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Quote board: What the Mavericks said after beating the Lakers on Christmas

Luka and LeBron also spoke about Dirk’s statue

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After unveiling a statue honoring Dirk Nowitzki earlier in the morning, the Dallas Mavericks took to the court to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. A rocky start had the Mavericks looking devoid of the Christmas spirit, but after some milk and cookies at halftime, Dallas was able to make it’s way onto the nice list.

The Mavericks poured in 51 points in the third quarter—the most by any team in a quarter this season—and never looked back. It was a comeback win that sent MFFLs home with an extra Christmas gift.

Here’s what the Mavericks and Lakers had to say after the game:

Luka Doncic

(On the Dirk Nowitzki statue unveiling…)

“Oh, it was brilliant. I’m just really happy for him. He deserves all the things that are happening to him and it was amazing. The statue looks amazing and he deserves it.”

(On the halftime adjustment…)

“I don’t think it was adjustments, I think it was just making the right play. I think we didn’t make shots in the first half. We just kept making the right play and we had open shots and open lay-ups. The important thing was getting some stops.”

(On what was the most fun in the third quarter…)

“I would say the 51 points we scored. I think was a franchise record in a quarter. I think we just played with pace, played with smiles on our faces and kept going since I was being doubled every possession in this game. We just had to play out of that because it was the right play and that’s what we did.”

(On playing against LeBron James on Christmas, on primetime in Slovenia…)

“It’s great – especially the primetime in Slovenia. All of my friends and family can watch. But to go against a guy like this – his 18th year, what is he, 38? – in a Christmas game, it’s amazing to see him play and to go against.”

Christian Wood

(On what stands out on the stat sheet…)

“Turnovers. We took care of the ball today. That was a big thing. I think the first quarter was a little shaky a little bit. We let LeBron do whatever he wanted, kind of get downhill, but of course that’s LeBron James — he’s going to control the game at times. But I thought our energy and effort was way better second half: guys were hitting shots, everyone was cheering for each other. If we made a defensive lapse, the next guy would pick him up, so that’s big for us.”

(On if they were getting different shots in the third quarter…)

“I felt like they were the same shots. They were of course doubling Luka, hitting me in the pocket, I was finding guys on the weak side. First half they weren’t really going in and then Tim and Reg, they were big for us tonight, hit big shots. We can really count on those guys.”

(On playing on Christmas…)

“It’s amazing. It’s a blessing. I used to be that kid sitting at home watching Kobe, watching LeBron. That D-Wade, LeBron pass. Just to be playing against him on Christmas Day, specifically, is a blessing. It’s an honor, so I was happy and ready to go tonight.”

Tim Hardaway

(On what it felt like to be out there in the third quarter when everything started clicking…)

“Obviously, when you’re making shots and moving the ball, everything feels good. I think we had to get the jitters out of us for a little bit. It was some guys’ first time ever playing on Christmas Day. Just being able to appreciate the opportunity for the most part and being able to go out there and get the nerves and the butterflies out of your system. I think that’s what happened, and [we] came out in the second half more aggressive, pushing the pace instead of walking the ball up the floor, and getting the ball moving, and knocking down our shots.”

(On what it was like making that adjustment at halftime and moving Luka Dončić around…)

“I think just for the most part for him not bringing the ball up the floor, wasting his energy. Getting down to the block, being able to attack from there, stress free. But like I said before and throughout the season, in order for us to make his job a lot easier, we have to knock down shots, especially when they put two on the ball. I think in the second half we did that, and it opened a lot for him, while he was still being aggressive, and the trust factor was huge today.”

(On Luka Dončić’s pregame outfit…)

“It was great. Thank God. He’s been coming in for the most part, and it hasn’t been good. He’s doing a great job in that field of fashion, I would say. He’s trying. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is what he’s doing between those four lines. He can do whatever he wants as long as he’s out there hooping like that.”

Jason Kidd

(On the team’s second-half adjustments...)

“I would say all of the above (line-up changes, guys making shots, taking pressure off of Luka Dončić) in the sense of just what we talked about at halftime was: let’s think about the paint first before we start shooting 3s. I thought the guys came out in the second half, during that third quarter, where the ball touched the paint, we played through Luka in the post to create a different double team. And Luka being the quarterback, he found open guys and they knocked down shots a little bit different than that first half when we weren’t making shots. We were only down 11 at halftime. We felt good. That’s a positive. Our body language, we felt connected there. If we could just make some shots, it would be a different game — and that’s what we did there in that third quarter.”

(On adjusting to the double-team against Luka Dončić...)

