The Mavericks fell at home on Monday night after a roaring comeback in the fourth quarter, losing 124-121. It was a mostly frustrating game, with Dallas playing poor defense for the first three quarters. Despite being down 26 points entering the fourth, Kyrie Irving turned it on and brought Dallas all the way back to within three points. But the Mavericks couldn’t get off a final shot and walked away with a loss. Here’s what Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Jason Kidd had to say following the game.
(On the last play of the game…)
“First of all, it was great defense by the Timberwolves. That was great defense. We didn’t get a clear shot and we just passed to each other. But I think it was great defense. Well done.”
(On if the last game affected how he handled the last shot situation…)
“I don’t know. You are always going to think about it. A lot of people weren’t happy, but I was trying to get him [Kyrie Irving] a shot and he was trying to get me a shot. In the end nobody got a shot. We tried to get a shot off and we couldn’t.”
(On watching Kyrie Irving get hot in the second half…)
“It was insane. All of the guys were just looking at each other wondering how he does that. It was unbelievable to see, and he really got hot.”
(On being down 26 points…)
“I think we just weren’t aggressive enough. They were way more aggressive than us and how we came back was by making stops and working on our defense.”
(On playing after a long road trip…)
“I mean we were out of the house for like 10 days. You come back and try to be home, but it is always tough when you come back from a long road trip. Especially under these circumstances when we are trying to get to know each other. But that’s not an excuse. I think Minnesota played great today, so give them credit.”
(On the last play of the game...)
“I am still trying to emotionally recover. It is still so raw. I would have at least liked to get a shot up. Obviously, with Luka [Dončić] taking it in the backcourt on that steal attempt, it messed up our spacing. We were going for a quick two. That was the plan. It didn’t end up going that way and I should have given Luka more spacing. I thought I had a shot attempt the second time he drove and kicked, and then I expected Theo [Pinson] to be in a spot. It was the end of the clock, adrenaline was running high, anything can happen. I have to get a shot up if anything, or allow Luka to have some space to get a shot – not turn the ball over in that situation. It’s on me to be smarter in those situations. If you look at the overall game, I’m just grateful we were in that position. We scored 39 in the 4th [and] that gave ourselves a chance. That’s all we can ask for at the end of the game. It’s about execution.
(On playing with Luka Dončić...)
“It feels great. We just have to get more timely stops and take care of a few possessions. That can go either way. We’re playing in the Western Conference, and I am learning that there’s a lot of physicality [and] a lot of players that go get buckets. But towards the end of the game, it is just about will and body positioning and doing the little things to get you a win. Offensive rebounds down the stretch, too. Right now, I am figuring out his pace, especially in the first quarter. Coming out of halftime, figuring out what pace we’re going to play at. When we’re up and running and gunning a little bit and switching on the perimeter, doing things that keep the game going, not taking the ball out of the rim. Forcing them to miss shots and turn the ball over, we’re locked into the details of our adjustments. I feel like we play extremely well when we’re doing that. That pace is great for us. But obviously, we can’t wait until the 4th quarter to get it going like that. That’s on me. We will figure it out a little earlier and be aggressive and just be myself.”
(On taking over in the fourth quarter...)
“I try not to overthink it. Obviously, throughout the game when I’m not shooting the ball as well as I would like – and the Timberwolves stretch out the lead – there’s an antsy-ness that comes over me. But there’s just an incredible, incredible resolve alongside my teammates to just stay poised and stay the course. Anything can happen in this league. I said it the other night, but there’s no 20-point leads that are safe in our league anymore, so if we can put ourselves in a great position defensively and get some stops consecutively, we can be in the game with anybody. I really wanted this one tonight at home. I did. It just didn’t go our way.”
(On Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić deferring to one another on the last play of the game...)
“Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that one was trying to get the other and the other was trying to get the ball back to that one. It’s going to happen. It was just like Sacramento – they had the opportunity. Give them credit, they got the deflection on the pass and that kind of threw the play off. But just understanding those guys were playing tonight in that fourth quarter, it was kind of like the first quarter in L.A. and Sacramento, Starting with Kai (Kyrie Irving)’s aggressiveness and being able to get us going. That helped put us in the position to tie the game.”
(On whether there was consideration to call a timeout at the end...)
“No, not on a broken play. I was going, it was a gut feeling. A lot of times on a broken play, you’re going to get a wide-open look. I trust those two are going to find a way. They were playing catch with one another. The next step is to figure out who’s going to shoot it – it’s going to take a little time.”
(On Josh Green’s foul on Mike Conley...)
“Didn’t want the foul but for whatever reason, Josh [Green] fouled. But it’s a great learning experience for a young player. Sometimes when we’re yelling, ‘Don’t foul!’, that can sound like, ‘Foul!’ It’s not a negative. He’s a young player and he fouled. But that’s not the win or loss. The first three quarters, we were still on that road trip and that happens in this league.”
(On Minnesota building a 26-point lead...)
“Look at [Anthony] Edwards – he came out aggressive and he was taking advantage of that, getting into the paint, being able to finish and then getting to the free-throw line. But I thought the fourth quarter is the way we played on the road, with just the pace, being aggressive and we knocked down shots. Tonight, we just struggled from the 3. We just couldn’t get our rhythm. We had some wide-open shots we couldn’t make.”
(On Kyrie Irving’s fourth quarter...)
“I think he just understands the game and when it’s time to go – you saw that in the fourth quarter. On the road trip, he picked his spots, trying to use his teammates early but also getting in rhythm. That’s what makes him special. Just to see the guys - not just Kai (Kyrie Irving) – but the guys didn’t quit. We kept playing, found a way in the fourth quarter to make a game of it.”
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