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

Dallas was eliminated from playoff contention

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What’s done is done. Even though they have one game left to play in the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks decided to call it quits on the 2022-23 season. Dallas sat five key players in Friday night’s 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls, with Luka Doncic playing just over 12 minutes.

While the game was exciting, with some highlight reel plays from two-way player AJ Lawson, it signaled that the front office was finally ready to admit defeat and look toward the future. Here’s what the Mavericks had to say about the game and the future of the organization:

Jason Kidd

(On about the game tonight and being eliminated from the play-in…)

“Yeah, I think understanding our record or being eliminated isn’t something that we want to be at, and we got some work to do this summer. But understand things happen. It wasn’t our season, we’ve got to learn from this, and we’ll get better. Those guys in the locker room they were pros. They came out and did their job. Everyone played and we played our young guys a lot tonight and so understanding we didn’t win the game, but those guys played hard, and they put themselves in position to win that game. We just came up short.”

(On how hard it was to wave the white flag to end the season…)

“Understanding it’s not so much waving the white flag. Decisions sometimes are hard in this business, and you have to make hard decisions and we’re trying to build a championship team and sometimes you got to take a step back. Understanding, again, with this decision maybe a step back but hopefully it leads to us going forward. Again, it’s not always easy to make decisions, but these are decisions that are made from my bosses, and we got to follow them. We trust Cuban and Nico to put the pieces together to put us in a position to win a championship and so that’s just starting the process today.”

(On do you feel like you need to smooth over any feelings from the players…)

“I don’t think I have to smooth over anything with the players. I’ve been very honest with the players. I was very honest with them before the game, and I said those guys in that locker room are pros. They played hard. That’s what I asked them to do, and they did it. You know that first half, those guys the ball was moving. Defensively was great. I think that group that was in there last got a little tired, but we played them heavy minutes and we got to see the younger guys play. When you look at AJ and wright those guys did their part. So, understanding that and we’ll see those guys again on Sunday. But the big thing is you know we just have to get better all the way around.”

(On your thought process of playing Luka Dončić at the beginning of the second quarter…)

“I think one to get him an ovation coming out for what he’s done this year for this franchise. Ending his normal run, he wouldn’t get the standing (ovation). So, to be able to get him in the post, get him to score, and for him to take a foul to come out so that people could recognize him coming out. That was the thought behind all that as we started. We told him before the game he was going to go the whole first and figure out a way to get you a standing o and respect for what you’ve done for this organization this year.”

AJ Lawson

(On how it felt to get extended minutes and have a career night…)

“I felt amazing to have the opportunity to come out on the court and play hard. My teammates were all encouraging. It felt good to see the ball go in. The crowd had a great amount of energy that kept boosting my spirits, and I just always play hard. The ball went in today so thank God.”

(On what has improved the most in his game this season…)

“I think my shot is way more consistent. In the beginning of the year I had trouble with consistency with my shot and my follow through. Everything got way more consistent with the reps I got with coaches and me by myself coming in late night or early morning getting shots up.”

(On what he wants to add to his game this summer…)

“I’m gonna work on my ball handling a lot this year because I want to tighten up my handle and just keep working on my shot. I want it to be consistent, I want to shoot over 40% from 3. Then just my decision making so I have less turnovers when I get in the game.”

Theo Pinson

(On what didn’t click defensively for the team this year…)

“I would just say a little bit of connectivity. You could see it in flashes. We were a big-time flash team, playing really good defense and then take a lull. We may have mentioned last year a little too much in my opinion, but, at the end of the day you want to take things from that experience too. You don’t want to just completely forget about it. We had some flashes where we played good defense. At the end of the day, we did all we could.”

(On how the decision to pull the plug when not technically eliminated from the play-in went over in the locker room…)

“It was tough at first when you hear about it, but at the same time we’re pros. We came into it, you know, next man up. We’re playing for jobs just like everybody else. We wanted to play well. I think we did in spurts. We just had a little lull in the fourth quarter, but it’s cool.”

(On his opinion of Kyrie Irving’s comfort level with the organization…)

“[Kyrie Irving] likes it. He likes it here. It’s more the people, you know, surround yourself with good people. When you go through tough stretches like this and situations like this, and you can come into the gym the next day and you have ‘Sham’ [assistant coach God Shammgod], Coach Kidd, you have me, you have ‘Duds’ [assistant coach Jared Dudley], you have ‘KT’ [assistant coach Kristi Toliver] who he has known for a long time, and people who are basketball minds, and just everyday people. We have so many people in our locker room, coaching staff, that are just positive. We just come into work every day and just work. It makes it a whole lot easier. Even though it’s been tough, coming into work every day has been a joy also. My teammates are great also. Y’all come in and see us, you wouldn’t know we were in this position because we just thoroughly enjoy each other. I think that helps him [Kyrie] a lot, and that’s one thing that would help the Mavs pursue him this summer.”