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Quote board: Mavs survive Knicks’ fourth quarter run

Irving scores his most points as a Mavericks

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks narrowly avoided a fourth quarter collapse to the New York Knicks, eking out a 128-124 win in the closing minutes. Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 44 points — the most points he’s scored with the Mavericks — while Tim Hardaway Jr. poured in 32 points on 50 percent shooting. Josh Green and Grant Williams also scored in double figures, contributing 18 and 11 points, respectively.

Former Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson had 30 points for New Yor while Dallas-native Julius Randle had 32.

Here’s what everyone had to say after the game:

Kyrie Irving

(On getting the ball more in the post…)

“It makes the game easier, trying to save some of the energy, conserve for the fourth quarter, which I think we did a great job of doing. But, yeah, it gave me the opportunities to create for myself and my teammates.”

(On if losing on Tuesday night played into tonight’s performance…)

“Well, in competition, you’re going to get embarrassed sometimes. I think that’s part of NBA-level competition. Some games you’re not going to play up to the level that you want, [but] I think we responded tonight. That was only 48 hours ago, and consistency is just as important as locking into the gameplan. Being able to create some opportunities throughout the game where you’re really focused on getting the best possession out of your teammates. It was a hard-fought game.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.

On what it does for the team when Kyrie Irving gets going early…)

“[It] opens up everything for us on the floor, and then we start playing off of him. He gives up himself when it comes down to him not having the ball. Even with Luka [Dončić] out there, he does a great job of screening off the ball and playing off of guys, playing off their energy. That’s how we all play when that second unit is in there, when ‘77’ [Dončić] takes a break and we play fast, we play aggressive. It’s our brand of basketball, for sure.”

(On what the three offensive rebounds with under a minute left in the game felt like…)

“What happened was we get an offensive rebound and my shot hit the side of the backboard. And then I had to stat pad a little bit, get my offensive rebound, and then shoot it again, felt good, then got an offensive rebound again, gave the ball to ‘Kai’ [Kyrie Irving], and then Josh [Green] saw one go up over on that side already, so Kai made an unselfish play, Josh knocked it down. He was talking trash to JB [Jalen Brunson] the whole game. They love one another so out there it’s all brotherly love, so it was good just to see those two go at it.”

(On Jalen Brunson giving him a little push at the end…)

“Game’s over, man. It was always great. We hadn’t played against Jalen [Brunson] here. I think the last time he was here, he was hurt, so it was great just to play against one of your good friends and see him out there on the floor and see what he’s done for himself since after playing for the Mavs. It was great just to be able to be out there on the court with him.”

Josh Green

(On his strong start to the game tonight and motivation playing against former teammate Jalen Brunson…)

“I mean it’s not directed towards him (Jalen Brunson), but after the last game and stuff. Last game wasn’t who we were as a team so just making sure I just come out with a presence and just ready to go with energy. It was cool because the whole team followed it. It was good.”

(On playing against former teammate Jalen Brunson for the first time…)

“It was good. It felt weird. It feels like a long time ago he was here, but he’s a good guy. It’s always cool to go against a competitor like that. I learned a lot from him when he was here, he took working out very seriously, [and he] always came back at nighttime. I was able to follow his routine and what he did. So, to be able to see the season he’s had, and last year too, obviously being a competitor going against him, I don’t want him to do that against us. But I’m really happy for him. I’m really happy for all the success he has had.”

On the team’s defensive mindset going into the game tonight…)

“Going off last game too, we all came in way too soft. We need to be the team that hit’s first. If we’re hitting first, it’s very hard to play against a team with Luka [Dončić] and Kyrie [Irving]. So, it’s our job to make sure we make that hit and we’re aggressive. We can be a physical team, and we need to continue to do that. I think coming out like that was important.

Jason Kidd

(On the play of Mavericks guards Kyrie Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr....)

“They were good. Kai (Kyrie Irving) has done this here of late, just setting the tone on both ends. But I think offensively, [he’s] getting us off to a good start. In that first quarter, the ball was moving, there was a lot of positive energy out there on both sides, offensively and defensively. Great groove. Those are our leaders tonight; those two (Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr.) led us and put us in a position to win a tough game.”

(On whether bouncing back from Tuesday’s loss was discussed...)

“Oh no, we spent a lot of time yesterday talking about it — probably a little bit too long. I think [of] the character in that locker room. The guys — again, New York is playing extremely well — they were up for the challenge tonight. The character that the guys understood, as coaches, what we’re asking them to do and they did it for 48 minutes tonight.”

(On Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving diving to the floor for a loose ball...)

“I was trying to get out of the way. No, no, no, I can’t jump, unfortunately. I thought the hustle play to dive — again, I think we’ve talked about this before — our stars are diving on the floor in a regular-season game. It just shows the importance of their leadership, where they’re at, and their mentality. They’re leaders and that’s what leaders do; they’ve got to sacrifice once in a while. Kai (Kyrie Irving) and Luka [Dončić] have done that by diving for the ball, coming up with a steal and then we go the other way. Again, Kai’s been great coming back from injury and we needed that. But I thought the role players did a really good job tonight of doing their job, staying in character, and not doing anything more or less. It’s a great team win.”

(On Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving’s performance on the offensive end tonight...)

“I was trying to look at him in the post to try and conserve some energy. I know he’s (one of the best), if not the best at the dribble, but when you’re going to maybe play him 40-something minutes, how can you use him where he’s not expending a lot of energy and it’s harder sometimes to double team. I thought about putting him in the post tonight, something that we haven’t really looked at. He’s just as good in the post as he is off the dribble. I asked him [if he] could post up tonight a little bit and I thought he delivered.”

Julius Randle

(On the Mavericks’ first quarter…)

“I think Kyrie [Irving] set the tone with two quick 3s. They just didn’t feel us defensively, our presence at all. So, they had confidence. Tim [Hardaway Jr.] had confidence. Josh Green had confidence. It was just kind of contagious throughout their team.”

Tom Thibodeau

(On the slow start to the game and the way the game ended...)

“We got on our heels, and we had to fight the rest of the way. It came down to one crucial rebound in the last minute and we didn’t get it. We have to put a body on them there. The game is on the line at that point. The physicality of blocking out and [Dwight] Powell made a big back tip; I believe it was Powell. But there were several that we got our hand on it, but we didn’t snatch it. But you have to block out first.”

(On Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving’s game tonight and how the team started on him...)

“He puts a lot of pressure on you. Our defensive transition to start the game was poor. We turned the ball over. We put them in the open floor. And so, they got some easy baskets, they got rhythm, they got confidence early. Once a team gets going like that, you know, it is tough to get it turned around. Now, we did fight to get out of that hole. That part was good. First quarter readiness is huge in this league.”

(On Dallas’ game with Mavericks guard Luka Dončić being out injured tonight...)

“The thing is, this is who they are. This team is scoring a lot of points. They play fast and they shoot 3s. That wasn’t going to change. They didn’t change their style of play. When you talk about who Kyrie [Irving] is, they surround him with shooting. Like, [Tim] Hardaway Jr. had a big night. That was a problem. We have to do better.”

(On Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving...)

“It’s a combination of he’s an elite shooter, but his ability to handle the ball in tight situations, pick-and-roll, with shiftiness, it pulls your defense. It’s a magnet. Then you have to commit to him, but you also have to fire out and cover shooters and get your body on people so you’re not giving up second-shots. I thought our rebounding was pretty good for the most part, except for that one stretch. That was the game really.”