The Dallas Mavericks never trailed in their Game 2 meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers. From the opening tip to the final buzzer, Dallas looked steady as they evened the first-round series at one game apiece.
That’s not to say the night wasn’t fraught with tension or drama. This is the Mavericks, after all. The Clippers cut leads and hung around, making things uncomfortable. In the end, thanks to the team’s star duo and supporting cast, Dallas pulled away and notched a 127-114 win.
The win signaled a number of firsts for the team. For starters, it was the first playoff victory for both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in their careers. It was also the first time the organization won a playoff game since April 18, 2016.
Here’s what the Mavericks had to say after the game:
“It was great. We tied this series. We were better today. We just have three left. I think we can fight for it.”
“Any series we go in, we believe we can win. If you don’t believe it, you’re not supposed to be here. You have to believe it every time.”
“Feels good definitely. That was our goal today. Obviously, we wanted to get a win on the road, it’s the same thing, but to get a win at this game we knew after the first game that we were right there and we can compete with probably one of the favorites to win it all. We came into this game ready. We jumped into the game right away and obviously there were a lot of runs and a lot of things happening and a lot of emotions throughout the game but I felt like we did a pretty good job keeping our composure throughout the game and playing our basketball and at the end we came up with the win”
“I think playoffs are different. Obviously, the intensity is much higher. I would say the difference in the regular season they came out more aggressive than us and even also in the first game, they kind of came out real aggressive, but we knew they weren’t going to be able to keep up that physicality, that aggressiveness throughout the whole game. So we stayed calm and now it’s the second game and we came out maybe more ready than they did at the beginning.
“At the end, we knew they were going to get back in the game somehow and we stayed calm. The intensity is high in the playoffs and every game is life-or-death and we’re going to give it our all and see where we end up and then we can live with the results whatever it is.”
“Winning in the playoffs is difficult — you’ve got to deal with a lot of things coming at you. You’ve got to deal with great players coming at you 100 miles per hour, the whistle’s blowing. You’ve got to deal with situations where it’s tough because you’re getting decent looks but they’re not going in but you’ve got to try to stay together. You’ve got to deal with offense-defense substitutions at the end of the game, which no players like.
“The whole notion of playoff basketball is just everybody combined working to give each other energy and to do one little thing at a time as you go through 48 minutes and thousands of events — that’s what this is all about. Individual statistics really are out the window because it’s very binary. It’s about winning and losing. Tonight our guys showed a lot of poise throughout the game. The Clippers are super talented, very aggressive, very physical. We did a good job holding up under a lot of pressure and that was great to see.”
“This is how we’re going to have to win games. Our depth is going to be a big part of it. Trey Burke played an enormous role in this game with his aggression scoring the ball. He’s scrappy defensively, as was Wright. Going from 21 turnovers to nine against these guys is a very significant improvement. We did a better job keeping them off the foul line in the second half. There’s a lot of basic execution things we did really well to win the game. Do we need the win? Absolutely. I’ll agree to that.”
“I think we just stuck to the script. We knew what we had to do on both ends of the court coming into the game and everybody came in with a level of focus and the level of being locked in that we needed from everybody—from one through 15. We’re going to need that. We know it’s going to be a tough series. We know that it’s only one game, but it’s something we can build off of.”
“It is a team sport. It is the playoffs right now and everybody has to give their best effort. Everybody who is in the game, my teammates, can play. It is a team sport; it is not about just one player, it is about the whole team. Everybody did a great job, I must be honest, I am so proud of my teammates.”
“We brought our full energy from the beginning to the end. They played well but I think we played better in this game. Next game we need to play super hard and give the same energy, the same spirit, and we need to believe in ourselves.”