The Dallas Mavericks lost the opening contest of their five game homestand, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime 117-111. It was an ugly loss, no way around that and in speaking to the media postgame, there was a lot said.
(On the last four minutes of regulation…)
“Just took a look at a different lineup to close the game. They went on an 11-2 run. You know, we had control of the game. When you look at early in the season, we have had leads in the fourth and we give them away. It’s something we got to look at. We look at a different lineup closing the game, it just didn’t go well.”
(On having trouble holding on to leads…)
“You just look at we got great opportunities, but we’re just missing shots. We’re not playing any defense and that’s a big part of our problem. No matter who is closing the game, if you don’t get stops or if you just let the ball drive, and if you don’t protect the paint, it’s hard in this league. Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander] did that tonight in a sense of being able to get into the paint. He made some tough ones, but when you get some freebies as talented as he is, you know he’s going to end up with 38.”
(On experimenting with the different lineups…)
“Yeah, it looks good. We’re getting a lot of combinations out there, and at some point we’re going to have to make a decision on who is going to close the game. But right now, you look at the Brooklyn lineup, that was a good lineup to finish. Tonight’s didn’t look too good.”
(On what are you looking for to close games…)
“I think when you look at being able to guard the ball, we can’t just rely on Luka [Dončić]. Someone’s got to step up and make a shot or make a play … Being able to put different combinations out there. So far, I think we got them all in, close to, and so we got to figure out which ones are working. We didn’t go with Timmy [Hardaway Jr.] tonight. We left C-Wood [Christian Wood] out there with that group and it didn’t go well on either end, and that’s something we got to be better at. I think we worry about offense, but we took command of that game, and with six minutes left it started to go the other way. We just didn’t finish.”
(On what he felt went wrong down the stretch in tonight’s loss…)
“It’s on me. I didn’t lead the team. I didn’t make shots. That game’s on me. I didn’t do what [was] needed to do to win.”
(On Thunder Guard Luguentz Dort’s defense tonight…)
“I mean, yeah, he’s a great defender. He’s one of the top three defenders in the NBA. It’s really tough to play against him. So he’s been doing great and incredible jobs since I’ve been here.”
(On getting hit in the face and what explanation he received from the referees on why it was not reviewed…)
“They didn’t say nothing. I don’t know. The rule is if you get hit in the face, you should review it. We had a meeting with some ref [who] explaining about the rules before the season. We asked this question [about this rule] and he said, ‘yeah, they should review it’ but, they didn’t.”
“He hit me here. Obviously, it wasn’t intentional. But, at least review it. You have nothing to lose if you review it.”
(On his potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation…)
“It was good. I think it was a good shot. Suddenly, with shooting the ball, I can’t make nothing. So, I probably should get into the lane next time but I think it was a good shot and one that I’m capable of making.”
(On what stands out when you look at this team’s struggles closing games…)
“We don’t play with a lead very well which obviously is concerning, but we’re also getting a lead. It’s weird, man. It’s not like the intent is bad, we just gotta do better because we’ve dropped several leads now.”
(On the clutch time issues this season after having success in clutch time last season…)
“I think we were having close games wire-to-wire and then coming up with big plays. The flow was that of a knockdown-drag-out game versus like, we have a 17 or 22 in Phoenix, so it’s more deflating when you have a 20-point lead and somebody comes back versus if you’re just trading blows all night and you got to come up with a couple of big stops or big plays. I think that’s probably the main different style-wise between last year and this year.
(On if Head Coach Jason Kidd’s rotation tinkering has anything to do with the team losing leads…)
“No, I mean, I think we had a good training camp and build continuity that way. I think we know that in clutch time how we’re gonna play offensively and then our defense is a team defensive style. So, everybody’s got to get on the same page, no matter who’s out there. So, you know, that’s, that’s not on coach Kidd, that’s on the players in terms of just being locked in doing a job and not missing different rotations and things like that.”
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