Sunday afternoon Luka Doncic willed the Mavericks back from the brink and tied the first round series against the Clippers at 2-2. This game will likely go down as one of the best in Dallas history and should be one of those we talk about years from now, a true “where were you when” situation.
After the game, the team spoke about the victory:
On his last second shot: “I was just trying to make it. I can’t explain the emotions I had, not only when the ball goes in but when I see the whole team running toward me. That was something special, one of the best feelings I’ve ever had as a player. Just something special.”
On battling with Kawhi Leonard: “It’s fun when he’s missing and we’re making. Like I said before the game, it’s so hard to stop him. He’s an amazing player. I’ve got to shout out to Maxi [Kleber] and DoeDoe (Dorian Finney-Smith). They make an amazing difference. Without them I don’t think we could win the game. Kawhi is really hard to stop. I’m just really glad we got this win.”
On dealing with the ankle pain: “The guys here you don’t hear about did an amazing job with me yesterday. We were working almost the whole day. They were helping me out the whole time with whatever I needed. Obviously, it wasn’t 100 percent but I think it was good.”
On the game: “This is my 18th year as a head coach in this league. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a game where a team fought as hard to come back, hang in, go through the adversity of them tying at the end and then finding a way to win. It showed a lot of toughness, a lot of range and aggression out there. We made some adjustments that were really important. Our guys were able to really execute. It’s a three-game series now — anything can happen.”
On Luka Doncic’s performance: He’s a guy that lives for these moments and is completely fearless. At the end, it was all about finding a way to get the ball in his hands. The last shot was obviously a tremendous shot, but his effort the entire game — it’s just one of those things from top to bottom... He’s got such great heart that if he was able to feel anything close to decent, he was going to probably play today. I wasn’t going to say that publicly, but that’s what this kid is about.”
On the comeback effort: “Our staff did a great job of keeping the guys upbeat, positive. Kept talking about staying in the fight, fight back, two at a time. There’s no 21-point play...It’s a long game; NBA games last forever. Look at this one, it lasted 53 minutes instead of 48. You’ve just got to hang in, keep playing and keep believing in each other — and that’s what our guys did. They had a great player out there that could have this kind of a night and help other guys have great nights as well. A lot of things had to go right, but these guys put themselves in that position and I’m really proud of them but we’ve got a lot of work to do here.”
On the playoff game: “Definitely a memorable game. We know it’s only Game 4 of a first-round playoff series, but I think this particular game is going to be a memorable game for years to come just because the circumstances... It just shows the reliance that this team has one through 15. Next man up mentality you never know like Coach Carlisle said you never know when your number is going to be called and guys just got to be ready to come in and be confident. Play, be their selves and I think that’s what we’re showing out there. A lot of guys have us counted out in this series, but we really believe we can win it and I think we’re showing that right now.”
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
On the comeback: “We just continued to play aggressive. I think Trey Burke, and a lot of the assistants, and the guys that weren’t playing, they were on us about how long of a game we still had to cut the lead and finish the half the right way and start the second half with that same momentum that we ended the first half with. So you got to give that group that ended that first half a lot, a lot, of credit. And me being in foul trouble, Doe-Doe (Finney-Smith) having two [fouls], it just wasn’t going our way and we kept fighting.”
On the playoff win: “We just kept fighting. We knew that if we get it going, they still can’t guard us. Nobody on the court can guard us when we get it going so we just had to find a little bit of energy at the beginning of the game when KP [Kristaps Porzingis] went out. Before the game started, that kind of took a little bit of energy from us so it was hard for us to get into the game but once we figured it out, we kept competing and fighting and we deserved this win tonight.”