Guess Which Team Has 'Trust Issues'?
Surely not, everyone thought. The Two-Time Defending Champions wouldn't let themselves lose a second game at home. Those same champions slunk off the floor 48 minutes later, the humiliated owners of a 0-2 series deficit courtesy of our Dallas Mavericks. Dallas prevented LA from getting much of an offensive rhythm going, and LA finished hanging themselves by going 2-of-20 on threes and 11-20 from the stripe. No come-from-behind miracle, this -- final score 93-81, Mavericks.
Let's be frank . . .
"If you would have told me before that we were going to win both games, it would have been hard to believe." -Dirk Nowitzki
Panic time? Nah . . .
"We're not really that concerned. Offensively, I think we're okay . . . we're concerned about our defensive end. We believe defense wins and our defense wasn't out there tonight." -Coach Phil Jackson
"Desperate? That's a strong word. I think when you play desperate, you don't play your best basketball. What we need to do is relax, focus on what we're doing wrong and the mistakes that we're making, and we have plenty to review and lock in on that." -Kobe Bryant
Defense as first cause -- Los Angeles shot 43% in Game 1 and 41% in Game 2 . . .
"We play defense now. We're able to key on certain guys and help when we need to. They are a talented team, they're the defending champions and they're going to hit some shots. You've got to stay out there and make them keep taking contested jumpers. When they're hitting them, more power to them. When they're missing those shots, they get heavier as the game goes on." -Shawn Marion
"We kept our composure, our patience and playing defense is going to win games at this time of the year. Right now, that's been our focal point. There for a stretch it was 68-62 and we couldn't make a shot. But, defensively, we held serve in the sense of they couldn't score. Once we got off 68, we started to score and continued to play defense. The only thing that may be different throughout the season is that we're playing defense." -Jason Kidd
"One of the most explosive teams, we gave up 33 points in the second half. That's obviously the key. I don't think we were particularly on fire, we shot only 42 percent . . . We just couldn't make a lot of shots. But defensively, we battled and tried to make it tough on Kobe and tried to keep a tight paint." -Dirk Nowitzki
The secret of success on the road . . .
"We're a great road team because we're resilient. We're a family -- everybody roots for each other. And we have a lot of different guys that can hit big shots. So on the road usually when we're down, we never feel that we're out of it." -Brendan Haywood
The UberManliness of Dirk Nowitzki, continued . . .
"Dirk's one of the hardest guys to guard in the history of basketball. It's not just tonight, it's every night. He's a game-changer-- he's our horse." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"Playing with Dirk has been great. He opens the floor for everybody, he hits big shots, he takes on that leadership role, he assumes responsibility. I think he's a great player, he's been an MVP in this league and he's a sure-fire Hall of Famer. The proof is in his work." -Brendan Haywood
"Dirk is probably one of the best scorers to ever play the game. A seven-footer with his jump shot, the things he does with the ball is amazing . . . And Dirk is a great guy, too." -Corey Brewer
Regarding the Mavs Off The Bench, who have outscored the Laker reserves 70-37 so far this series . . .
"We don't have a pecking order of scorers. For us, we may need to have six or seven guys with five or more points to be on target with where we need to be . . . We're a deep team; we're twelve deep. There should never be a reason why our guys aren't up, making it tough on the guys on the other team. That's the kind of persistance we need to be successful." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"DeShawn Stevenson started it off. Again, it's been a theme throughout the playoffs, throughout the regular season. Somebody is gonna step up for us. We don't know who it is, and someone is gonna be the unsung hero. Tonight it was DeShawn and J.J. Barea, what he did at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter, and our bigs. So, it was a collective effort. We're a team and that's evident." -Jason Terry
On overcoming Los Angeles's great tallness . . .
"For us, we have a lot of size. Most teams come in don't have the size that we have -- Tyson is 7-feet, Dirk is 7-feet, I'm 7-feet. We have a lot of size we can throw at them and we can challenge shots at the rim." -Brendan Haywood
Mr. Universe is at it again -- JJ Barea and his awesome fourth quarter . . .
"I came out with a lot of energy that I knew we needed, and we were up. We did a great job defensively all game. I think a little spark by me worked out in the win." -Jose Juan Barea
"He made the game." -Tyson Chandler
Why that dirty no-good-- with 24 seconds Ron Artest clawed JJ in the face . . .
"I think Lamar hit me and then Artest grabbed my face . . . I think the league will take a look at it and we'll see what happens. It's not a basketball play. We'll see what happens." -Jose Juan Barea
"It's uncalled for. It's a good chance he'll be suspended, but I hope not." -Coach Phil Jackson
A thought on pressure . . .
"When I was in college, it was win or go home. If you didn't win, your season was over, so that was a lot of pressure there. But now it's just like that -- win or go home -- but in a seven-game series. It's pressure. You're supposed to be nervous." -Corey Brewer
And now hear this -- is there a team fracture in Lakerland?
"It's deeply rooted at this point. It's obvious that we have trust issues, individually. All 13 of our guys have trust issues right now. I think it's quite obvious to anyone watching the game -- hesitation on passes, and defensively we're not being a good teammate because he wasn't there for you before -- little things. And unless we come out and discuss them, nothing is going to change." -Andrew Bynum
"The 'trust' he's referring to is being able to help each other. On the defensive end of the floor, you saw a lot of layups. He gets frustrated when he supports a guard coming off the screen-and-roll and nobody supports him -- the big rolling to the basket. It's quite simple." -Kobe Bryant
Looking ahead -- Game Three at the AAC on Friday night . . .
"We're gonna need every gun blazing and throw the kitchen sink at these guys when they come into our place, because this is a great team, a championship team, and to knock them off you've gotta concentrate and focus every single second." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"The challenge is to be consistent in our attack. Defensively, continue to play the way we play. Offensively, continue to be aggressive and stay with the flow." -Jason Terry
Keeping the ultimate goal firmly in mind -- winning the series and advancing . . .
"It's one of sixteen that we need, and right now we need ten more wins to get to our goal." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"When you're playing against this Lakers team you can never relax. 2-0, that's good. But we will never relax until we see we have Game 4 wrapped up." -Brendan Haywood
. . . and remembering that the Lakers are doing the same . . .
"No, it's hard but you couldn't possibly expect this to be easy. If you want to make history you have to do historic things." -Kobe Bryant
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