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Quote board: ‘Tired’ Doncic and the Mavs fall to the Kings

“I’m tired. I can’t wait to go to sleep honestly.”

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Back-to-backs do be like that sometimes. Despite Luka Dončić following up his historic 73-point performance with a 28-point, 10-rebound, and 17-assist triple-double and Grant Williams scoring a career-high 27-points, the Dallas Mavericks were unable to notch back-to-back wins, falling to the Sacramento Kings, 120-115.

Here’s what the Mavericks and the Kings had to say after the game:

Luka Dončić

(On how tired he was tonight from playing so much the last two games…)

“I’m tired. I can’t wait to go to sleep honestly.”

(On his takeaways from coming back from a big deficit in the fourth quarter…)

“I think we fought well. I’m proud of how this team fought. Obviously, we didn’t get the win, but this team fought really well.”

(On if he was a part of the decision with the coaches to keep him in the game in the fourth quarter…)

“No, I didn’t have a discussion. They are the coaches so if they want me to play, then I will play. No problem.”

(On how tough it was to play tonight after last night’s 73-point performance…)

“I mean, it was hard. It was less than 24 hours and I played like 90 minutes or something. It was a lot. Obviously, I was questionable for tonight, but I wanted to play.”

Grant Williams

(On the game tonight…)

“I’m just proud of the guys and how we battled out to the end tonight on a second night of a back-to-back. Easily could have let that game go and move on, but guys fought today. And even in the last minute and a half, last thirty seconds, we were down eight, and you don’t expect to even have a chance. And we gave ourselves an opportunity, we just didn’t capitalize.”

(On what the turnaround is like returning from a road game for a back-to-back…)

“It’s difficult. You get in at 1 o’clock, 2 a.m., and get to sleep by 3, but especially to play a team like this … Sacramento, they play so fast and how they move without the ball, it’s just a different type of basketball than your typical basketball. So, it’s a challenge, but I felt like we do everything to prepare ourselves. Sleep in, try your best to take care of your body, get treatment before the game and just try and be professional. Tonight, it was just one of those where we had an opportunity, we had a chance throughout most of the game. We got to be better on the defensive side of basketball, especially on transition. Once we got settled in, I thought we did pretty well.”

(On if playing short-handed is wearing on the team...)

“You never want to miss guys, but the biggest thing is being healthy at a time when we need it. Right now, we have guys that are banged up, and they take the night because you have too. It’s a long season. We are only 40-something games in, and we have another second half to play, and you never know how those games can go. I’ve been on a team that was .500 at the trade deadline and then won 30 games to end the season. So, once you get healthy and get everybody back, I’m excited to see what this team can possibly do.”

Jason Kidd

(On the play of Mavericks forward Grant Williams...)

“He was great, he was great. Physicality, being able to play-make and then also he gave us a spark — he shot the ball well from beyond the arc. I thought he was really good tonight.”

(On summing up the play of Mavericks guard Luka Dončić over the past two nights, with him playing more than 91 minutes...)

“I think Luka [Dončić], again, when you look at what he’s done here in the last 48 hours, he’s averaging a triple-double. He’s averaging a million points. He’s doing everything we’re asking him. We’ve just got to find him some help. We’ve got to be consistent with the help and also with our health and everything else. We’re asking him to do everything and he’s trying. That’s how I feel about what he’s doing for us right now. He gets us back in the game. We had a great look; we were only down six. Timmy [Hardaway Jr.] gets a wide-open corner 3. If we make that, we’ll see what happens. But the group fought on a back-to-back [after a] historic night last night. The energy was inconsistent. We were trying to find it from everybody. That group there at the end kept fighting and finding a way. There’s a lot of character in that locker room — they didn’t give up.”

(On what goes into extending Mavericks guard Luka Dončić’s minutes...)

“The game plan is always to try to keep him under 48. (chuckles) We did that tonight. With the depth that we have, he’s out there trying to do it by himself. That’s who he is. He loves to take on the world. Again tonight, he helped his team. Unfortunately, he didn’t shoot the ball like he did last night but he still is a problem. He created a lot of open shots for his teammates. In that first half, we just didn’t shoot the ball well. There in the last four minutes, we started to get our rhythm, we started to make shots. It becomes a two-possession game, and it could have easily been a one-possession game there if we make that corner 3. To play him 46 minutes, that’s something we talk about during the game. At some point, that game was out of hand almost and those guys didn’t stop playing. They kept fighting and found themselves in the ball game and his minutes got extended.”

(On whether Mavericks guard Luka Dončić is a part of the conversation about his minutes...)

“No. The conversation with him is when the horn goes off because if you do, you’re not going to win that conversation just knowing that he doesn’t want to come out. He’s always trying to find a way to win and that’s who he is. He’s always going to try to fight. I thought he was very positive on the bench and during the game when we were down to just keep fighting. His teammates responded. They kept fighting and found themselves in a two-possession game with a wide-open 3 in the corner.”

De’Aaron Fox

(On the first three quarters of the game tonight…)

“The way that we were getting stops and just being able to push the pace, that had a lot to do with why we had a lead like that. Obviously, Keegan [Murray] just trying to make it tough on Luka [Dončić]. Obviously in the last six minutes, you want to have a nice blend of that, when you’re up. Obviously, you want to continue to play to win more so than playing not to lose. When you have a lead like that, it’s just natural that you want to waste some time, but we have to be able to finish the game better than that.”

Keegan Murray

(On the defensive effort…)

“I feel like we did good, holding them to no more than 26 points [in each of] the first three quarters. I feel like that really helped us with our confidence. Obviously, they’re desperate in the fourth quarter and hit some shots. I feel like it was a good defensive game for us.”

(On guarding Luka Dončić one night after scoring 73 points…)

“It’s exciting, just to be able to kind of have that challenge and have that goal. [De’Aaron] Fox was joking to me, ‘Don’t let him put 70 on your head tonight.’ My goal was to keep him under 70, and I think we did that well.”

Mike Brown

(On the game tonight…)

“I tell you what, our guys played a really good basketball game. The first three-and-a-half quarters were really, really good on both ends of the floor. You’ve got to give Dallas credit; they’re a really good team. Luka [Dončić] is an all-NBA player and with J-Kidd at the helm, they’re not going to give up anytime. They just kept coming, coming, coming when we got up big [and] when it was late. They had a sense of freedom. There’s no pressure letting that thing fly and they were hitting some big threes down the stretch. We kind of let our foot off the gas a little bit. [We] had a couple of turnovers, gave them second-chance opportunities, and they capitalized on those late. I’m proud of our guys to start this road trip off 2-0 [after] going into Golden State, going into Dallas, and finding a way to get the win. Like I said, [it was] really good basketball for about three-and-a-half quarters. We’ve been playing good basketball for a while, now. Obviously, Foxy (De’Aaron Fox), he was great for us. He was aggressive. He set the tone for us, especially in transition. His 34 [points] were big. [Domantas] Sabonis with another double-double, that was huge, and then Kevin [Huerter] hit some timely threes. I thought he hit a couple of big threes in that fourth quarter for us. We needed them and that was good to see. Last, but not least, we got a lot of different good performances from a lot of people, but Keegan [Murray], he continues to be tasked with the toughest assignment game in and game out. I thought he did a really good job trying to make Luka [Dončić] work for his points tonight. You know, Luka [Dončić] is a heck of a player, 17 assists with a triple double, but Keegan [Murray] I thought tried hard to make him work. So, heck of a game by him.”