Game 2: Another Win, Mavs-Blazers Quoteboard
Look at the previews of Game 2; there's a wide selection of reasons the Dallas Mavericks could've lost. Portland adjusts better, Dallas's players regress to the mean, Portland's youth trumps Dallas's experience, the visitors get more of those benefit-of-the-doubt fouls ... Immaterial now, as Dallas strangled Portland's offense in the second half, got to the line often and fairly, got frugal with the ball, made their big shots, and took it 101-89.
That's how we prefer ref Danny Crawford . . .
"I didn't even know he was out there." -Jason Terry
Thoughts on the Dallas/Portland matchup so far . . .
"We had to play two tough-minded games to beat this team twice and both games were extremely difficult. We had to battle back from six down with five minutes to go the other night and tonight it was back and forth all night." -Coach Rick Carlisle
So nice he's a good guy now -- Peja Stojakovic and his 21 points . . .
"His shot-making was great and very timely, but his defense was better. He just was really solid. He didn't let anybody drive by him all night, which was huge, and he just played a terrific all-around game." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"I really try to approach the game like every other by being aggressive, and playing with Dirk, J-Kidd and Jet on the floor they draw so much attention on the floor that we can move the ball around and get good opportunities . . . This is an intelligent group and they did a lot of switching on the pick-and-rolls. Dirk was always getting a mismatch, so they doubled on him and I was able to get open and was able to make those shots." -Peja Stojakovic
On the fourth quarter . . .
"They're making plays. We've started off with turnovers. I thought we started off that quarter, we had some matchups, and I thought hurried a couple of those matchups and turned the ball over. We got a little too anxious at the start of the quarter and had some turnovers which led to transition with those guys making a couple of shots. Defensively down the stretch, the ball is going to be in Dirk's hands and he made plays." -Coach Nate McMillan
"We couldn't execute down the stretch, and we've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We're getting unforced turnovers at crucial points of the game which is giving them momentum." -Gerald Wallace
"In the timeout with five minutes left to go in the 4th quarter we were up eight and we were on our toes ready for them to make a push but we maintained our confidence and our defensive assignments and we were able to impose our will on the offensive end. We weren't just settling for jump shots but getting the basket and knocking down free throws." -Jason Terry
"Every time we had a chance, we'd turn the ball over or make a big mistake and they ended up closing out the game." -LaMarcus Aldridge
Regarding Dirk and his game-high 33 points . . .
"It's tough when you don't know how to guard him. He has an arsenal of tactics down there as far as getting to the basket and getting his shot off. But, I think we did a great job on him tonight. Once again, our main thing is trying to keep him off the free throw line. It's tough when he's making shots and he's getting to the free throw line. Either or, but you can't give up both of them." -Gerald Wallace
"No matter what happens in the first half, you know that they are going to go to him and they are going to play through him. With single coverage what you want to try and do is deny the catch. And with single coverage he's a tough guy to guard. With them hitting their threes, tonight it made it tough to mix up the defense. He's capable of shooting over the top, getting to the free throw line and making you pay with the pass. I thought he hurt us in a couple double teams in the first half with finding Stojakovic on the weak side." -Coach Nate McMillan
"Look, he's a great player, and he's been aggressive, and we're obviously looking for him. When he gets the ball, he's going to make something happen. He's either going to be aggressive to score, or if he gets double-teamed he will make the pass out. Balance is so important to our team, we had a really good balance before we really started going to him exclusively and I think that helped us." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Once again, age schmage -- Jason Kidd and his 18 points and 8 assists . . .
"I don't know how many shots he hit exactly coming out of halftime, but he hit the first three or four . . . Kidd was really important to us at the beginning of the third quarter. We're down 2 points, and it just was a very difficult game in the first half and the beginnings of the third quarter have been really tough for us." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"A little rest and an understanding of an opportunity. I think he wants to seize the moment-- we have a special opportunity this year, and we don't want to leave anything out there . . . When he's scoring like that, it boosts everybody." -Tyson Chandler
About bench production -- the Mavs Off The Bench outscored Portland's second string 39-11 . . .
"We're never sure which two to three guys may or may not get hot, but we need contributions from a lot of different guys on a nightly basis to be successful, and that's what we got tonight." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"We've been doing that second-scorer-by committee all year. Our bigs did a good job of battling Aldridge all game, and we've got to do more of the same on Thursday." -Dirk Nowitzki
"Our bench hasn't been able to score. Tonight we wanted to get Patty in to get another ball handler in there. They had been pressuring Brandon and Rudy bringing the ball up the floor. We tried to get Patty in to get us a flow. Our first unit was playing well so I ended up going back to those guys subbing pretty quickly to get them in tonight." -Coach Nate McMillan
Count 'em, six Dallas turnovers for the game . . .
"I think we've shown we can toss the ball out of bounds with the best of them. The big thing is we appreciate the ball this time of year. We've talked about it and we won't harp on it. When you start to harp on it you take away that freedom and creativity. So guys have been really good about it." -Jason Kidd
Dealing with shoulda-been All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge . . .
"Oh he's tough. He's really improved himself. He has a lot of go-to moves now. Early in his career he was more just a pick'n'pop guy. Now he has some low-post skills. It's a tough matchup and it's my job to slow him down." -Tyson Chandler
On the UberManliness of Dirk Nowitzki . . .
"I think he's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around, no question. I played several years with Bird, McHale, Parrish, Dennis Johnson, those guys-- he's right up there with those guys." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"He's an unbelievable player. He puts in so much work on the off days and how much he's committed to this team, to the organization and he's doing a great job for us and in every way he's a leader on this team and hopefully he'll continue to carry us." -Peja Stojakovic
"M-V-P!!! M-V-P!!! M-V-P!!!" -the American Airlines Center
Time to hit the road -- the best road record in the conference versus a team who've won 30 at home . . .
"Now, we got a job ahead of us. We gotta go down there and challenge them in Game 3 . . . They're a different team in their home place, they play with a different edge and energy. I think they get behind their fans. It's gonna be an intense time there, but what we have to do is take the first punch -- we know they're gonna throw it -- and from there we gotta keep our poise and grab the advantage." -Tyson Chandler
"We know that they are a very good home team so we wanted to hold home court here and go up there with a 2-0 lead. But this series is far from over. They play well at home, they make shots, and they play tough D so we've got to be prepared for a tough game on Thursday." -Dirk Nowitzki
Yeah, we've got a chance to go back and regroup and we've got two games on our home court. We've just got to take advantage like they did down here. We've got to win the two on our home court and get this thing back to an even ballgame." -Gerald Wallace
"I think we'll go home and have our crowd behind us. Hopefully that will bring us more energy and we'll play better." -LaMarcus Aldridge