Is this a different team when JJ Barea is missing?
“Listen, this isn’t about JJ missing or Dennis missing, they had two guys out too. We just didn’t play well enough. We were doing some good things early. We had the tempo where I thought we needed it at the latter stages of the second quarter.
“It got ratty, which is what they like. We could never get enough traction. We had a bad shooting night, which never helps so on those nights your defense has got to keep you in it and we were just unable to stay really really close enough to give ourselves a chance.”
Is there any specific factor that has caused you to have poor shooting nights in consecutive games?
“It’s a long season and a process league, you’re going to have bad shooing nights. As we look at the film we’ll analyze if they’re shots we like in the context we like and a lot of them were, but not all of them.
“We were just a little unlucky tonight. We had other breakdowns so we’ll look closely at those too and we’ve got to get those corrected. This trip coming up is a very challenging trip, a long trip, and it will test us in a big way.”
Are you concerned about Dennis Smith Jr.’s wrist?
“Yeah I’m concerned. I don’t know if he’ll play on this road trip, we’ll have to see. It’s mother nature and he’s got to get with our training staff and all that and we’ll do whatever we can to facilitate it healing quicker.
“He keeps falling on it, that’s one of the things that keeps happening. When he falls he generally falls from higher up than a lot of us so we’ve got to try to get him in situations where he’s not falling as much.”
How difficult is it to get Dirk Nowitzki back into the rotation without upsetting the apple cart too much?
“I’ve talked to the team about it. I’ve talk to the second unit guys specifically yesterday about how we’re going to approach it. I’m not going to get into the details.
“There are challenges with it. I thought tonight went really well from the standpoint of how Dirk played and the extended run we were able to get him. We need to have as many available healthy guys as we can.
“Getting Dirk back healthy, conditioned, and in rhythm is a plus for us. We’ll get there and we’ll deal with the other challenges too. It all comes down to communication and guys really having to be another level above the fray and being able to deal with these challenges.”
What was it like checking in the first time to a standing ovation?
“Yeah it was good to be back in front of the home fans. I appreciate that. This obviously took a lot longer than I was hoping myself with the setback and the inflammation in the foot so I wish I was out there a long time ago but I’m glad I’m finally out there and moving in the right direction. Hopefully a lot more of my home games will be some wins to come.”
Does it feel good to finally be out there and making an impact?
“Well we’re 0-2 since I’ve come back. We’ve lost two tough games, two games we feel we should have had so it’s frustrating.”
Do you have a progression in mind of when you start pushing your minutes up and playing in the second half?
“I don’t know what the plan brings. I guess I’ll be doing a little more cardio and eventually it will get better from game to game. We need Dwight [Powell] out there we need Maxi [Kleber]’s minutes so I don’t really know what the future brings but I’ll keep on working.
“It’s a tough road trip coming up full of very good teams so whoever’s out there will get some minutes.”
What made you want to swap jerseys with Bogdan Bogdanovic and did you two have a prior friendship?
“I know him and he’s my friend and an amazing player, just because of that. There’s many players from ex Yugoslavia, especialy Bogdan [Bogdanovic] we’ve played against each other a lot so that’s why we swapped.”
How does it feel being out there with Dirk Nowitzki?
“It’s amazing, he’s a legend. To be in the same locker room as him is something very special to me.”
Dave Joeger said he doesn’t see a limit on how good you can be. What do you think about the way you’ve changed some perspectives so far this season?
“You just have to work hard; if you work hard every day you can achieve amazing stuff. My ceilings are way higher. I can work harder, you’ve just got to work harder every day and like I always say, just enjoy playing basketball.”
At any point in the draft did you think you were going to end up in Sacramento?
“I did especially because they came to Madrid and we had dinner. At some point I did but it didn’t happen.”
Was it surprising that you didn’t end up there?
“Yeah I mean I thought about it but they didn’t have a big guy, a power forward, they needed a big guy so he was just a better fit for them.”
You don’t really believe that do you?
“I am very excited to be in Dallas so I’m very happy with it here.” Luka said with a big grin.
I know this is a little long but I wanted to include one last quote from the King’s head coach about Luka Doncic because he gave an answer much better than I expected when I asked the question.
What are some of the challenges that come with facing Luka Doncic?
“He’s got a lot of different skills and I think he’s going to become a heck of a shooter. When he does I think that’s going to make him quicker. He’s got a good ball handling set and he knows how to play.
“Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him, I don’t see it, unfortunately for us, but he’s great for them and he’s great for our league.”