The Locker-Room Talk From Mavs-Blazers

The Mavs did a lot of the right things ... and then said all the right things ... and we review Dallas-over-Portland in their words ... in 'Quoteboard'!

Well it's official, Mavs fans. Caron Butler's year is over. Starting now, Dallas has to find a way to make it to the postseason in one piece without him. The game wasn't pretty, but it looked like a step in the right direction. The Mavericks' self-imposed standard for defensive success is to hold an opponent to less than 43% shooting, and tonight's game versus the Portland Trailblazers marks the first time Dallas has accomplished that since Dirk went down. Throw in Jet's percentage-correcting hot streak and we get a win, 84-81. And courtesy of the New York Knicks, we've made up a full game's worth of difference between us and San Antonio in the conference standings.

Let's go and listen in. Quoteboard:

On losing Caron Butler . . .
"It's a blow. Those are some big shoes to fill." -Donnie Nelson

"I feel bad for Caron. He's as devastated as anybody, because he knows what we have going here and what we're capable of. He wants to win the championship as much as anybody. But you can't have the poor-me mind-set." -Brian Cardinal

"We just want to say our prayers go out to Caron. He had a successful surgery today, and this one was for him. He told us to go out and get it done." -Jason Terry

"It was sad, because to me, he's like my brother. I've been with him for like five years, so to see that happen was pretty bad. But I think the team needs to pick him up, and we have great spirit . . . We're just praying for him." -DeShawn Stevenson

Fighting back after Portland's hot start -- Coach Carlisle called an early timeout at 07:03 . . .

"I think we just kind of calmed down and got into the flow of things. We had a game plan, but coming out there was a little confusion. But once we got that settled, it was a good night for us." -Tyson Chandler

About defense, Maverick style . . .
"Defensively, we've been a top team in the league all year long and we can't let up now because we're missing two of our main pieces. We have to really, really concentrate on defense now. We shut them down in the half-court defense in the final quarter, so that was big." -Jason Terry

"This is how we got on our winning streaks before with our defense first . . . We've got to be quick to the ball and scrap after every loose ball and that has to be our identity." -Tyson Chandler

"It's going to start for us at the defensive end. That's the beginning of everything." -Coach Rick Carlisle

Regarding Jason Terry coming alive (again) in the fourth quarter . . .
"The fourth quarter is Jet's show. He's done it over and over. He's so clutch, so much fun to watch. He was huge for us and I was happy for him to get his rhythm back. When he makes shots like that, we're deadly. It was great to see him in the fourth quarter back to his usual self." -Tyson Chandler

About DeShawn Stevenson, who finished with 18 points including a crucial trio of free throws . . .
"All our guys love him and he stands for what we need to be about right now, and that is just hanging in, being tough, having the guts to step into big shots, and he was great. It wasn't just the one shot towards the end, there were one or two other plays during the game that just timing-wise were very big shots for us, and defensively, he is just going to give it to you every night." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"I came out, shot the three and got fouled. And taking the lead at halftime, little things like that, is big for us . . . Everybody is focused on Jet and J-Kidd and I'm hitting wide-open threes. I'm just taking them. If not, I'm passing the ball, and it's working right now." -DeShawn Stevenson

"Look at what DeShawn Stevenson did. He doesn't get nearly enough credit. This guy has been thrust into a role, he's accepted his role and he's come out and played well." -Jason Terry

Props to the bench, all of whom finished with a positive plus/minus . . .
"Brian Cardinal played a very effective game. When he was on the floor, good things were happening to us on the scoreboard. JJ Barea gave us a great lift, the three he hit in the right corner was a huge shot at the time. Hayward was a big presence and hit a couple of difficult shots up against the shot clock that kept us going through some rough patches. Dominique played his game. He was good defensively, he didn't really put up any offensive numbers, but in this type of game you need tough-minded, physical guys that are going to guard, get your rebounds, and be in position to help make plays to get other guys shots and he did those things." -Coach Rick Carlisle

More on Life Without Nowitzki -- and how he contributes even while rocking a vest . . .
"When he first went down, that first game at home, we lost and everybody was looking around like, 'What are we going to do without Dirk?' I think that big win in Cleveland let us know that we can play. Us winning like this is letting us know that we can hold it up until he gets back." -DeShawn Stevenson

"When he's been off the floor, those have been challenging times for us. Now we're in that situation and we know we're in it and we know we're going to be in it – we'll see where things are on Thursday – but this is where everybody else has to come together and find ways to make winning basketball plays." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"It really says something about him, the growth of Dirk and where he's come from as far as his leadership. Years ago people always questioned him. I know Avery questioned him a lot on being a leader, but now more than ever, you see it, you hear it, he's vocal. Before he did it with his play; now he's starting to be vocal. And now that he's out, he's been the most supportive guy over there. Not only of me, but everyone, and guys love that." -Jason Terry

The Essence of the Jet . . .
"I always think the next one is going in." -Jason Terry

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