Quoteboard: With 'Dirk, They Have A Chance'
It'd be a stretch to say everything's back to normal with our Dallas Mavericks. Thanks to the crammed schedule, things may never feel 100-percsnt normal. Certain things, however, are coming shiny side up -- Lamar Odom continues to work out whatever had him in knots, the Center By Committee approach looks workable, the locker room vibe is good. Dallas dispatches Phoenix, 98-89, and don't look now but the Mavs have a winning streak. It's a little one, but it's a winning streak.
Cue the montages -- Dirk's 1000th NBA game ...
"It's a tremendous achievement. And maybe moreso with him because of the durability he's displayed over the years. He hasn't missed a lot of games. For a guy who's 7-1 and plays the style he does, there's no one else who has been that durable. Karl Malone was, but he was more of an inside and bruising-type guy. Dirk gets beat up inside and outside. He's had a remarkable career." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"It's definitely good to get to 1,000 games. That's a lot of games ... It's great and now we're looking for another 1,000." -Dirk Nowitzki
"Dirk keeps us going. He's the youngest old guy around." -Jason Kidd
"Hey, they've got Dirk. As long as they've got Dirk, they've got a chance." -Coach Alvin Gentry
About the Mavs Off the Bench, who outscored the other bench guys (again) ...
"Well the second unit's goal is to come in and impact the game on both ends of the floor, and it's not good enough to just go out and play. We want to dominate every time we step on the floor. When you've got guys like Lamar Odom, Vince Carter and myself, these are All-Star potential guys and anybody we face, we should have the upper hand." -Jason Terry
"Jason is going to do what he does every night -- and he's going to give them 15-20 points -- and that's who he is ... Obviously Lamar has been on championship teams and played off the bench, so we're well aware of what he can do. I thought Mahinmi did a great job of giving them energy and keeping balls alive like that, so their bench played really well. As a matter of fact, that's where the separation came -- with the second units. Their second unit did an outstanding job, and really that's where the lead came and it was hard for us to overcome." -Coach Alvin Gentry
About the momentum play of the game -- Carter to Terry for three ...
"It was an all-out effort play. He made two or three jumps to come up with the ball and then had the presence to know where the best shooter in the building is. And Jet just lined it up. It was a 3-point momentum play at the end of the quarter. It was a huge play." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Regarding Lamar Odom, who punched out a season-high 15 points ...
"He had good stats, but there are areas where he's got to continue to improve. I'm not going to get overly excited about 15 points and something that looks like a good game statistically. There's a lot of other things that he's got to get better at, and he is making progress in those areas. System things, knowing coverages, being alert, communication -- a lot of the little things ... More and more, he's doing better things and getting used to playing with our guys. He's making gradual strides at both ends. Look, we're not there yet. This is going to take a lot more time, but I like the progress." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"He's feeling comfortable out there with the offense. For him, he's having to learn three, maybe four positions and you just have to take baby steps. I think he's comfortable now within the offense and running the show, and that makes us a tough team to guard." -Vince Carter
"Starting to get my legs feeling a little better. My body's getting under me, supporting what I do. Basketball's a tough game to play when you say 'Jump' and you slide, and when you say 'Slide' you jump ... This is still ugly for me. I'm used to really playing at a high level. I could really help this team. There are so many plays, so many plays, basketball plays. I'll just keep working and working and working until I get to that level that I'm used to playing at." -Lamar Odom
On Vince Carter and his 7 point, 6 rebound, 5 assist effort ...
"One of the things I really like about Vince is he's making a lot of those kind of plays. He's into it. And he's been an energy player for us and that's something that a lot of people wouldn't have expected.'' -Coach Rick Carlisle
On being a work in progress ... "I think this team is more set up to peak down the stretch and not now. Everybody's got to work themselves back into shape, get the legs strong and play with each other more and I think we're going to be a good team down the stretch." -Dirk Nowitzki
"These are steps in the right direction. Things are starting to click on both ends of the floor." -Shawn Marion
A word on substitutions and lineups ...
"We're always looking at the rotation, trying to get the right guys in there together -- shooters and drivers, all that kind of stuff. Every night the formula is going to be a little different as far as the rotation. Tonight, West got early fouls and I put Roddy in the game and gave him a chance to get involved. He hit a couple of good things, and there's room for growth there, but the bottom line is we need everybody." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"We found that the other day, to be a lineup that could work. When I subbed in for Kidd a couple times we went with a bigger lineup -- even with Vince at the 2 and Lamar at the 3, that's a pretty big lineup. It's something that can work in the future; we just have to keep working and keep on playing together. It's an unselfish lineup. I think everybody can pass it and can score. It's looked decent the last couple of games, but it's definitely something we've got to build on." -Dirk Nowitzki
Oh hey -- did you know that All-Star voting has opened? On Dirk as a starter ...
"He's got a shot. When you become the MVP of the Finals and your team wins, globally, there's a greater awareness. But the greatest thing about Dirk is he doesn't care about that." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"He deserves it. It's probably the only thing really he hasn't accomplished, which is crazy when you think about it." -Mark Cuban
Time to go visit San Antonio ...
"It's Big Brother versus Little Brother scenario, but now we have one ring to go up against their four. So it's going to be a fun ball game, and we always like going into another team's home and doing some damage." -Jason Terry
"Every time we play them without someone [Ginobli out with a broken hand], we get cooked. We've got to bring our A-game." -Jason Kidd
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