The Dallas Mavericks held off a furious comeback attempt from the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night to win their second straight home game. Luka Doncic and company built up a 31 point lead before what was later determined to be a heel injury sidelined Doncic from the middle of the third quarter on. Dallas played haphazard basketball, but late game efforts from Josh Green helped secure the 111-106 win. Here’s what Green and head coach Jason Kidd had to say after the contest.
(On the fourth quarter…)
“I mean—they were on a roll. They were hitting shots [and] we weren’t. They were playing aggressive [and] we weren’t. We slacked off and didn’t play defense. They were playing defense. Just a game of basketball. They had their runs, but it should have never come down to it being a two-possession game. It should have never come down to that. So that’s on us. We’ll take the win, but we’ve got a lot to work on for sure.”
(On the adjustment after Luka Dončić left the game…)
“It’s Luka, so yeah, it’s different. I think it took our team a while to get used to it. We’re used to the ball, Luka bringing it up at a slow pace. And then they realized that too. They obviously tried to get us to play in a way, continuously like Luka, by doubling Spencer [Dinwiddie], and trying to make it a slower game when the guys we have on the court are not made for a slower game. And part of it’s my fault. There are definitely times when I should have got the ball and pushed the pace, but it’s a game of pace when Luka is not out there. We need to be able to realize that. Luka trusts us to bring the ball up, even when he’s in there. So for us, it’s about bringing a faster pace and not just playing to what we’re used to.
(On the mood in the locker room…)
“It’s unacceptable, but at the end of the day, we play the Warriors next game. The more we dwell about this – we definitely need to address it, but at the same time, it’s about preparing for the next game and making sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not even who we’re playing or who we just played, it’s more of us making sure we never get put in that situation. When we’re down by 30, we play with that aggression and I think we need to have that attitude even when we’re up by 30. It’s embarrassing to lose by 50. I think when you’re up by 30, you shouldn’t be like happy with it. I think it’s important to be able to continue to push that, especially giving the young guys an opportunity. I think that’s the worst part about it. It’s weird for me to say this, but those are the minutes that I was so excited for at the end of the game. We need to make sure those guys are able to get minutes, so it’s our fault.”
(On the injury to Luka Dončić...)
“Contusion to the heel. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and have a better update to give you.”
(On whether or not Luka Dončić would have stayed in if the game was closer at the time...)
“I think that was a no-go. I think no matter what the score was, he wasn’t coming back.”
(On what allowed the Pelicans to get back into the game...)
“The ball just didn’t go down for us. We had some great looks there, some wide-open 3s and we didn’t convert some layups. You look at the defense, sometimes you can relax with a big lead, so just understanding the Pelicans are a good team, they’re fighting to break their losing streak. Give them credit – they kept playing. I thought that we settled on a lot of jump shots there. Again, Josh [Green] makes a big 3 for us. I thought being able to get the ball into his hands and being able to play off of him is something that we’ve got to look at doing a little bit more.”
(On Josh Green’s progression this season...)
“Understanding Josh [Green]’s work ethic, spending time with Josh here during practice and giving him a little bit more responsibility of playmaking and having the ball in his hands. He has responded in a positive way. He’s worked extremely hard, we talked about that this summer. He gets hurt but I thought just his work ethic while he was hurt and then just showing that he hasn’t fallen off in a sense because of the injury. He’s still able to deliver, make plays for us. He did that in Utah. And then tonight, he made two, I thought, big plays of being able to drive the ball getting in the paint and then also stepping up and shooting that 3. He had taken one earlier in front of me and I thought that was good. You could see that he wasn’t afraid of the moment.”
(On getting a win before leaving for a five-game road trip...)
“All the wins are important, especially before the break. A lot of times, this is where teams can separate. But to come out of the homestand with two wins, and now we’ve got a tough five-game road trip coming up here right before the break.”
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