The Dallas Mavericks dug deep Sunday night for a 114-105 win over the Orlando Magic. Both Luka Doncic (44 points, five assists) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (21 points) carried a large portion of the scoring load. It was important for the team to show some mental toughness and recover one night after an epic collapse to the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night. Two things that were at the forefront of everyone’s minds is how the rotations are evolving, and how they can get other players not named Luka Doncic going offensively.
(On Dwight Powell stabilizing things in the first half…)
“Yeah, I would have to agree with you. He stabilizes. He was good again. After yesterday’s performance, we found time for him to play. He gave us a spark, or whatever you guys want to write, but he was really good. He’s been great in the two games he played. All our bigs – C-Wood [Christian Wood] on-ball was great. We got a lot of bigs. Maxi [Kleber] – they were all good.”
(On the scoring streak Luka Dončić is on right now…)
“From his comments from yesterday you could tell he was going to come tonight. Leadership, the accountability piece – if you were paying attention to what he was saying, you could tell he was going to be ready to go. He came out and set the tone.”
(On if the Mavericks need Luka Dončić to score at this type of level on a consistent basis…)
“I think it’s a couple of things. We could be here all day talking about it. When he goes like that, you’ve got to figure out how to find your rhythm. I thought Spencer [Dinwiddie] did an incredible job in that second half of getting to the paint, being aggressive, and not waiting for Luka. So that gave Luka time to rest and hang. It’s just a matter of doing the things we might have talked about last year and getting back in that groove. Luka got going last year and guys have to be patient. Sometimes it’s a rhythm thing when someone is going like that and has 30 in the first half – you just have to wait. Then it becomes hard because you have limited opportunities [and] you got to make them. I thought Spencer did an incredible job getting to the rim, getting to the paint being able to finish. Timmy [Hardaway Jr.] same thing, Doe [Dorian Finney-Smith] being able to knock down shots. When you have a superstar like that who can control the game in the first half, you just have to be patient, but you have to be ready.”
(On how the team is adapting to the opponent’s defensive strategy against Luka Dončić…)
“I think that’s one of the things opponents could take the philosophy of: let him score, or let him wear himself out and keep everyone else down. I think being able to see it more and more, I think guys are getting comfortable and understanding what they have to do. I brought it up earlier – I thought Spencer [Dinwiddie] did an incredible job of attacking, Timmy [Hardaway Jr.] attacking [and] getting to the basket – but also, we knocked down some threes a little bit different than last night.”
(On the commitment to JaVale McGee starting…)
“Strong. When you look at the rotation today, we’ll give him a chance. He’s going to play. He’s going to get into the swing of things, and we believe in him. He’s going to start. You saw tonight we can play DP, and C-Wood, and Maxi. We’ll look at that combination, but we believe in JaVale, and he’ll be better.”
(On if he had any extra incentive going into tonight after last night’s loss to the Thunder…)
“Yeah, we know we didn’t play the way we should have last night. At the start of the game, we started bad. We can’t start like that but during the game. We picked it up, played better defense, and we got a win.”
(On if he feels he needs to continue scoring over 30 points every game to win games…)
“I don’t think I need to. Some nights, I’m going to get doubled every time and somebody else is going to be open all game. There are different teams and different coverages. I don’t feel like I need to score 30 every night. We have capable players of scoring that too. So, I think it’s not going to be every night because some teams are going to double and some teams don’t.”
Tim Hardaway Jr.
(On maintaining rhythm with Luka Dončić being guarded so heavily these last few games…)
“Being ready, being prepared. I’ve been playing with the guy for the last three-and-a-half to four years now. We all know he has these runs where he’ll run off 20 straight [points]. We’ve got to be ready when the ball is coming to us, be ready to attack and just be ready to deliver. Not saying it’s going to be easy, but we know what to expect. It’s no surprise.”
(On opponents changing defensive strategy against Luka Dončić…)
“I think it’s a respect kind of thing, probably a game play kind of thing. We didn’t make a long run in the playoffs [last season] for nothing. A lot of the guys do knock down with the shots, do knock down big time threes, Doe-Doe [Dorian Finney-Smith] for example, so that’s one way of staying prepared. Knowing that Luka is going to go bonkers but he’s still got to be ready to deliver, and we did that.”
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