The Dallas Mavericks held off a feisty and undermanned Utah Jazz team on Tuesday night, willing 120-116. It was not a pretty Dallas win, but after losing a tough one to the Suns, a win is a step in the right direction. After the game, head coach Jason Kidd, along with Kyrie Irving and Tim Hardaway spoke to the media.
(On Kyrie Irving’s play down the stretch...)
“He was the hot player – he was going. When he wasn’t scoring, he was finding the open guy or he was causing a double team. We played through him down the stretch and he delivered; made some big baskets but he made some big free throws, too.”
(On Tim Hardaway Jr.’s ankle...)
“He’s fine, finished the game. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Reggie [Bullock], too. We’ll see how he feels. But Tim [Hardaway Jr.] was a big lift for us off the bench. As we talked pregame about his role and what he’s done – and then for him to start at the half – he’s been a pro all season. He was big for us tonight.”
(On the hot shooting of Tim Hardaway Jr. ...)
“He’s a shooter. He’s got to take them. He’s getting great looks, his confidence is high and his teammates are looking for him. When you have that going on during a game as a shooter – I haven’t been there before – but just understanding when your teammates are looking for you, you want to deliver. That’s what he’s doing right now.”
(On Kyrie Irving having a different energy late in games...)
“That’s just who he is; he loves the moment, he loves to win, he loves to help his team win. As we talked about, just scoring the ball but also being able to accept the double team and get the ball to LD [Luka Dončić] or whomever the double team comes from. The trust that he has with his new teammates is very high. To be able to have those two playmakers, those two guys who are going to be double teamed, one of them is going to be the recipient of the ball and be able to play on a close out. We feel that’s the advantage we have. I thought Kai [Kyrie Irving] has done an incredible job of being able to do that late game.”
(On this scoring in the fourth quarter...)
“They were trying to get the ball out of me and Luka’s [Dončić’s] hands. It felt like we did a great job tonight of trying to beat the trap and make their bigs have multiple plays they have to guard. I think we settled in in the second half where we started trusting the ball movement and the ball ended up finding some people where we hit some timely 3s that we didn’t hit in the first half. It’s winning time really. I’ve been saying that in my career. That fourth quarter, specifically at my age now, it’s the difference between winning ballgames and losing them. The last few games have been really close and we haven’t closed out as well as we would have liked. I haven’t closed out as well as I would have liked. Just putting a lot of pressure on myself. Now we just settle in to what’s in front of us and control what we can control and tonight it could have gone either way against a short-handed Jazz team. You saw that in the effort that we had to come out with in the second half warranted us to play a little harder.”
(On building team relationships in Dallas...)
“I think I really got a chance to be at practice consistently and just build some internal relationships that are going to help me grow as a man and as a player. I said this the other day, I am around a lot of Hall of Famers in their respective sports, and I know they want to help me and give me a lot of wisdom and I am very attentive and I want to listen. I know there is time coming in the future where, away from the court, whether it be during the playoffs or gearing up towards the end of the season, there will be some dinners set. Things other than the Mavs Ball where we can come together and really do things that will help us gel as a team. Most cohesive teams are usually the ones in The Finals. It is not necessarily about talent all the time, it is about how well you can gel at the right time. We want to hit our stride at the right time too. I’m grateful for these early games and we’re taking it very seriously but also understanding that the process is still ongoing.”
Tim Hardaway Jr.
(On his ankle...)
“Got re-taped at halftime. Felt a lot better. We will see how it is when I get off this flight. Will let you guys know tomorrow. No, I’m playing.”
(On his shooting as of late...)
“Nothing has changed. Just the ball has been going in the basket. Taking the looks and stepping into them with confidence. Getting my shots early in the clock. Trying to take advantage of the break. Just trying to find ways early in the clock to be effective.”
(On the team getting early leads...)
“It feels great, we just have to hold on to them for the most part. Especially defensively. We’re up double digits, we have to do a better job of staying the course and locking in more on the defensive concepts and personnel.”
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