How do you think Dennis Smith Jr. did tonight?
“I thought he was great, tremendous, and everything we needed. [His] speed, attacking, shot making, he had a couple of amazing assists. The one where Doncic got it threw it ahead to him and he got DJ for the alley oop was beautiful basketball. I’m really happy for him.
“It’s been tough for him being away from his teammates and he played really one of his best games since he’s been here.”
What did you think about your rotations staggering Dennis and Luka?
“Again that’s a fell thing. You’ve kind of got to look and see how the game is going. I wasn’t sure coming into it. I know Dennis has worked really hard the last couple games and all that but you just never know how winded a player is going to be after missing two weeks. He’s obviously in great condition and was able to absorb the minutes.
“With a day off tomorrow and a day of practice on Thursday I really feel like Friday he’ll really have his legs back under him. That’s a situation that is going to be a gut feel thing. In terms of the end result it worked out.”
What do you think has led to Luka’s shooting slump the last few games?
“He’s getting stuck with the ball late clock a lot. He’s always the one flinging up the 35-40 footers at the end of the quarter. I love the fact that he’s got no fear and doesn’t care about [his shooting percentage]. The thing you get tired of is guys 50 feet taking an extra dribble til the red light goes on and then shooting it so it’s not going to count against their average.
“Devin Harris always shoots it. Luka always shoots it. Most of our guys shoot the ball. That’s a winning approach to me. This is three games in four nights.
“He’s played two tough games, at Indiana at Milwaukee, without Dennis Smith Jr. next to him to absorb some of the ball handling responsibilities, some of the full court pressure and those kinds of things.
“Maybe a little bit of fatigue, and I haven’t done a full analysis of it to be honest.”
Dennis Smith Jr.
How tough was it to be away from the team?
“Oh it was tough, but things happen. We got a win tonight and that’s what’s important. “
How did you feel about the crowd’s reception tonight?
“I think it was pretty cool. I appreciate the fans so much, they do a great job for us. I think it’s reflected in our home record. For them to be receptive of me like that I appreciate it a ton. “
Did you feel the need to say anything to your teammates?
“No I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about the game tonight, if anybody else would like to. We just got off a losing streak and that’s the biggest thing right now.”
Rick said he was happy to have you back, does the feeling go both ways?
“Yeah I’m happy to be back. This is what I love to do and I’ve been doing it for a long time. Any time I’m not able to play it’s not fun.”
Rick said ‘business stuff’ caused your absence, what did cause your absence?
“Like I said we got a good win tonight. If anybody wants to talk about that I’m ready.”
How do you feel now that this ordeal with Dennis is over?
“Oh I don’t like it at all. It shouldn’t happen. It’s bad for the team, bad for the player, bad for everybody so I’m glad it’s over.”
Did Dennis address the team before the game? What did he say?
“Oh for sure we talked to him. It just stays between us.”
What were you feeling when you ripped your jersey at the end of the first half? Were you mad you weren’t shooting well?
“I was just pissed. Yeah I didn’t play good for sure. I was frustrated with myself.”
Is your frustration growing game to game because you’re tired or need a break?
“Oh I don’t need a break. There’s 82 games so there’s going to come bad games, terrible games for sure so I’ve just got to keep working on and we’ve got our next game in two days.”