Last bit of regular season action before the All-Star Break, and it's the Dallas Mavericks
at Phoenix. Been a circle-the-date matchup for years -- postseason
implications, endless fascination with Dirty'n'Nasty, just plain fun. Wasn't perfect, but it *was* fun. At the horn it was 112-106, Dallas.
Mission statement . . .
"Let's dust these dudes and head south." -Jason Terry
The UberMan is back -- 35 points on 13-18 shooting, plus four assists and a steal . . .
"Dirk is back. He's all the way back and it's great. It's really good timing, because now he has the All-Star break. He can recharge a little bit . . . But Dirk Nowitzki is back." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"I felt good. I had a good rhythm early and made a couple of shots early, which usually helps. Over the last couple of weeks I haven't really shot the ball well. I hit my first couple of shots and had a good rhythm out there and kept on attacking." -Dirk Nowitzki
"We can't let Dirk get off to such a hot start, and that's my fault. It's the first time I've gone up against him, and Coach gave me confidence. He just made some tough shots." -Channing Frye
On the game's flow -- Dallas had a 10 point lead but Phoenix tied it in the third . . .
"We came up with some big plays down the stretch. We knew this would be a tough game, going into the All-Star break on a back-to-back. But for us to step up and make the type of key plays that we did down the stretch, that's winning basketball." -Tyson Chandler
"We had to grind it out and they made a heckuva run there in the second half and kept making plays." -Dirk Nowitzki
"At the end of the day, they made the plays down the stretch and we didn't quite make them. We had shots that could have closed the gap and they didn't quite get in the basket." -Coach Alvin Gentry
"It was unconventional tonight, but our guys really wanted to win this game and we knew it was gonna be tough. So, I'm really proud of them. I thought both teams played aggressive and smart. We just made more plays in the end." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Regarding his gigantic block on Vince Carter late in the game . . .
"We got some big stops. But a block is a block. It's just a matter of timing." -Shawn Marion
About those big leads, and the way they have of going away . . .
"It's something we're addressing. We have to do better with it. On the one hand, leads are hard to get, so the fact we're getting them is a positive. But we've got to value a cushion if we can build it up. A lot of it is focus and concentration at both ends of the floor and I know we can do better." -Coach Rick Carlisle
On focus, and how the Mavericks are applying theirs after the break . . .
"We have to start practicing at playing playoff basketball now, which is something the coach has started preaching." -Mark Cuban
Regarding the situation in the West . . .
"When we come out of the break, everybody's going to be in playoff mode. The eighth position is being heavily competed for and the positions up top are extremely competitive. It's going to come down to the last day like it always does." -Coach Rick Carlisle
A quick note on the State of the Suns . . .
"We have guys that are not quitters . . . We will find a way to make a run and get in the playoffs." -Coach Alvin Gentry
On being the Suns and getting to .500 at the break and a movie reference…
"I think it's fine. That's like the minimum that we wanted. It's like we have the minimum amount of flare, for all the ‘Office Space' fans. For us,
it's good. We've gone up some places, but we still want to get in the playoffs. It's going to be a tough road ahead, but I have a lot of confidence in
my team." –Channing Frye
Tonight in 10 words . . .
"It's definitely a fun way to go into the break." -Dirk Nowitzki