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“I just came here so I have to work hard to be where he is,” and more quotes from the Mavericks’ victory over the Rockets

Luka Doncic talks about showing off for James Harden

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Carlisle

How did Luka’s big first quarter help your team?

“The first quarter was tough. They came out hard and Doncic made a couple of really difficult shots up against the clock which got our whole team juiced up and kept us in it.

“Throughout the game when there was a play that needed to be made somebody made it.”

Luka was practicing those shots from the logo in shoot around, is that something that’s in his range?

“I’ve seen him make a lot of them and he does practice them. That one at the end of the third quarter was in and out.

“We’re not going to make our season on shots like that. In the moment if you’ve got a guy who can do that, and (Devin) Harris hit a couple of them in the fourth quarter (that were) very similar.

“When you’re doing the right things and playing hard and together shots like that tend to fall in and the basketball gods are kind to you.”

How do you think Dennis Smith Jr. performed defensively tonight?

“I thought the two biggest plays of the game tonight, the second one was when the game wasn’t in doubt, but in the first half when (Dennis) ran down Harden and made an amazing effort play on the ball, got the steal and we went down and scored.

“Then down the stretch he made the same play. Teams that come together make plays like that for each other. I pointed out those two plays when we came in after the game. I thought those were spectacular winning plays; (it’s) totally what we want to be about.”

Dennis Smith Jr.

What happened on those two plays where you ran down James Harden and Gary Clark?

“They’re just effort plays. I just want to go out there and play as hard as possible.”

Do you feel like this is your best defensive game of the season?

“That’s what Doe (Finney-Smith) just told me so probably yeah.”

What does this game say about the defensive mindset of this team?

“We’re doing a good job of having each other’s backs; we’re believing in their help (defense). I think it’s showing. It’s the reason we’ve won, I think, eight out of our last ten.

“We’ve been doing a really good job defensively across the board from the point guard to the five man on both units. I believe if we keep that going we’ll have a pretty good year.”

Luka Doncic

What happened on the play where you got hit in the face?

“I was fighting for the ball and an elbow came from nowhere. I don’t know who it was but it’s just part of the game.”

Does going up against a player like James Harden give you extra fire to do well and prove yourself?

“Yeah of course. He’s the MVP and an amazing player so you always want to do something right to impress him.”

Do you see any similarities in your game and Harden’s?

“I mean it’s tough. He’s one of the best players in the NBA and I just came here so I have to work hard hard to be where he is.”