The Dallas Mavericks didn’t have a letdown against the Phoenix Suns Monday night like they did in their season opener. Instead, the Mavericks asserted themselves all night, building and maintaining a lead that hovered around 20 points for much of the game. When the dust settled, Dallas took home a 130-111 win.
After the game, the Mavericks players spoke about their much-needed win on the first night of a back-to-back.
(On what he thinks the Dallas Mavericks are after tonight…)
“They’re one of the best in the league. They have a great team, great players. I think it showed we can play when we guard, when we defend, it showed that we can play.”
(On what he thinks this game meant to Josh Green…)
“Not just this game – he’s been playing really, really good for us. Actually amazing. For us, he brings energy from the bench. I think he has a lot more confidence. Some people need some more time. The best league in the world, you go against the best players, but he’s showing he can really play and he’s really helping us.”
(On watching a young guy like Jaden Hardy have a strong finish…)
“Amazing, I think he was really happy. He scored 10 points in two minutes. It was amazing to watch. For these guys, being able to play in the NBA is amazing, but I think he has a really bright future ahead of him.”
Tim Hardaway Jr.
(On if joining the starting lineup affected his performance…)
“I guess just me taking advantage of the opportunity and guys trusting me … Just being put in the position and just trying to go out there and do the best I can to help the team win in any aspect. I don’t know how long this will go for, but I am just going to enjoy the moment and do everything I can to help these guys.”
(On his shot opportunities playing next to Luka Dončić…)
“I think I was getting the same kind of looks throughout the entire season, but I think now I’m just starting to knock them down. I mean I’ve started many times around Luka during my time here in Dallas, I know where he wants players for the most part when he is driving and dishing. I just got to do my part, and I’ve been doing it for the last couple of games now.”
(On if the team has gotten its mojo back…)
“I mean it’s still early in the season, but for the most part I think we are finding it. We are closer than what we were before, and we are just trying to move in that right direction defensively and continuing to just trust each other on the floor.”
(On Josh Green’s performance…)
“I mean Josh is flourishing right now for the most part. He’s doing an amazing job of taking accountability on himself this past summer and taking his game to a whole other level. We throw him out there, and he’s out there doing his thing on both ends of the floor – giving us energy and picking up full court. He will make some mistakes, but it all comes from the aggression aspect of it and that is what we all love about him. He’s going to bring it every single day, so kudos to him. He is very deserving of this opportunity right now, and he is taking advantage of it.”
(On Mavs Head Coach Jason Kidd complimenting his play…)
“That means a lot, I mean anything coming from coach means a lot. You know looking at where I was a year ago – I mean, I was down in Frisco [with the G League Texas Legends] a year ago, so being able to hear that is awesome.”
(On Jason Kidd’s leadership and working to get Jalen Brunson paid last season…)
“Coach [Kidd] loves all the players. He treats everybody with respect and he has our best interest. From the start of last year, he was working with Jalen [Brunson], and not even just with Jalen, with everybody. You know he is the type of coach that’s going to pull you aside and be able to work with you, and work on your game. From a player’s standpoint, there’s nothing better. When your head coach is interactive with you and teaching you, especially a Hall of Fame guy. Even yesterday, he was helping out with my workout for my whole workout. That, more than anything, over playing time and over shots, a one-on-one with coach and being able to learn from somebody like that, it means a lot to me.”
(On what tonight’s game meant to him after being pulled from the rotation against the Suns in the playoffs…)
“Even the first game of [this] season, we went to Phoenix and I think I played 12 minutes. I was sprinting around the court and playing defense. It’s cool to be able to see growth from that game, and after last year being benched in that playoff series, it motivated me for sure. I think every game I go into it motivated and ready to go.”
(On the maintaining the lead in the second half…)
“They [Mavericks players] had the answers to the test. We asked what they thought, they gave all the right answers. They knew they were in tune with what was coming next. I thought we set the tone in the third quarter, almost scoring 30 points in that third quarter, and so I think we are starting to become consistent. We understand what we have to do, rebounding the ball, taking care of the ball, making shots is a part of it, and I thought we did that at a high level. And it started in the first quarter.”
(On the team’s mojo returning…)
“I think it’s starting to. We’re making shots, we’re getting the same shots that we hadn’t gotten early this season. Guys are taking them, Luka [Dončić] is creating a lot of those. Spencer [Dinwiddie] is being aggressive, he made free throws this evening. But, when you almost shoot 50 from the three and you’re getting over 40 of those, that puts you in a good seat. Defensively, these guys are connected and we’re finishing plays, majority of the time by getting the rebound.”
(On the threshold to pull Luka Doncic off the bench in the fourth quarter…)
“Some would say 15 points, they got it that close. This is the second one, back-to-back, where in New York he had the fourth quarter off, tonight we gave him the fourth quarter off, so hopefully he’s fresh to go tomorrow. That’s something that the group that’s out there playing has to continue to keep playing the right way. We gave up a lot of points there in that fourth quarter, so we have to talk about that and get better at it. Everybody played and everybody helped play a great team, best team in the West.”
(On the challenge of defending Luka Dončić...)
“It’s a lot tougher if you go zone. He sees gaps to the paint right away. You’re caught in-between letting him score 40 or letting him do what he did tonight and get 30 and everybody else gets corner threes. He just had a really good rhythm. If you give him the same defense over and over again, he figures out ways to pick it apart. They have guys around the floor that can make shots. [Spencer] Dinwiddie’s threes were all off the dribble, late clock – what are you going to do about that? A couple that we gave up in the corner, maybe more than a couple, I scratch my head because we can cover those. We just didn’t do a good job tonight.”
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