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Quote board: “We have to be better defensively”

Head coach Jason Kidd, Luka Doncic, and Kyrie Irving talk to the media

Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Boston Celtics on Monday evening, 119-110. Despite the final score being close, it wasn’t much of a game with a few exceptions. Dallas got out worked by a more talented team. Following the game, head coach Jason Kidd spoke, as did Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Here’s what they had to say:

Jason Kidd

(On the defensive challenges the Celtics presented tonight...)

“I think their ability to switch — the starting five, they can switch. After that, it gets a little dicey. But I thought again, we had some great looks. We missed some bunnies tonight that we normally have made here in the past. We had good looks at 3s. I think we just grew a little bit frustrated with the officiating and we lost our focus. We’ve got to do better.”

(On whether the team’s effort was impacted by the time off between the last game...)

“I think that’s a player’s question. As a coach, I think coming into it, we won the first quarter, and we won the fourth quarter. We gave up a big 40-point quarter there in the second [quarter]. They missed their 3s to start the game and then they started to get a rhythm. Just understand, we have to be better defensively. They picked on one guy the whole night. We understand we’ve got to protect him, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”

(On how to address frustration and losing focus in the moment...)

“You have to move on to the next play and we’ve talked about that over and over. Sometimes the maturity, it takes time. We’ve been inconsistent in that department where we can get caught up with the officials rather than just staying focused on the game. No one is going to be perfect from player to official to coach, so you’ve got to just continue to do your job. I thought we got frustrated there and they took advantage of that. Again, they created a lot of 3s. They weren’t making them early on and then they did. That’s what a good team does — they find their rhythm and they start making shots. For us, we had to continue to keep driving the ball, putting pressure on them. Again, we had some great looks that just didn’t go down and that carried over for a minute or two or three. We just can’t have that against one of, if not, the best team in the league.”

Luka Doncic

(On Head Coach Jason Kidd saying the officiating got to the team...)

“That’s what he said? I don’t know. I played bad and missed a lot of layups. They [the Celtics] are an amazing team. They are No. 1 in the NBA. They have great defense. They have two guys who can really play basketball really well, and all-around other guys that can really play too. So they have an amazing team and that is why they are No. 1.”

(On his play on offense and defense...)

“I think I just missed a lot of layups. On that one possession I missed three in a row wide open. I just think it wasn’t my night tonight. Jaylen Brown really attacked me well. I saw that video. I can’t lie that was really nice. I was on the floor praying he didn’t make it, but he made it. I try to play my best. I think my defense, I took a really big step this year. I was trying, but Jaylen really attacked me. No [there was no push-off], that was a really nice move.”

Kyrie Irving

(On if the officiating distracted the team’s focus…)

“I think he [Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd]’s entitled to that as our head coach. I agree with him in terms of just the rhythm of the game kind of knocked us back and we were doing a lot of – actually talking to the refs and trying to figure out what they were seeing out there on both ends of the ball. So, I think that attributed to some of our plays down the stretch, and also in that second quarter, third quarter where they outscored us, 41 to 33. Yeah no, I think that just took a toll on us, but I don’t want to sit up here and make any excuses for myself or our team. I think they played a heck of a game, the Celtics. We held them to a fair shake in the first quarter, and then that second quarter, they took full advantage of the opportunity of getting to the free throw line, getting some open 3s, playing with pace that we just couldn’t match. And when you allow a team to score 40 points in any quarter in the NBA, it’s going to be tough to come back from it. They had an incredible rhythm, so you have to give them credit on that, and they were picking on our matchups tonight a little bit, made us think the game on the defensive end, and it’s another test for us against one of the best teams in the league. We came up short, so we can definitely pinpoint some of the plays throughout the game that we could have been better or could have been fixed, but I think overall, our mentality coming into this game was pretty good. We just can’t allow any external distractions to get in our way, because we were in the game for the majority of the game, and then they created some separation, they do what the Celtics do, they closed out pretty well and played hard to the end.

(On if the extended time between games impacted the team at all…)

“Yeah, no, I mean first play of the game, I went to swipe down on JT [Jayson Tatum], and then, just like the other game when I’m getting tacked out there by Bron [LeBron James], like unexpected injuries in the first few minutes of the game, and then I’m barely reaching for the basketball. I’m barely going after things. My aggression was a little bit lower than I wanted to, and when things happen like that, personally, you’ve got to get out of your own way and still do everything you can to win, and I think for me, I’ve got to do a better job of inserting myself in situations on the court and getting better shots. I think a few of them, I felt like they were right at the rim, or they were pretty much contested, but I’ve got to knock those down. I’ve got to give Luka some help, especially when he’s playing well in the first half. Like that second half, I felt like we could have given him a lot more support, and he was forcing it a little bit, like every great scorer does in our league, and we’ve just got to pick him up on the defensive end, make sure we’re there to support each other.

(On the play where he hurt his thumb…)

“Yeah, on the first play of the game, JT [Jayson Tatum] went by me and I tried to swipe, and he does his kind of trick where he puts the ball up and messed up my thumb. That’s why I’m wearing this freaking brace right now man.”