Mavs Quoteboard From Loss To LA

Last game before the All-Star Break; it's the Mavericks in the ring with the Lakers. Tied at halftime, tied after three. It became a question of who would crack first. ... We discuss the loss with the guys themselves as we crack open Mavs Quoteboard:

Last game before the All-Star Break; it's the Dallas Mavericks in the ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. Tied at halftime, tied after three. It became a question of who would crack first. Then Haywood got in the way of a pass and turned the ball over -- crack. Terry passed the ball and nobody was home -- crack. Dirk went to the line for two and missed them both -- crack. Matt Barnes got an offensive rebound off a missed free-throw, got fouled, and made both -- crack. One would think in a game where Bryant goes 4-15 and turns it over 7 times the Lakers would get handed their butts. Instead, the great hugeness of large of Bynum and Gasol overwhelms the opposition.

Lakers get the win, 96-91, and the good guys get almost a week to chew it over.


The modern Mavericks -- mighty on defense while the offense wavers ...

"I think we have enough weapons offensively, but I think defense is going to carry us. It's gonna be a work in progress. There's gonna be some nights when we don't shoot the ball that well. It just happens this way, especially with so many games. You're just not gonna have your legs some nights. Those are the nights when defense gotta carry us." - Dirk Nowitzki

"I'm not going to make offense the priority over defense; that's not going to happen. By getting stops you create the really good, random opportunities. That's how you win playoff games. We're playing playoff style. The team that has the best defense and flow game wins the championship. That's the history of this league in the last 10 years. That's how we did it last year, and that's how we're going to have to do it this year." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"We've got talented enough offensive players that we will figure it out. We'll find a way to get it done." - Jason Terry

"I think it's going to come. We show flashes of it." -Vince Carter

Much as it might seem that way, the Lakers are more than Kobe Bryant and his supposed sexiness (hwarf) -- regarding Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol's 43 and 23 night ...

"Obviously, Bryant gets a lot of attention. We doubled him off every screen-and-roll and those two big guys are beasts down there. They had a couple lobs at the beginning of the game and some big offensive rebounds late in the game. They made us pay inside there in the second half." -Dirk Nowitzki

"Against this team in particular, our big guys have to perform well because Dallas isn't going to let me get off in terms of scoring. They're going to do whatever they can to have other guys take that responsibility. We talked about it before the game. They have to perform, they have to perform well. And they did." -Kobe Bryant

"They're tough and they have a lot of length. They do a great job of utilizing it, playing together and taking advantage of it in key situations." -Vince Carter

"I take my hat off to Pau for the way he competed at both ends of the floor." -Coach Mike Brown

On the dirty business of defense ... "Marion does a great job and the other four guys on the floor do a great job of providing help for him. It's difficult to get to my sweet spots against the defensive pressure." -Kobe Bryant

"The Mavericks do a great job of team defense and Shawn Marion has done a terrific job of trying to stay in front and use his length." -Coach Mike Brown

"It's tough, it's very tough. This was always one of the things Kevin McHale always used to joke about and complain about is that Larry Bird would be on one end hitting shots on a guy and talking trash to him and then McHale would have to guard that guy on the other end. And when you shoulder the kind of defensive responsibilities that we're asking Shawn to shoulder, it's going to take a toll on your offense, and every night somebody's got one of those perimeter players, it doesn't matter who it is." -Coach Rick Carlisle

Unfortunately for Shawn ...

"The way it's been going, he's going to be on that guy. I'd like to give him a break sometimes, but on a night like tonight when we're down and we've got no Odom, we've got no Beaubois, we've got no West ... getting ourselves whole is a lot of what this is going to be about." -Coach Rick Carlisle

Midterm grade for Coach ...

"He's had a tough challenge this year, but he's done a good job. This could've been really hard because of the lockout and all the talk about the throwaway season and planning for next year, but Rick never wavered in his approach. All he's ever talked about is defense and winning, and that's what we're doing." -Jason Terry

In short ...

"This was a nail biter tonight. I think we had our chances to gain a lead and keep it, but we had a few mishaps there in the fourth. They still gave us a chance there, but we weren't able to pull it out. For the most part, we felt like with the situations and opportunities we gave ourselves a chance." -Shawn Marion

"We had our chances and just couldn't use them. It's disappointing, especially to lose this one at home before the break. And you have to sit on it for a week. We didn't execute well down the stretch today and they even gave us a chance. How many times are they gonna miss six or seven free throws in a row? We had some costly turnovers there and I wasn't very good down the stretch. We just didn't execute well as a team." -Dirk Nowitzki

"I'm disappointed tonight, I'm not dismayed. Our effort was there, we just didn't make enough plays at both ends. Sometimes that happens." -Coach Rick Carlisle

We're taking aesthetic opinions from a guy who wears purple smoked shades ...

"He knows it's true. His shot's ugly. It is. It looks terrible. Anybody in Dallas that says Dirk has a pretty fadeaway is lying through their teeth. It just looks disgusting. But it's extremely effective. But it's always been ugly." -Kobe Bryant

On the bonebreaking, king-hell of a schedule coming after the All-Star Break -- 19 games between next Tuesday and March 30, including the dreaded three-back ...

"The break's coming at a good time. Our health is an issue, we've got to get that right. I told the guys to enjoy the break and come back ready because we've got a very busy schedule coming back." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"We've gotta make a run after the break. It's a beast of a schedule. I think we have nine games in 12 days. It's gonna be tough and we're gonna need every available body to play well, give us some energy and ultimately make a push towards the playoffs." -Dirk Nowitzki

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