“I thought being able to be in the post against the smaller guy and then just double team, putting those guys in rotation. We wanted to put as many of those guys on the weak side in the rotation where our guys could get wide-open looks. Reggie made some, Timmy [Hardaway Jr.] made some big ones. I just think Luka took what was there this afternoon; he didn’t force anything. We got to the free-throw line, especially with a team that doesn’t foul, we got to the free-throw line. Wood was great on both ends; offensively, being able to play make and defensively, being able to get rebounds and block shots for us. Another great team effort this afternoon.”

(On the next step for Christian Wood’s defensive game...)

“Just reps, being comfortable. We talked about that with Reggie last year; getting his feet underneath him, shooting the ball. Any time a trade happens, it’s just not the numbers of analytics. It’s not a computer game. He’s human. A human athlete has to perform, has to make the adjustments. As much as we want trades to happen and for them to be successful overnight, it just takes time. It’s December 25, it’s Christmas. He’s starting to get comfortable and his teammates are getting comfortable with him. Now it’s just a matter of building on the foundation that we’ve built.”

LeBron James

(On the 3rd quarter when they gave up 51 points to the Mavericks…)

“They made adjustments at halftime. They countered what we were doing at halftime. We didn’t make the proper adjustments once they made their adjustments. They made nine threes and six free throws. I think Tim Hardaway Jr. was 6-7, 4-5 from the three, with 16 points in the third. He got going. So, a lot of the shots that they missed in the first half, that we kind of forced them to shoot, they made in the third. But, you’re never going to win a game if you give up 51 in a quarter.”

(On Dirk Nowitzki’s statue unveiling prior to the game…)

“First of all, before the [unveiling] of what the statue will look like, I already knew what the statue was going to look like. It had to be a fadeaway on one leg. It had to be. No question about it. Dirk is a legend. He is an icon. I think he is the greatest international player ever. He’s right there with Manu [Ginobili]. What he brought here, what he brought to the city, that boy was cold, man. Dirk was cold. He revolutionized what a stretch four big looked like. Put the ball on the ground, finish above the rim, in his earlier years. He just mastered that in between game as his career got a couple years down the line. Then, he started taking it out to the three point line. You couldn’t put a small on him because he was too big. You couldn’t really put a slow big on him because he was too quick with his first step early on. You could never block his shot because he shot it behind his head, kind of like Larry Bird. Dirk, you can talk about top power forwards and top players of all time at that position. He was right up there with [Charles] Barkley, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kevin McHale, and those guys. They tough. Dirk was tough. When you can talk about somebody with one name, you know he was tough. Dirk was tough, for sure.”

Russell Westbrook

(On what happened when they gave up 51 third-quarter points to the Mavericks…)

“I don’t know. I think they made some adjustments and changed the way they did based on who was guarded. Just from what I’ve seen.”

(On Dirk Nowitzki’s statue unveiling and his favorite memory of playing against Dirk…)

“Yeah, that’s hard. I like that. That was a nice statue. I saw that on the screen. Congratulations to Dirk. My favorite memory? I don’t know if I have a favorite memory but obviously, he’s a Hall-of-Famer and a hell of a player who just battled in the playoffs. Actually, I do remember the time he shot 24 free throws or something against us in the playoffs. But, other than that, that’s about it. But, yeah, a hell of a statue, man. Congratulations to him and his family, for sure.”

Darvin Ham

(On what took place in the third quarter...)

“We talked a lot about it before the game. Just being ready to initiate, sustain and finish with energy, effort and competitiveness, and we left it in the locker room at halftime. It’s a 48-minute game. You expect a team like Dallas, with the type of talent they have over there, the shooters, Luka [Dončić], they are a cohesive group, and we knew that they were going to dig in a little bit and try to make plays. They adjusted, didn’t run as much pick and roll movement, put it more on the post, and at the end of the day we have to stay locked in. But my hat is off to them. They shot the ball well. The same shots that they missed a lot in the first half, they made in the second. It is a tale of two halves, but it is a 48-minute game, it is not a 24-minute game and we kind of took our foot off the pedal defensively. Obviously, to give up a 50-point third quarter is unacceptable. It is completely unacceptable and that is not who we are going to be. That is not who we are and that is not who we are going to be.”

(On the gameplan to stop Luka Dončić...)

“If you are playing him straight up, he is such a good player and his size, again I can’t emphasize that enough. People don’t understand how big he is in stature and he puts a lot of pressure on a single defender to try to contain him without fouling. So you try and allow him to post up and stay at home, but he is going to figure out a way to get fouls, get to the rim and he can score at all three levels. Now you are in a situation where they have everything, and they are in the bonus. You are trying to react to him putting pressure on a single defender, now you are overreacting, now they have kick-out 3s, so biggest key is to try and mix up your coverages and to try and keep him off balance as best you can. And you have to have multiple efforts and try to get out to shots and contest. He is who is for a reason, and he showed that tonight. He is methodical, takes him time, doesn’t let you speed him up. We did a good job of sort of speeding him up in the first half, but he adjusted, and they adjusted so give them credit.”