The Mavericks are now up 2-0 on the Los Angeles Clippers following the 127-121 victory Tuesday night. Here’s what the team had to say following the win.
Luka Doncic on matchups with Clippers defenders:
“Kawhi is an amazing defender. They have some good defenders, like PG, and Kawhi two of the best perimeter defenders. You’ve just got to be aggressive. It’s playoffs. You’ve got to be aggressive. That’s it.”
Doncic on if the Clippers intentionally angled to play the Mavericks Round 1:
“I didn’t know they were doing that. Somebody told me that in the first game. But if you want to win the championship, at the end of the day you’ve got to win against everybody. So I don’t think that makes a big statement. But you just go out there and play.”
Maxi Kleber on his mindset for Game 2:
“I think everybody, we all had the same mindset coming out playing aggressive because we knew they were going to come at us, play more physical. The difference this time was Zubac was on me, and I had big opportunities, open threes, and could attack the basket. But overall I think the mindset of the team in general was we want to attack. We want to be aggressors, even though we know they’re going to come out and try to play aggressive.
Kleber on what he said when Marcus Morris fouled out:
“I’m honestly not sure. I don’t think I said much to him when he fouled out. But the whole game he’s one of the guys who does a lot with his voice, that’s part of his game. And you’ve just got to be ready for that as a player so you know what to expect.
I’m never really the guy to talk much. So obviously I’m trying to be quiet. Sometimes when it would get too much I would say something because you can’t be stepped on obviously. But the most important thing in situations like that is just keep playing the game because we have a goal and we’ve got to focus on us and can’t be distracted by that.
Kleber on areas to improve:
“I think we gave them both games a lot of second-shot opportunities that we want to get rid of, do a better job of boxing out and just like the game plan discipline. I don’t think, right now it’s a task about effort. But we can be smarter in certain situations and just adjust better and that’s what we’re going to do.
Kleber on the Clippers’ defensive strategy to switch:
“I think last year, this year too, we had some games where we got stagnant when teams switched. But I think we learned how to attack that. Obviously it helps a guy like Luka can create, they have to double team him. But then we have big-time shooters which helps because they have to space out and it gives us opportunities to attack one-on-one. One of the biggest things for us is, when teams switch, we still play with flow, move the ball, not get stagnant, let them set. Because that way you create confusion and you get like open dunks by KP or shots by Tim and Dor and stuff like that. You just have to keep moving the ball even if they switch, not get stagnant.
Kristaps Porzingis on violating the health and safety protocols:
“I’ll start off by saying what happened is a mistake on my part. I was honestly a little bit confused with the protocols and made a mistake and paid for it. And I’m glad we’re able to get the win tonight and I was able to play. So I’m looking forward to what’s coming but it’s a mistake on my part.”
Porzingis on his role and mentality in Game 2:
“I thought about the last game a lot and kind of went back a little bit to the fundamentals of how I can affect the game. And also realized that by me being out there, I’m like a decoy for other guys, for Tim and Luka. Kawhi is guarding me.
On the offensive end, I realize I can surely do that if it opens up shots for my teammates and takes Kawhi off Luka, for example. That’s a good for us. At the end it’s good for us. No matter if I’m involved in every situation or I’m not. And then just as I said, went back to the fundamentals a little bit how I can affect the game even if I’m not scoring. If I’m not shooting and things like that, which is something that I love to do.”
Porzingis on the team’s confidence:
“We expect that from ourselves. I even thought we celebrated a bit too much. We just won the second game. We’re not nowhere yet. That’s a good step where we want to go.
But there’s still work to do. And it’s not over. They’re a good team. They’re a talented team. Anything can happen. We have to keep our heads in the right place and on to the next one as if we would have lost almost. That’s got to be our mindset and keep going.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. on his big three-point make with 1:03 left in the game:
“It’s something you live for, man. I mean, it’s easier said and done when you’re up a couple of points. But when you’re in that zone and you’re in that mindset and you’re playing against a team like that, those shots are very big and very key throughout the game. And just being able to get two on the road, it’s great. But we know we’ve still got more work to be done. And a little bit more clean up on both ends of the floor.”
Hardaway on if he senses any doubt from the Clippers:
“I’m not sensing anything on that side. We know what type of ball club they are. They’re a hell of a team. They’ve got home court advantage for a reason. And we can’t settle. We can’t rest. We know what they’re capable of.”
Hardaway on the vibe and feeling around the team:
“Yeah, I mean, I think the vibes are immaculate, like we’ve been saying all season long. And when you’re out there competing with your boys, competing with your brothers, especially everything we’ve been through all season long with people out with COVID and people out with injuries, it definitely brings a lot of the guys closer, I would say.
Once everybody got vaccinated, we were able to hang out, be around one another off the court on the road having those team dinners and having those team functions where we’re around one another. That’s what we’re all about.”
Hardaway on Dirk Nowitzki being in attendance:
“2-0 when Dirk gets in the building, I’ll tell you that. Dirk, we saw Dirky earlier in the day, we knew he was there and we were happy we were able to pull out a victory. Like I said, it’s still a long series and the job is not done at all.”
Rick Carlisle on what he’s liked so far:
“I like the recognition. I like the offensive energy. We are striking a pretty good balance of inside/outside. I got a look at the metrics of it for the first couple of games to get a better idea.
You can always attack the rim more in the playoffs. I think that will be an emphasis for both teams going into Game 3. Look, to this point, we’ve been very focused and very determined. And we’ve just got to make sure that that continues. It’s a seven-game series, regardless of what the score is in wins, losses after two games. And I told our guys, enjoy this one tonight.
Carlisle on the message and mentality for Game 2:
“These guys know what it’s about. And, look, frankly, we didn’t have to get into a lot of cliché type stuff. Our guys are hungry to compete. They’re hungry to play for each other. We’ve done that well for the first two games.”
Carlisle on Dirk being in attendance:
“It gives you a profound lift when you’re in between two, first two games of the playoffs and you see that playoff warrior who we’ve been through so many battles with. And I certainly believe that him being there tonight was a lucky charm for us.”
Carlisle on if the Mavericks had any extra motivation after the Clippers angled to play them in the first round:
“This time of year you shouldn’t need extra motivation. NBA playoff basketball is a self-explanatory adjective. It is raw passion. It’s all about team. It’s all about one thing. And that is a group of guys getting together and making a stand on every possession. If you can’t get excited for that, you know, you should be in some other line of work, because they’re not pulling people off the street to do these jobs.”
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.