The Locker-Room Gab From Mavs Over Knicks

The Mavs players answered a challenge by spanking the Knicks right out of the AAC, 127-109. That's it for the Eastern Conference ... or is it? Quoteboard:

Ahem . . . "soft," Coach?
"I thought we played a good game; I thought we really attacked. This is a team that goes up and down. You have to attack for great opportunities and consequently get into some high scoring games. Overall, I thought it was a really good effort, and it was a good win for us." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"I think we all understood what he meant. We understand that we've got to close out tough games. The last games that we've lost we've competed and the last three have been by one point. Those are all tough losses and when you have losses like that you're gonna have frustration." -Tyson Chandler

"That was an emotional response, but Coach spoke the way he felt at the same time. I guess sometimes those are not the best responses, or the responses everybody are looking for, full of emotion. But at the same time, it is what it is, if he felt that way he felt that way. We got to go out there and respond and I think at times we do play a little tentative. I wouldn't say soft, but tentative, and at the same time when we are aggressive at both ends of the floor it shows and other times it doesn't show." -Shawn Marion

"We weren't focused on that -- we were focused on the opponent. That is one of those things where Coach didn't like the outcome of the game last night and thought we could execute a little bit better, but nobody was worried about that tonight. We just wanted to come out here and get the W." -Brendan Haywood

About Shawn Marion -- 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, bruised ribs and all . . .

"I was ready to play. We are second in the division right now and everybody is just trying to do what we have to do to make this last push. I fought through it you know and at the same time we have to help each other and play to win." -Shawn Marion

"The key to the whole thing was Marion being available to play. After last night, after he was thrown out of bounds, and he had a rib injury that's been bothering him for weeks; we didn't know if he was going to be able to go . . . It was great news for us because this is a matchup nightmare with Carmelo -- he's a one of a kind scorer in the small forward position, he does it in so many different ways . . . you've got to have a similar type player to match up with him." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"He was phenomenal. He gutted it out and really took the challenge on one of the best perimeter scorers we got in this game and he played him well. On the other end he finished around the basket, just played with a lot of energy. It was really fun to watch." -Dirk Nowitzki

"That just shows you some of his toughness. He wasn't able to finish the game last night, but for him to be able to heal up as quick as he did and come out there and have the performance he did on both ends of the floor, it was tremendous. But, he's that type of player." -Jason Terry

About New York's slow start, even though Dallas was also wrapping up a four-in-five . . .
"I just don't think we had enough energy. We came out like we've played seven games in 10 nights, but that sometimes happens." -Coach Mike D'Antoni

"For the most part, if you think about it from that standpoint, it was tough, how many games we've played in the last couple nights, just the travelling, probably caught up with us, to be honest with you. Tonight was a tough game for us, all the way around." -Carmelo Anthony

"We started off shooting slow. But again, we can't really make any excuses. This is a team we pretty much look forward to. We owe them, they played well against us in the Garden, so it's kind of a game that we want to show up, but we couldn't quite get it done. You know, they shot the ball extremely well, so it was tough for us." -Amar'e Stoudemire

Regarding the overall game plan . . .
"They're good at scoring a lot of points, so we had to do what we had to do to score a lot of points as well." -Shawn Marion

"Well, we tried basically to just help everybody do their job (on defense). We had a little bit of a breakdown in the third quarter where we got confused in our pick and roll coverage. But, for the most part, we tried to take their three pointers out of the game and make them come towards the basket because we knew we had guys who could challenge their shots." -Brendan Haywood

Hat-tip to the New Guy -- Corey Brewer played 17 minutes, scored seven and grabbed four rebounds . . .

"I liked his energy. He has a nose for the ball, and he's a great runner. His activity makes you notice him out there, and he's been good for us." -Coach Rick Carlisle

An Ultimate Showdown, or Here Come The Lakers . . .

"They all count, especially the head-to-head ones because of the tie breakers. None of that stuff needs to be overstated. It's the defending champs coming in your building, so it's a big deal. To try and downplay it wouldn't be being honest." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"This week has been full of tough challenges, and it doesn't get any easier now. The Lakers just came off a loss in Miami, so you know they're gonna be ready to play. Yeah, it should be another fun test." -Dirk Nowitzki

Eeek! Dirk limped home after twisting an ankle late in the game . . .

"I'm all right." -Dirk Nowitzki

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