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Dirk Nowitzki on Game 4 loss: 'Always, something doesn't go our way'

Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and Kevin Durant dish on the physicality of the series and Dirk's brilliance.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Carlisle

On the physicality of the series

"I'm not talking about that. Do you have questions about basketball?"

On why the Mavericks were not able to capitalize on off nights from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

"Well, we have to clean a couple of things up. First quarters are killing us, and they are a great first quarter team, so we have to do better there. The rebounding continues to be a challenge and I think we can make progress there. The second chance points are 18-7, that's the difference in the game, so that has to be a continued emphasis. They have two superstar players and I thought we played them a lot better tonight than we did in game three. We just have to keep playing as hard as we did tonight. There is no team that is playing harder than we are right now. I am really proud of the way the guys competed and we just have to keep doing that on Monday."

On JJ Barea's lackluster performance

"He is not 100 percent, but I don't believe that he has made the injury worse. I think today was a combination of that extra 15 percent that he is missing of being totally healthy was the difference between him getting the ball in the basket and not. I told all of our guys, we have a lot of guys that are banged up, the fact that they are playing is meaningful. We are a fighting franchise and we are going to fight through this thing all the way through."

On the status of Deron Wiliams and Salah Mejri

"I think Williams is done for the year, I don't expect him to play in Game 5. Mejri has a hip flexor strain and, at this point, he would be questionable at best. I would think, but I don't have an official word from our doctors."

On Justin Anderson's strong play

"It's been great watching him develop this year—watching him compete. Tonight, the plan was to keep Wes in the game with Durant all the time. It was hard. At one point, we had Anderson in there and during that period we actually made up some ground. During that period he made some mistakes, but I couldn't be more proud of it. I couldn't be more pleased with how he competes and his attitude and his exuberance. It's great to see. He's one of these kids that as an athlete that has a pure heart. He's all about the team and winning. It's awesome."

On Dirk's brilliance

"We all gotta enjoy it while we can. We're seeing one of the most special athletes in sports history. And doing it at an advanced age at this point in his career. We had to leave him in for these long stretches. I hate doing it, because it really is taxing. It was our only chance to hang in. He didn't want to come out. He was fighting all the way. As amazing an athlete as I've ever been around—totally about winning. We gotta get him back and get him ready for Monday."

Dirk Nowitzki

On being down the first quarter and affecting the rest of the game

"It was unfortunate. We talk about staying close enough, staying in striking range so that once the fourth quarter comes we are close enough to make a run. But they hit us with waves and every time we get it down to 8 or 10 we don't come up with a loose ball or we don't make it off a rebound and it just piles up. Every time we are fighting and gaining momentum and the crowd gets into it but the Thunder did a great job of stoping our momentum. So give them credit—they come in here and stole two games on our home court."

On the Thunder player's perfomance outside of Durant and Westbrook

"You have to pay a lot of attention to them when the other guys find spots to be effective, whether it is the five rolling to the basket off of the pick and roll roll, which hurt us today, or whether it is Ibaka filling in or finding spots to shoot the ball. It is tough when they are all going. There were a couple of guys with 10 and 20 and the are tough to beat."

On not wanting to be taken out of the game

"It is just fighting until the end, until it is over. I felt like my wind was decent enough to battle it through. All you think is just make one more push. Get it down to 10, down to 8 and be in striking distance. We had a few plays here and there. We were always right there but then something happened that didn't go our way. It is unfortunate but I am of our guys. They are all battling and obviously we have some guys that are banged up but they are still out there trying to give it their all. Saying all of that, we are going to keep fighting on Monday and whoever is playing is going to have to come full swing."

On the physicality of the game

"There were a few bad plays but other than that I thought it was pretty clean. Obviously both teams go hard and when both teams crash the glass there are going to be confrontations. that is just what happens. Guys are pushing each other. I thought that Durant foul was tough, obviously. They were up double digits with under a minute to go. I thought that was unnecessary. Everything else was just in the flow of the game. I don't think anything else was bad but that foul was just not necessary at all."

Wes Matthews

Is this thing borderline too physical right now?

"For who? I ain't backing down from shit."

Do the refs need to be a little stricter?

"I don't know. I don't think so. I don't think they need to be whistle happy, but I think the extra ciricular stuff needs to be nipped right away, but it is what it is. It's the playoffs. It's basketball. It's competition. It's fighting. It's not supposed to be sweet. No one should be taking a step without there being contact. If they cross the line, they cross the line. That's for refs to decide. I like a physical game. We've just got to go get the ball."

Did it cross from physical to dirty?

"At times. There's obviously been hits on both ends, from both teams. That's frustration, that's competition, that's wanting to win. It's like, what's the movie, with Russell Crowe. Gladiator. They went after it."

What do you make of Dirk?

"Pretty incredible. Coach wanted to take him out at one moment to give him a break, and he said no. I just said, let's keep going big fella."

Whose idea was it to have Matthews match minutes with KD?

"Whose do you think?"

On whether the flagrant two was deserving

"They don't hand them out easy. You don't see many flagrant 2s being handed out."

Kevin Durant

On what he would say to Justin Anderson after the flagrant foul play

"I texted him and told him I wasn't trying to hurt him at all. There are plenty of plays this season where I've blocked shots from behind like that and it's just unfortunate that I hit him over the head. It was a flagrant even though I wasn't intentionally trying to foul him, but the refs had to make a decision and they made the right one. It was just bad timing and I wasn't trying to hurt him."