Following the impressive but tense win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night, Dallas head coach Jason Kidd, along with players Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Jaden Hardy made time to answer questions from the media.
(On the team’s second-half performance...)
“They responded. I thought we had a great conversation at halftime. That group played hard; I thought they got off to a good start in the third quarter. [Jaden] Hardy gave us a spark off the bench. Luka [Dončić] was Luka. I thought the guys, again, we saw some of the problems, we talked it out in the locker room at halftime and responded. It was a great second half — maybe one of our best quarters [was] to hold a team to 12 points. That lets us know that we can do it and then we can hold each other accountable for that.”
(On what made zone-play effective in the second half tonight...)
“Energy and effort. At the end of the day, it’s just caring. I thought that the group did a great job there with the zone. Then, being able to rebound the ball out of the zone sometimes can cause a problem, but we got stops there in that third quarter. Our offense kind of opened up and guys started making shots.”
(On the play of Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr....)
“I think Tim [Hardaway Jr.] has played at a high level for us. Again, I wish it was that easy that we can mark him down for 30 [points] so we can get the win total. But we’ve asked him to come off the bench, we’ve asked him to start, we’ve asked him to guard bigs — and he’s a true pro. He played a great game for us stepping into the starting role and flip flopping with [Jaden] Hardy. I thought Hardy gave us a big spark, too, in that first [quarter]. But Tim was great tonight. Tim was really good.”
(On the next step in Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy’s development to be able to contribute consistently...)
“Great question. I think you answered the question. Key word is being consistent and that’s what our young team is fighting for. We’ve got young players who can, at times, be inconsistent and that’s just the nature of the game. But we’re going to stay positive and keep teaching. [Jaden] Hardy played at a high level and now it’s being able to stack that, come back against Minnesota and be able to give us — we’re not asking for the same effort, we’re just asking to be consistent. That’s with Josh [Green], too. We’ve got young players we’re leaning on to play at a high level. Sometimes it can be a little inconsistent but we’re going to stay positive. We know that Hardy can play at a high level, and he showed that tonight.”
(On Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.’s performance tonight…)
“Amazing man, he played amazing. [He] didn’t force anything but was very aggressive and hitting shots. Amazing play by him. It’s very tough to guard us when he’s got it going. It’s very tough to double. Just swing it to him and let him make the shot, so it’s very hard to guard us when he’s that hot.”
(On the Mavs’ zone defense adjustment in the 3rd quarter tonight…)
“We were just aggressive and playing very, I think, good defense. [We were] being physical and aggressive.”
(On his focus on defensive leadership…)
“I try to talk even more [and] try to give energy to the team. If I do it, then it’s gonna inspire everybody to do it. I just got to do it more.”
Tim Hardaway Jr.
(On playing with Mavericks guard Luka Dončić…)
“[I’ve] been playing with Luka [Dončić] for the last five years now since 2019 when we got traded here. I know his game. I know his game, I know where he wants me to be out there on the floor, in pick-and-roll situations, when he wants me to slip, when he wants me to pop, when to attack, when not to. Just playing off his energy. [I’m] playing off his energy meaning if they’re face-guarding him, playing off him, using him as a screener in some ways, and some situations like that. Yeah man, it’s been a process, but it doesn’t take that long if you’re confident out there and he knows that you’re confident.”
(On the Mavericks’ halftime adjustments…)
“Just communication [and] showing a little bit more effort in the game in the back side of the defense where the help side is. [Orlando] did a great job of having guys—when Paolo [Banchero] was semi-posting up in front of their bench in the first half and going baseline or attacking our defense, you had wings and corners cutting. So, our low guys, we just had to do a better job of just communicating and making sure that we made it tough on them when they caught the ball or scramming them out and making it hard on them and contesting everything.”
(On the team’s third quarter performance tonight…)
“I feel like once we came out of halftime and we talked things over, we knew what we needed to do once we got back out there. I feel like we did a good job of adapting and showing resilience, and staying together as a team when they were making shots. Just sticking to the game plan and bringing energy.”
(On head coach Jason Kidd’s halftime message to the team…)
“[It was about] guys not being dialed in on the defensive side and not listening to the game plan. So that’s when we talked things over, and just sticking to the game plan. Trusting the gameplan, trusting what the coaches were saying to us.”
(On what a game like tonight does for his confidence…)
“I feel like for me, [it’s] just trying to build on it. Staying on my working habits and doing everything I can to continue to have games like this, contributing and helping the team win.”
(On his playmaking in tonight’s game…)
“I’m feeling very comfortable out there and just playing off the closeouts and reading the defense when I get to the paint. [I’m] finding my teammates open shots if the low man isn’t there throwing lobs. [I’m] just getting better at reading the defense, while still playing my game and being aggressive.”
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