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Quote board: “It just felt like I was already part of the mold”

Dallas gets a big win and the new additions speak with the media

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks got an incredible win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon, walloping the Thunder 146-111. Following the game, head coach Jason Kidd, and new Mavericks Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington spoke to the media. Check out our other coverage, including the recap of the game, stats to know, and our podcast after seeing what these guys had to say in the postgame press access.

Jason Kidd

(On the debuts of newly acquired Mavericks center Daniel Gafford and Mavericks forward P.J. Washington Jr....)

“They were great, they were great. Offensively, defensively, they didn’t seem nervous. They were really good. That first quarter, I think they (the Mavs) set a franchise record for 47 points in the first and I think let everyone know that everybody is comfortable and excited about having those two as a part of the team. I thought it was a great team win from start to finish.”

(On what the additions of Mavericks center Daniel Gafford and Mavericks forward P.J. Washington Jr. does for the Mavs...

“I think it gives us an opportunity to look at different combinations. I thought [Daniel] Gafford was great on both ends, but I thought what we’ve seen playing against Gafford is he gets every defensive rebound. I thought he did that for us this afternoon at a very, very high level. We’re going to need that. I thought defensively, to come in and pick up the schemes right away was a plus. Then P.J. [Washington Jr.], I thought he just let the game come to him and that’s what we need. I thought, again, the pace was high. We didn’t have to run anybody’s minutes up and that was something that we talked about this afternoon. A lot of good stuff. I know I probably left something out but great team win.”

(On the importance of winning a game that doesn’t rely on the 3-point shot as much...)

“I think it’s important as we go on this journey to find out who we are. We’ve been a team that will shoot a lot of 3s. There’s going to be nights when we do that because of the double teams. But I think, just one of the plays that stands out is when you see D. Jones (Derrick Jones Jr.) drives it, throws it to P.J. [Washington Jr.], P.J. redrives it and throws it back to him for a dunk. Just the ability to have athletes who can put the ball on the floor and not have to worry about Luka [Dončić] and Kai (Kyrie Irving) doing all the work. There’s going to be nights where we shoot 45 to 47 3s and there’s going to be nights where we can dominate the paint like we did today.”

(On the recent play of Mavericks center Maxi Kleber and how he fits into the rotation of bigs as a four...)

“I think with Maxi [Kleber], I was just joking with him that we take him for granted because I didn’t mention that he had three offensive rebounds today. But what he’s done for us as a starter has been incredible because it’s gotten us off to a great start defensively. Then, when you look at what he does offensively, being able to stretch, he doesn’t have to touch the ball, he’s going to be physical with setting screens. Now as we get healthy here, we’ll look at D. Live (Dereck Lively II) or [Daniel] Gafford starting and we can play big with him at the four but also now it gives us depth to be able to bring him off the bench and be able to play him at the four or five; when [he’s] at the four, we can continue to be big. There’s a lot of good options here. We’re going to work through it here before the break and then after the break. But it’s good to have these options because we didn’t have these options earlier.”

Daniel Gafford

(On if he had fun today in his Mavericks debut…)

“I had a lot of fun.”

(On the standing ovation he got when he entered the game…)

“It felt amazing. I am pretty sure P.J. [Washington Jr.] felt great also because[with] being back home, and me being so close to him. It felt like I got drafted by this team, in all honesty. It felt good stepping on the court and hearing the crowd and the cheers really fueled the energy I had throughout the game.”

(On how he was able to execute well with Luka Dončić so quickly…)

“Playing with guys like Luka [Dončić]and Kyrie [Irving] and all the other guys that were on the floor, it just felt like I was already part of the mold. Being on the opposite end, looking at these guys, when it comes to our pregame stuff and how to defend these guys and so on. Seeing what they get throughout the game, playing against us, it just feels like I already know. Coming into the team, being in the right spot at the right time, doing the right things, setting the right screens, and just getting guys downhill.”

P.J. Washington

(On if he knew it was going to feel this easy in his first game with the Mavericks…)

“No. Everybody was telling that I was going to get a lot of open shots, but I didn’t realize it until I was out there. Playing with Luka and Kyrie and all those guys, they made the game a lot easier for me. They did that for [Daniel] Gafford too. Just being out here was great and I am just glad we got the win.”

(On how he was feeling on the court and how he feels postgame…)

“I was tired, I am not going to lie. I am just excited, though. I have been excited since the trade went through. I am just happy to be here and happy that we got the W.”

(On how it seemed like he already fit in so easily with his new team…)

“I was just trying to keep the game simple and not try to do too much. The guys trust me, so I just have to go out there and be myself.”

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