Mavs-Thunder Quoteboard In Game 2 Loss
Among the issues: Quite simply, OKC executed the way a playoff team ought to, and Dallas did not. The net effect is that Dallas's postseason win streak stops at seven, the WCF ties up at 1-1, and the good guys lost homecourt advantage in a series where it might matter very much. Final, 106-100.
So how did they handle Dirk this time around?
"They tried to keep the ball out of my hands a little more. I thought Collison actually was trying to front me a little bit and that's why in the fourth quarter I actually got a lot of my catches at the high post because it's impossible to front there." -Dirk Nowitzki
"I think we did a better job of making his catches a little tougher. We didn't use our hands as much. We wanted to challenge his shots and hope he missed them." -Nick Collison
Fourth-quarter miscue -- with 1:30 left, Kidd turnover on a bad pass intended for Jason Terry. . . "I thought he was going to stand still." -Jason Kidd
"I'm breaking this way and the ball went that way. So, it happens. It's not one play that cost us the game tonight. It was our all-around aggression to maintain that for 48 minutes." -Jason Terry
Oh yeah, that miss -- fouled on a three-point shot, Dirk missed the second free-throw . . .
"I think we were all surprised. I mean it was there, it just came right back out. Again, at that point, everything has to go perfect. That cuts the lead to three and we have to get another stop." -Jason Kidd
"He had to miss at some point. He was rolling. It's all right. It happens." -JJ Barea
Sigh, bench play -- OKC won that, 50-29 . . .
"Everybody chipped in. Our bench has been great all year, and I thought they were very good tonight. I think the 50 points they gave us was the game." -Coach Scott Brooks
"I can't remember the last time we lost the battle of the bench. It was going to happen at some point and it happened tonight and I give them a lot of credit. They were more aggressive and they made more big shots. Their bench just played better." -JJ Barea
"It seemed like we had some good things happening in the fourth, but it seemed like we could never really get things going on both ends of the floor. Their bench really stepped up tonight and did a good job. Harden got really hot, and we did a pretty good job of containing everyone else, but their bench stepped up real big tonight." -Shawn Marion
"They came out to play, and I thought their bench really changed the game today. They attacked us there in the second quarter and Durant was even on the bench, and they made a run and took the lead in the second quarter." -Dirk Nowitzki
"They surprised us because their shots were going in. But other than that, they made some tough ones. Give them credit." -Jason Terry
"Our defense, our energy . . . when the first unit came out and the second unit went in, we kept it up and that was the difference." -James Harden
Special props to James Harden, who punched out 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and two steals . . .
"We have a lot of confidence in James. I personally do, our team does, our staff does. He made plays. He made big basketball plays, and James is not just a spot-up shooter. He is a penetrator. He is a playmaker, and I thought he did it all tonight." -Coach Scott Brooks
"Harden made 23 points on nine shots. That's a killer." -Dirk Nowitzki
For that matter, where were the Thunder starters in the fourth quarter?
"Russell is an incredible player, he's our starting point guard, but we weren't getting a lot of things done. And his time was to come out, and I stayed with Eric." -Coach Scott Brooks
"I'm good. I'm just sitting there waiting to get my name called." -Russell Westbrook
"You can't mess that chemistry up. Coach made a good decision." -Kevin Durant
"If you would have told me they leave Westbrook out in the whole fourth quarter and we don't get stops to win, that would have been tough." -Dirk Nowitzki
Enough on the Rest versus Rust . . . "I'm not going to make any excuse about a layoff. That was light years ago now by NBA standards." -Coach Rick Carlisle
On why this series is different, and demands better of the Mavs . . .
"Portland and LA are bigger teams and now we're facing a different animal. We're facing athletes on the wing and we're having a tough time getting some stops. We've got to take the challenge and be better defensively. We'll see what happens Saturday." -Dirk Nowitzki
"In the Lakers series we played with an edge. When you're afraid of team of a team or you feel they can beat you, you play with an edge. I felt like we came out here and took these boys lightly. There is a reason why they are in the Western Conference finals and not a team to get taken lightly." -Tyson Chandler
In short . . .
"I mean, hey, sometimes you get your butt kicked. You've got to take it like a man and hey, we've got to respond. They were more aggressive defensively and they attacked harder offensively. They took it personal and they responded well and now we're going to have to respond." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"They outplayed us in every part of the game. They had more energy, their bench played better, they made more shots and they made some tough shots down the stretch, so give all the credit to them." -JJ Barea
"We can't give a young team hope. We did that. Now we got to get the next game and turn things around. But this is one game we didn't have to lose. I know guys are going to look at this tape and be upset." -Tyson Chandler
Some perspective -- it's a best-of-seven for a reason, after all . . .
"A seven-game series is long. A lot of things go on. A lot of emotions going on. When you win, you feel jubilant. When you lose, it's really tough . . . Our guys have a belief in each other. This is tough. This is disappointing. We've got to circle the wagons and adjust where we need to adjust.'' -Coach Rick Carlisle
Time to hit the road . . .
"We've just got to take it one game at a time. They won tonight and we've got to go there on Saturday and try to get the win. We've got to come out with better energy." -JJ Barea
"We've got to go up there in a tough environment and a very loud building and execute and play Mavs basketball and get back to getting some stops like we did in the first two series, and I like our chances." -Dirk Nowitzki
"It should be fun back at our place." -Kevin Durant