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Quote board: “It’s 48 minutes. You have to stay locked in.”

Jason Kidd, Kyrie Irving, and Daniel Gafford speak to the media following the Dallas win

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks held off the Washington Wizards at home on Monday evening, winning 112-104. After the game, head coach Jason Kidd, as well as Kyrie Irving, and Daniel Gafford all spent time answering media questions.

Jason Kidd

(On the fourth quarter...)

“Good question. I think just the energy picked up. I thought [Jaden] Hardy was great for us. He gave us a spark by getting to the basket and knocking down a 3. We didn’t shoot the 3 well tonight, but it just shows the versatility of this group. When we got to the paint, we dominated the paint. Again, we had rebounds, second opportunities. When you look at what [Daniel] Gafford did for us tonight — we’re going to need that as we go forward.”

(On the defensive response with Mavericks center Maxi Kleber switching...)

“I think we talked about that earlier, didn’t we, about how good Maxi [Kleber] is? A lot of his stuff doesn’t show up on the stat sheet but just his talk, his willingness to help his teammates when they get beat at the rim, his verticality. He put on a great demonstration of verticality tonight. Then he knocked down a big 3, and then he showed his ability to put it on the floor and finish. He’s just playing at a high level right now, and we’re going to need that as we go forward. This wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win. Wasn’t our best, but the guys stayed together, and that group out there found a way to put the ball in the basket and get stops.”

(On the play of Mavericks center Daniel Gafford tonight...)

“Again, the seven offensive rebounds, being able to give us second or third opportunities — I thought he was great tonight. I thought for [Daniel] Gafford and P.J. [Washington] to start without a practice, it just shows their versatility. They’re pros. I thought they both played well. I thought P.J. did a great job of cutting offensively and on the defensive end, I thought he did a great job on the ball.”

(On Mavericks guard Luka Dončić returning in the fourth quarter following getting stitches to his chin...)

“He’s not soft, that’s for sure. He’s one of the toughest kids that I’ve had the opportunity to coach, and he’s not scared of a fight. You look at his toughness. He’s playing with a broken nose, never complains, loves the competition and found a way — after getting his stitches — to help the team win tonight.”

Kyrie Irving

(On Daniel Gafford’s play…)

“Great effort. He did his best at controlling his emotions, or allowing his emotions to show … Just allowing the attitude inside him to focus on doing whatever it takes to win. Going against your former team is always going to bring out those natural emotions, so I’m grateful I got to see him in that environment tonight, see how he responded. Just proud of him. In his last two games, he’s done incredibly well, and he’s been a big force down there for us.”

(On what contributed to the team’s big surge in the late fourth quarter…)

“I think we just got tired of going back and forth with them a little bit. It’s no disrespect to them, but we felt like some of our defensive principles were lagging a little bit. We were a little slow rotating in that first half, and in the second half we came out swinging. We didn’t want to allow this game to slip out of our hands. It would have been one of those losses where we would have had to look ourselves in the mirror and have a gut check. We were tested tonight and we responded, so I’m proud of our guys.”

(On what he and Coach Kidd were talking about postgame heading into the locker room…)

“We were talking mainly about my son, Kyrie, sitting courtside. He [Coach Kidd] was reminding me of a story of when he was playing, and TJ, his son, was sitting courtside and he ended up diving into the stands and broke his collarbone. So he was just reminding me that, just for the safety of our game, safety for my wife and my kids, maybe they shouldn’t sit courtside as often when the game gets physical. So he was just giving me advice, and me and my wife were taking about it after the game … And it’s been three years having the boys down there every game and nobody’s come that close. It was scary for me. I took a deep breath afterwards, just wanted to make sure my kid is OK, [Corey] Kispert is OK, but when things happen like that it’s just spur of the moment.”

Daniel Gafford

(On playing against his former team tonight…)

“It went well for the most part. I enjoyed seeing all the guys again. They came out and handled business. It took us a minute, but we got it done in the end. It was something to adjust to, hearing the same guys I’ve been in the locker room for three years talking trash to me.”

(On the fourth quarter tonight…)

“Our energy. There was a lot of adversity in those first three quarters. There was a lot of frustration from way I was seeing. I was in my own head too on a lot of the stuff that I missed down the stretch. There was coverage I missed when it came to the defensive side. It’s a long basketball game. It’s 48 minutes. You have to stay locked in. Sooner or later, if you do it the right way, you can take a step to the right path. That’s what we did tonight. We stayed together. We got over every obstacle that came our way.”

(On studying new defensive coverages…)

“For sure before the All-Star break, I think I’ll be good. There’s a lot of film I still need to watch to be fully locked in. It’s my second game here so I’m still trying to process everything and get it all locked in.”

(On playing with Mavericks guard Luka Dončić…)

“Set a pick for Luka [Dončić], or really, just get out the way in all honesty. Let him do his thing and be in the backend for a rebound or a lob. A couple passes tonight surprised me. There were some I could have caught – a lob I missed and the one I tipped to Josh [Green] in the corner. Other than that, I’m adjusting pretty well. I’m trying to be ready. They’ve told me there will be a lot of late passes that will come. They’ve told me there are a lot of crazy passes that will come. At the end of the day, I just have to have my antennas up.”

(On knowing Washington’s play calls…)

“Pretty much everything they ran was something we had put in place when I was there with [Brian] Keefe had come to coach. It was like I knew exactly what was coming. I was trying my best to talk guys through it. I’m not good at that yet, but I’ll get there.”

(On being in Dallas…)

“Even when I was a kid, I’d come up here from my hometown in Arkansas (El Dorado). I grew up only four hours away. We would come up for friends, family and AAU. I always liked coming to this city, or anywhere in Texas. I love the food too.”

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