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Quote board: Mavs’ comeback against the Clippers falls short

“I like what the group did short-handed. Everyone played and put us in a position to fight.”

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The shorthanded Dallas Mavericks showed some fight after falling in a hole against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Despite another triple-double from Luka Doncic, five players scoring 15-or-more points, and only having six turnovers all game, the Mavericks’ second half comeback attempt felt short and Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers walked away from the American Airlines Center with a 120-111 win.

Here’s what the Mavs (and Clippers) had to say after the loss:

Jason Kidd

(On the Mavericks’ comeback from a 22-point deficit...)

“I think it was the ability to make the adjustment at halftime. There’s a lot of basketball to be played. We had a lot of good looks that didn’t go down. When you’re shorthanded, you’ve got to make shots. We can sit here and talk about defense, but our offense is our defense. We started to make shots there at the end of the second [quarter]. I thought the physicality that started off the third [quarter] was good [by] making the adjustment with the lineup going small to see how guys were going to react to that. That small group did a good job.”

(On whether or not he wanted to take Mavericks guard Luka Doncic out in the second half...)

“Yeah, I probably could have taken him out there when we’re down [as] the lead extends. Also, he’s the one causing problems for the other four on the floor. The issue is, who can cause a problem when he’s off the floor? Right now, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re trying to find that but it’s hard when we’re built around Luka. Luka penetrates, finds the open guys and we just didn’t shoot the ball well tonight there in the first half. In the third quarter, we did. Then late, we just couldn’t stop Kawhi — Kawhi took over the game.”

(On what broke down defensively during the final three minutes of the game...)

“You’re not going to be able to play him (Kawhi Leonard) straight up, so if you can’t hit him — and he was going quick, away from the double team. We talked about that; we knew he was going to go quick. But if we can’t hold him up, he’s too strong. He’s going to get to the baseline for him to be able to lay the ball up or be able to find open teammates. That’s what he did.”

(On the small lineup the Mavericks used tonight...)

“I like what the group did short-handed. Everyone played and put us in a position to fight. There’s a lot of character in that locker room [with] understanding things weren’t going well for us in the first half. But I thought we turned it around in the second half. No one feels bad for us that we’re short-handed, but those guys fought and put us in a position to win. We just came up short.”

Derrick Jones Jr.

(On pushing the pace in the fast break…)

“That was our goal for the day: try to get out on transition and get easy buckets a lot faster, just getting the game moving a lot faster. I mean, I feel like it helped us a lot. So, it worked.”

(On being the defensive big in some of the late-game line-ups tonight…)

“I’m never going to be a defensive center, even if I’m the biggest guy out there, height-wise, I’m probably not going to be the defensive center. I’m always going to be on the wing, on the wing player. So, I just try to do whatever I can on the defensive end no matter who I’m guarding, if I’m guarding the best player, if I’m not guarding the best player. I just do whatever I can do make it a difficult night for the opposing team.”

(On Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard making shots at the end of the game…)

“[Kawhi Leonard]’s a great player. I mean, that’s what he does, just got to try, and limit the shots that he got and just try to spot him from getting to his spots a lot more, and yeah, that’s it.”

Jaden Hardy

(On the differences he noticed in the game when the team started going with a smaller lineup…)

“I feel like, with the smaller lineup, it just gives us more opportunities with the guys that are out there to be able to create. When the smaller group is out there, it takes pressure off of Luka [Dončić]. With the guards, [it’s about] just being able to get in the paint, make the extra passes and the right reads to get the other guys involved and to get open shots when Luka is being doubled.”

(On what he is looking for in terms of his shot selection…)

“Just taking my time, trying to get comfortable and making the right reads when I get out there. [I’m] just being confident in my game and listening to the coaches and my teammates.”

(On what happened defensively in the last three minutes of the game tonight…)

“I feel like it was just us not talking and communicating. We’ve got to be better down the stretch at communicating, sticking to our principles, and knowing what we are doing when we get out there at the end of the game, to be able to get those wins, those tough wins.”

Tyronn Lue

(On what was Dallas doing to make it challenging towards the end…)

“We got a little careless with the ball, which we have been doing a great job taking care of the ball. But we got a little careless in the second half of taking care of the ball. We had plays there that could have been made. We just didn’t make the right play. Like I said, going small, spreading us out, put us in rotations, and you know made it pretty tough. Like I said, I just give credit to our guys for being resilient. Giving up a 22-point lead on the road and then staying with it winning by nine. That was a huge win for us with PG [Paul George] being out, changing the rotations. I thought Amir [Coffey] was really good tonight. He made a huge 3 down the stretch of the game. So, it was a total team effort, total team win, and we got the dub.”

(On how the team responded to Dallas going to a small lineup…)

Yeah, we built the lead with traditional 5 with [Dwight] Powell in the game. Like I said, J-Kidd [Jason Kidd] made a good adjustment going small at halftime and we weren’t going to adjust to them. We were going to see how it worked out first. They went on a pretty good run, made some shots, and the last seven minutes of the game we decided to go small to try to be able to fly around defensively. And then offensively, put them in a tough position because now they had to guard our smalls. So, we did a good job with that.”

Kawhi Leonard

(On what Dallas did to come back in the game…)

“They double-teamed us. They blitzed the pick-and-rolls. They flooded the sides, and they got us stagnant. And then we started playing slow. And then we pretty much saw what they were doing and started getting stops on the defensive end and just got out in transition.”

James Harden

(On the difference today and withstanding the Mavericks’ run…)

“We have way more games under our belt. We know who we are [and] our identity. We’re trying to get to both ends of the ball, and we’re living with the results. We’ve had a number of games where we just keep our composure, we run our offense, we make the shot, we get two or three stops in a row, and we go from there. It’s about keeping our composure. We know who we are. We kind of got a sense of our identity and what not, and now we just have to continue to get better.”