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Quote board: What the Mavericks said after losing to the Hornets

Dallas was a 16-point favorite.

Charlotte Hornets v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Is this rock bottom? The Dallas Mavericks’ 117-109 loss to the lowly Charlotte Hornets may be the culmination of a tumultuous season that has officially spiraled out of control. Dallas showed little interest in playing this game, showing a sense of urgency usually reserved for the final game before the All-Star break rather than a must-win game with massive playoff seeding implications on the line.

The mood after the game was deservedly dour as the players and coached confronted the reality of their desperate situation. Here’s what they had to say:

Luka Doncic

(On why the Mavericks came out flat tonight…)

“I don’t know.”

(On if he thinks boo’s from the fans were deserved…)

“Probably, yes. This hasn’t been what we thought it was going to be. We’ve still got time to make it up.”

(On the key for Mavericks fixing this season…)

“Win games. Simple.”

(On if this is the most frustrated he has been during this season…)

“I mean, yes. It’s really frustrating. I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes, I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there. I used to have fun smiling on the court, but it’s been so frustrating for a lot of reasons – not just basketball.”

(On what the team needs to improve to win games…)

“We’ve got to fight hard and play hard and that’s about it. We’ve got to show we care, and that starts with me first. We’ve got to believe this team can be better and play harder.”

(On if he can create joy from the game or if it comes naturally…)

“I think it’s a little bit of both. If I knew how to create that joy, I would do it. Sometimes you need heart.”

(On if joy comes from winning or the way the team plays…)

“I think it’s a little of both. Winning brings joy. When you win games you’re happy and the locker room is happy. You’re just having fun on the court and playing together.”

Kyrie Irving

(On your level of concern with the team right now…)

“Concern? There is a level of concern every time we step out there just because we want to execute at a very high level. I think we want to play well for each other and the fans. In terms of playing well for each other and for the coaches – just doing little things to get us wins is probably the focus and where we should put the majority of our energy. In terms of concerns, we have to throw all of that out before we get on the court. I have been in positions before in the season when we have been under .500 and scratching and clawing to get into the playoffs. It’s not a position you want to be in, but it’s our reality and we have to face it. There is no time for excuses or pointing fingers – just move on to the next game and do all that we can to prepare in the best way. We knew tonight was a very winnable game against the Hornets and we just didn’t come out with the energy or the poise that we needed to start the game off well and limit their opportunities.”

(On if you thought coming to the Mavs would look like this when he was traded to Dallas…)

“I didn’t imagine it, no. I expect to win every ball game I play. That is the attitude I have. But the reality is what it is. We are 3-7 [when Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving play together]. But again, it is a team basketball game. As much as people want to put it on me and Luka [Dončić], it is a team basketball game. We talk about that in the locker room. Everyone likes to point the finger at what we are doing, but it is a team game. I feel like when we focus on our team aspect, we get clear answers. But when we focus on two guys and what their numbers are and whether we can play better, it limits all the other guys and their capabilities. I believe in each one of those guys. When I was coming here, I knew that giving up Dorian Finney Smith and Spencer [Dinwiddie] was going to be a change to any lineup that they had going on – different minutes, guys going in and out of the lineup. I haven’t necessarily been as healthy as I would have liked, and other guys haven’t been as healthy, including Luka. But again, there is no time for excuses, we just have to get ready.”

Jason Kidd

(On the effort to start the game…)

“It was awful. Dogshit. I think just understanding the talk before the game of what we’re playing for – playoffs or championship – and to come out in that first half, but more-or-less that first quarter, and give up 37 [points]. The interest level just wasn’t high. It was just … disappointing. But I thought again, at halftime, we talked about it. I thought we put ourselves in a better position, but in the second half, you’ve got to be flawless. Every possession means something. You look at our two guys [Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving], I think they were 3-for-17 from three. Got great looks, just didn’t go down – and that kind of has been the season for us in that sense. Getting great looks, they’re just not going down. Our opponent, they’re getting good looks and they’re making them. I understand that we’ve got eight games left, so we’re still in control of this, but our effort has to be a little bit better from the start.”

(On how to motivate the team…)

“Minutes and field goal attempts. You got a very short leash of ideas and tricks to be able to self-motivate people. You’ve got to be honest with them. We were searching for someone to give us a spark. Frank [Ntilikina] gave us a spark there in that second half. You got to be perfect. You can’t take bad shots, and understand that playing from behind, you’ve got to take care of the ball. [We] had turnovers. Trying to make some of the open shots. I thought our defense and our intent defensively helped us get back into that game when we just started switching everything. Then, being able to rebound the ball helped us there too. When you give up that many points in that first quarter and the first half, it’s tough no matter who you’re playing. We talked about it. You’ve got to respect your opponent, and tonight, we just didn’t do that.”