Thursday Mavs Donuts: Lovin' The Boys In Blue
DONUT 1: The Boys In Blue ...
Listen close; you can almost hear time running out. The Dallas Mavericks are home after a disastrous roadie, clinging to a playoff spot by the fingertips. They faced off against a hard-playing and desperate Houston team looking to snatch a spot of their own. The good guys went to the fourth trailing; a situation in which Dallas has not done well this year. Watching Houston and Dallas trade blows, one of the TV crew mentioned how they had this feeling Dirk was going to have to bring it home. 39 fourth quarter points later (21 of them from Nowitzki) and the Mavs get the win, 117-110. With a win on Friday (or a Rockets loss to New Orleans tonight), the champs get the right to defend their title.
Just making the playoffs for the 12th straight year isn't enough for you? You're spoiled.
DONUT 2: OK, we're corny. We're suckers. But we're awfully fond of our Boys in Blue, and here are some reasons why ...
"First of all, we're seeing some really special players here. There's never going to be another Jason Kidd. The things that he does, and the things that he's doing at this age, are remarkable. Just how he affects winning in so many ways; giving guys confidence, the uncanny ability to make the key play -- taking the charge was the biggest play of the game. His shot making in the first half was critical to us because we were in a funk offensively and defensively, and he kept us in it. It's special. This game had his stamp on it in a lot of ways.
"Dirk and Jet are the same kind of guys, and I put Marion in that category, too. Tonight, we had some guys really step up. Carter played his most important game of the season for us; real aggressive, good things at both ends. Our three centers all participated and were key to the effort." -Coach Rick Carlisle
DONUT 3: DB.com's complete coverage of the game and more ...
First Impressions - our quick takes from the Mavs-Rockets game.
Fans do the barroom brawl thing on DB.com Boards.
The Advanced-Stats-Based Case for Trix as a Defensive Player of the Year finalist.
Your All-Access Pass: Exclusive stats, analysis, quotes and video with the players in the locker room!
Your voting for the Player of the Game -- The Dirkie!
Why The Mavs Need Brandan Wright - a 'Coach Em Up' film study.
DONUT 4: Why we're at it with B-Wright ...
Want more locker-room gold? From Wednesday night alone, DB.com has Your All-Access Pass to visits with Dirk, Delonte, B-Wright and 'Trix -- and your 7-day trial pass is FREE!
DONUT 5: About Dirk Nowitzki's 35-point (31 in the second half, 21 in the fourth quarter alone, and by the way no turnovers) efforts ...
"Yeah that was fun out there. I really didn't get involved much there in the first half. I was a step slow and the guys kept us in the game. I thought Jet was phenomenal in the first half and we were able to hang around and JKidd got hot there and made 3 threes to end the second quarter. In the second half I got some good looks in transition and with the pick-n-roll I was able to get in the lane and we were spotting up our shooters and there was a lot of wide open looks." - Dirk Nowitzki
"Hey he was phenomenal. He's playing with a lot of confidence and I think for our team when he has a lot of guys occupying our positions and letting him go one-one-one. He's second to none and one of the toughest to guard one-on-one. He's impossible to guard because he can pump fake you and get to the free throw line or pump fake you and pull up and shot or just shoot right over you." -Vince Carter
"He hit some tough shots. He had some good looks early, but they weren't going in. But as soon as they started going in, he was able to get to the free throw line and it just opened up everything.'' -Shawn Marion
"Once he hit those two threes back-to-back, we felt he got his rhythm back. He just kept being aggressive." -Jason Terry
"Dirk put the team on his back. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Dirk was a prime example of that." -Delonte West
DONUT 6: From the guys on the receiving end of that fourth quarter ...
