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Quote board: Doncic, Mavs roll over Wemby-less Spurs

“We could have felt sorry for ourselves about our performance last night, but we turned the page.”

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets in Space City Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks were able to bounce back against their other in-state rivals on Saturday. After a tight first half, the Mavericks were able to blow the doors wide open against the San Antonio Spurs, who were without Victor Wembanyama, thanks to stellar performances by Luka Dončić, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dante Exum.

Here’s what the Mavs had to say after getting back in the win column:

Luka Dončić

(On how he felt tonight…)

“Great. We got a win – I’m good.”

(On if there was any disappointment on not getting to play against Victor Wembanyama because of the injury sustained in pregame warmups…)

“I didn’t even know he got injured in the warmups. He got injured in the warmups? Yeah, that’s bad luck. You always want to play against guys like this so it’s a disappointment.”

(On if getting so many triple-doubles surprises him…)

“I don’t know. Sometimes yes, sometimes know.”

(On if he plays with the intention of trying to sit in the fourth quarter…)

“Not intentional, but just get a win you know. And that was great. Just rest in the fourth quarter, it’s always the best for me – I love it.”

(On recording his 36th career 30-point triple-double, one shy of matching LeBron James on the all-time list, and what that milestone would mean to him…)

“I mean obviously a lot. We all know who he is, what he’s doing in his 21st year in the NBA, which is unbelievable. So, it means a lot.”

(On what reaching 10,000 career points would mean to him…)

“Great. I’m happy about it.”

(On what he is looking forward to about playing on Christmas Day…)

“Enjoy your Christmas man. Not a lot of people get to play on Christmas Day. Might be my third or fourth, so it’s just a special day to play basketball.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.

(On how he feels the team has fared to this point of the season through all the injuries…)

“Guys are just battling, man. It’s tough and we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve still got to go out there and play. We’ve got so many injuries and so many guys out right now. [They are] key components to this team and help us win ball games. We’ve just got to hold down the fort and hold it down until our guys get back. We’re trying to do that to the best of our abilities and we’re going to keep on fighting.”

(On when he found out that Spurs center Victor Wembanyama got hurt in warmups and was out for the game…)

“I did not know. I went into halftime, and I saw on my phone that everybody was going crazy. I was like, “What happened?” The video showed for itself. I was like, “Okay.”

(On being a leader on this team and helping the young guys gain confidence…)

“Yeah, I mean they have to. Yesterday, for example, in Houston, the guys did a great job of competing even though it was a tough situation. Guys were competing for a whole four [quarters]. When you continue to do that, like today for example, you have the opportunity [when you are] up 30 or 40 points, to come in the game. You’ve got to still play the right way and still have to go out there and do what we do. When we’re in practice, when we watch film, you’ve got to try and go out there and execute everything on both ends of the floor. You saw coach [Kidd] pull the guys out and put some of the starters back in. It’s just a learning experience and it will get better.”

(On how this stretch of games has helped mold the team and helped certain players develop different skills when being thrown into different positions to start the year…)

“I think it helps out tremendously especially down the road with guys knowing what to do out there on the floor, knowing their role and knowing what they have to do on both ends of the floor to be successful and to help the team win. At this point during the season, you start to see guys go find their niche and find what they do great for the team. They’ve just got to accept it, move on, and do whatever they can to go out there and be productive.”

Dante Exum

(On who has been his biggest help in putting him in a position to be contributing right away for this team…)

“It’s been a team effort from everyone and everyone on the coaching staff. When I wasn’t playing a lot, we were working every day. Once this opportunity came, just kind of taking and seeing how the way people were playing me, I just kept working. But everyone’s been great and supportive in making sure that I go out there and play confident. Even coach [Jason Kidd] pulled me and Kieff [Markieff Morris] walked up on the sidelines and said “Hey, go play your game.” It’s been everyone.”

(On the idea of him remaining in the starting lineup even when Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving returns from injury…)

“It doesn’t matter if I’m starting or coming off of the bench. I think, for me, it’s always going into the game with the same mindset. Obviously, it’s nice to start and be rewarded by that but I want to go in, win every game and play as hard as I can. As long as I’m on the court and I’m able to do that.”

(On how having three ball-handlers on the court at the same time works for the Mavericks…)

“Yeah, I think one of the things we’ve been saying from the start of the season, since training camp, is that we want to play faster. I think that gives us opportunity, not just having guys that can dribble the ball up, but guys that are primary ball-handlers that know how to start an offense, create an offense and can get in the paint and create for others. I think that’s real beneficial for our team. I know when Luka [Dončić] is out there, I need to run in transition a bit more. I tend to come back to the ball a bit more. I think it’s just adjusting to everyone’s playstyle.”

(On what Mavericks guard Luka Dončić said to him after Exum jumped by Dončić for a tip-in dunk in the game…)

“I had to take that. I actually haven’t seen it yet. I was just trying not to get an offensive goaltending. I think that’s a strength of ours being able to [do that]. We shoot a lot of threes, and a lot of people don’t box out. So, it’s just about crashing from the corners, and I try to do it as much as possible. But guys are starting to box me out.”

Jason Kidd

(On comparing tonight’s game to last night’s game in Houston...)

“77 [Luka Dončić] … That’s how good he is. Not just Luka [Dončić], but [Dante] Exum I thought, them having the energy and then taking control of the game. I thought the group, again, played well. We shot the ball a lot better than we did last night. But a great character win, too, because we could have felt sorry for ourselves about our performance last night, but we turned the page. Much-needed win before we go to Phoenix for Christmas.”

(On the recent play of A.J. Lawson...)

“A.J. [Lawson]’s been great – the speed, the energy. He’s shooting the ball well. He shoots the ball extremely well at home. The time that he’s been on the floor has been a positive for us. We’re going to need that with the injuries that we have. As you know, it gets tricky when we get healthy because those guys won’t play as much. Right now, we’re going to stay in the moment and get those guys to play at a high level, and A.J.’s doing that for us right now.”

(On the play of Dante Exum...)

“It’s ironic, he [Dante Exum] ended the game. When we got him, that’s kind of the role, the third point guard. But what he’s done is put himself as a starter, and we’ll keep him as a starter. If we’re healthy tomorrow, he’s going to start, with ‘Kai’ [Kyrie Irving] and Luka [Dončić]. When you have three ball handlers, I think we’ve figured that philosophy out. That ingredient of having three playmakers out there makes the game easier for ‘Kai’ and Luka and puts a lot of pressure on their defense. To have Exum out there, it helps.”

(On Dante Exum’s best position defensively...)

“He’s guarding the best perimeter or one of the best wings. When you look at what D. [Derrick] Jones is doing for us, he’s guarding one of the best wings or the point guard. Those two just flip-flop and they’ve done a really good job of defending for us. It gives us a big guard and a big wing, and those two are doing it for us right now.”

(On when he learned Victor Wembanyama was a late scratch...)

“The honest truth, I found out from Duds [assistant coach Jared Dudley], I’m not going to lie to you … I found out from Duds when I was sitting there drawing up the play, and I thought he was playing around. He said that ‘Pop’ [Gregg Popovich] told him to tell me that Victor [Wembanyama] was a late scratch. I didn’t know what had happened and then they told me he twisted his ankle. That’s all I was told.”