QUOTEBOARD: Talk From Mavs Locker Room
The NBA is back! So long sleep, it's been nice to know ya.
Sunday, our first game action since That Day, and our World Champion Dallas Mavericks -- roll that through your mind a second -- took the floor and . . . well, did about as well as one would expect when KIDDIRK takes the night off and the team's breaking in major rotation players. OKC takes it, 106-92 and the Dallas improvements better come fast.
Meantime, let's go and spend some time with the fellas. Quoteboard:
A few words on the Offseason From Hell . . .
"Think about it. We're less than two weeks away from playing, and people are saying, 'Who's on my team?'" -Jeff Van Gundy
Never mind the Red-River Rivalry; on why OKC's a good team to tussle with in preseason . . .
"They're going to tax you transition-wise, they're going to tax you with their ability to disrupt, they turn live-ball turnovers into baskets faster than anybody in basketball, and their transition game is probably the fastest of anybody in the league . . . We're going to have to be thinking right, we're going to have to be decisive, efficient , and all those things. It's a great test.'' -Coach Rick Carlisle
Welcome to the Metroplex, Mister Odom . . .
"He's going to have one of the tougher jobs on the team because he's going to have to know our perimeter spots, the big positions, and he's also going to have to know the point guard spot, because he has the ability to handle the ball. This is more responsibility than I've ever had to put on a player's shoulders, but he's very capable of doing it." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"At the end of the day it's basketball," Odom said. "And these guys do a great job of moving the ball and just playing off each other. Hopefully I can find my niche pretty quick." -Lamar Odom
About that cheap-shot in Game Four; no hard feelings, right?
"We joked about it in the locker room the other day,'' Odom said. "I told [Dirk] the other day, I said, ‘Forgive me.' I think he has forgiven me and hopefully I can make up for it." -Lamar Odom
And oh yeah, that TV Fun with Mrs. Odom's E! show . . .
"While we're here we're going to have fun like we always do. Sometimes people think given the circumstances that our lifestyle is bizarre, but people forget that in any family you have your differences. But, like every other family you have normalcy, you know what I mean? So, I'm looking forward to Christmas Day and eating and just enjoying my family." -Lamar Odom
Another new face to learn, point guard and potential hand grenade Delonte West . . .
"Delonte brings a lot to the table because he's been in this league. He's a defender. He can play point, 2, knock down shots . . . So we all trust him and understand he plays well with the ball or without the ball." -Jason Kidd
"Coach Carlisle and his style of play with the ballhandlers that we have, my ability to play off the ball, you just go out there and be a basketball player. And that's actually what I am." -Delonte West
New Guy No. 3 -- Vince Carter . . .
"The way [the Mavs] play basketball, the way I play, my mentality, what I'm looking to accomplish. You want to go to a team where everybody can jell together, particularly at the beginning. "And I feel like the way they play really fits me." -Vince Carter
Life Without KIDDIRK, and why it's necessary . . .
"[With them] being out, we're not going to be the same team, but that's all right. We need to see other guys. Our philosophy is that when we're without any of our guys, the guys that are available need to get the job done. We weren't able to do it tonight." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Some thoughts on the kids -- Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones, with 17 points apiece . . .
"I think [Dominique] can do a lotta great things. The one thing that suprised me about him; he can see the floor so well when we ran pick-and-roll, he can pass the basketball. The biggest thing for him is learn how to shoot jumpshots, knock down jumpshots . . . Also he's gotta make sure he's able to play defense. Guys are gonna attack him on the defensive end . . . He did a good job and I was happy that he made some progress tonight." -Darrel Armstrong
"I'm just trying to get my foot stronger, my left leg stronger. I just need to keep pushing myself every day, and I'll be ready pretty soon." -Rodrigue Beaubois
Analyzing the game -- the good . . .
"Group in the fourth quarter was a bright spot, because they really did some solid things defensively . . . Roddy and Dominique did a good job penetrating and making things happen, and Randle is a kid who brings a lot of energy to the game too. So that group was a positive. Cardinal was terrific, really at both ends but particularly defensively. Ian is an energetic player as well. So that was a positive part of the game for us." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"I thought our second unit and third unit really played hard, played with a lotta energy. It's gonna take some time. These guys are still getting to know each other." -Darrell Armstrong
. . . and the not-so-much . . .
"Our defense is gonna have to be better-- obviously. With a team with their kind of athleticism, you've gotta be really precise, and we're gonna have to be better in a lot of areas." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"Need more conditioning." -Darrell Armstrong
A team of vets; still hungry, still needy . . .
"You don't get a guy like Vince Carter coming here because he just wants to collect stats. He wants to win a championship. Lamar wants to win a championship again. Our guys want to win another championship. Everybody is here with a purpose in mind and that's to win. That's what really separates this team from others." -Mark Cuban
Fact of life . . .
"I thought LeBron said it best, it's like the Miami Heat lost the championship. It wasn't that the Dallas Mavericks beat them. I think we're still under the radar even though we did win." -Jason Kidd