"They made shots, and they got us spread out a little bit. And when we did get them contained they kept pressing the issues. And Dirk got a lot of fouls, Dirk really got to the line a lot in the fourth quarter. They just got separation ... They made some shots, and they pressed us off the dribble, and they executed better than we did down the fourth. And we just couldn't get any stops, and when we did we got fouls and couldn't get out and couldn't get stops and get out and run." -Coach Kevin McHale
"I think we didn't control the dribble-drive as good as we could have. They had guys step up and hit big shots. Jason Terry hit big shots. Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, they all stepped up and hit big shots. At times we had to over-help on the drive ... We shot 50 percent from the field tonight and lost the game. That should never happen." -Chandler Parsons
DONUT 7: Critical play (one of them anyway) -- Kyle Lowry, offensive foul for pancaking Jason Kidd ...
"The game-winning play to me was when he stepped in there and took the charge, that was an unbelievable play. He's a warrior and he leaves it there every night when he's out there, and I think he moves better than obviously at the beginning of the season. He's got a little pep in his step. He's still the head of the snake." -Dirk Nowitzki
"It would have felt better if Dirk took one right after." -Jason Kidd
"(Kidd) came in late in the third and he just got the ball to the right guys at the right time. And he hit big shot after big shot all game, and that's what it's about. And our scorers -- Vince and Dirk and Jet -- they put this team on their back." -Delonte West
DONUT 8: Vinsanity is here and we quite like it -- regarding Carter and his 23 points and oh my goodness-gracious-did-you-see-that dunk ...
"Vince played his most important game of the season. He just had a really strong disposition at both ends of the floor. He was attacking on offense. Defensively, he was putting his body on people and he was rebounding. He's a tremendous all-around player. His passing ability is something that's frequently overlooked because he's a high flyer and scorer. We've needed him the last couple of games for spacing, and we need his all-around ability." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"I just want to be aggressive and make the most of my minutes on the floor and let it all hang out. More than anything, it's that time of the year. We're trying to fight for a spot, and it's time to gear yourself to play at the level it takes to compete in the playoffs." -Vince Carter
DONUT 9: Aftermath of West's wet willie, officially a 'physical taunt' and a $25,000 fine for Delonte ...
"I didn't think it was going to be that steep. That's a whole month's check for me. I probably ain't going to have no cable probably in a couple of days ... I think [Hayward] thought about that fine, too -- the last people that fought in the league they lost over a couple hundred thousand dollars. That's a pretty steep line to cross. You've got to fight in your mind. I don't know. Have like a mental Jedi battle going on." -Delonte West
"I have no thought on it. He got fined, he has to pay it, and that's it ... He and I sat down and talked about that incident, and he understands. I made it clear to him that that's unacceptable ... I'm never going to do anything to take competitiveness away from anybody. But in a situation like that where a competitive advantage is gained by the other team, that's logic enough to stay from it, and he understands. He's a competitive guy, but your competitiveness has to manifest in the right way. By and large, he's had a tremendous year for us, and he's done the right things. I see that as an isolated incident and I don't see it happening again." -Coach Rick Carlisle
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...
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DONUT 11: The critical opinion of Mavs Nation on Dirk Nowitzki...
"MVP!!! MVP!!! MVP!!!" -crowd at AAC
DONUT 12: If you don't have a sense of urgency, check yourself for a pulse ...
"We're still obviously fighting for the playoffs. There's still a possibility that we're not getting in so every game to us in big. We talked about it a week ago that our playoffs this year started a little early and we've got to fight for everything." -Dirk Nowitzki
"I think we're down to one game. If we win Friday, we're in. We understand things and we talked about it this morning. This game was really pivotal in so many ways because it's a double count game on the whole magic number thing, and it effectively takes one team out of it, which is big. We've got three more important games to go and they're all meaningful." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"It was definitely important to get this win tonight. Houston's a team that's fighting for one of those last playoff spots, so it was almost like a game that had a playoff-type atmosphere. It had playoff implications, so it was important that we got this one. Now we know that we're a couple of games away from locking this thing in and locking ourselves in the playoffs." -Brendan Haywood
"We've just need to continue to build on what we've built the last week and a half." - Jason Terry
DONUT 13: The Final Word ...
"We just have to keep finding a way to get the win. We're trying to solidify a spot in the playoffs and you can see it in the huddle. Everyone is focused and ready to take it to the end." -Vince Carter