this is an opportunity missed: "Yeah, I think so. Obviously Game 3s are very important, when you're down 0-2. So we had our chance to win, opportunity slipped away from us, but we have to get ready for Game 4."