Sunday, February 24, 2008

Post-Game Quotes: Mavs 99, Wolves 83

Dallas Coach Avery Johnson:
"We are glad to come out of this road trip 2-1... We thought we were in pretty good shape when we had that 10-point lead in the third. We started fooling around a little with the ball and had some breakdowns defensively. I was trying to buy a few minutes to put Kidd back in the game. I thought about putting him in a little sooner, around the seven-minute mark, but when he got back in he just took off. He was scoring, he was passing, he was just doing it all."

"Damp's defense on Jefferson in the second half pretty much won the game. We couldn't guard him in the first half. So between Damp and Kidd, and what Josh did in the second half defensively, was very good for us... Josh was battling a little food poisoning. He still gutted out 38 minutes for us (even though) he wasn't feeling well. He should be feeling better at home when he gets some home cooking."

"We have an All-Star point guard that wasn't going to let us lose. He knew what we needed to do. I gave him one or two things to think about, but other than that he knew how to run the team. He is a little more comfortable with the team and with me, and vice versa... I think he will be excited. It was a good game to have going into that (first home) game. We had some miscues early in the game when he was trying to get Damp some passes, but we will have to work through some of those things."

Dallas Forward Dirk Nowitzki:
"It's been fun. You get the ball in Jason's hands and he makes it fun for everybody. He's throwing passes that you think, 'No way are they ever going to get there,' but somehow he finds a way."

"So far it has been getting better every game, but obviously we know the last two opponents, Memphis and Minnesota, were not the best. Tomorrow we have a tough one at home with Chicago, which should be an emotional game being the first home game with Jason. It should be fun, and then we have to get ready for San Antonio. Obviously as the competition gets better, we have to get better, too."

Dallas Guard Jerry Stackhouse:
"Tonight, (Kidd) set everybody up and then when they forgot about him, he took advantage of it late. He is capable of having big scoring nights for us, but I think with the scorers that we have, he is just going to try to get everybody involved and hope that is enough. But he can sense it when he has to pick it up on the scoring load."

"He is still learning. We have had three games together. As he becomes more familiar with the sets, he is just going to get better and better and we are going to get better and better. Right now with everyone, the passes are a little unexpected. I think we will find a little more rhythm as the year goes on. We need to find it. We don't have time to be up and down the way that the Western Conference is right now."

Dallas Guard Jason Kidd:
"We came out and finally had a pretty good third quarter and built our momentum. For me, it is just to find the open guy and make the game as easy as possible, until my teammates got on me a little bit about just attempting that layup because I had a lot of looks at layups. I took their advice, and that is just going to make the team better... For me it is just to play hard. I am out there executing the coach's game plan. Find the open guy and make the game as easy as possible, and have fun doing it while we are out there."

"The play that was called by the coach was for me and Dirk, so it was just a matter of me understanding how they are going to play, go underneath and just beat my guy under the basket. The play from there, the second time, they were cheating under. Dirk set a good screen and it was just a matter of me making the jump shot. In time I will understand where I will get shots in the offense. Playing in this league for a while, you understand that with five or six minutes left, that is where the game begins. Hopefully I can be there to help my teammates win."

Minnesota Coach Randy Wittman:
"I thought the tide turned when it was 74-71 for the longest time. We got about seven stops in a row and then missed some chippy shots. Craig missed a couple easy ones underneath, we missed a couple in transition, and I felt we could've really turned the tide there and scored three or four buckets in that time. We had good shots. We had a couple of really good looks that didn't go in. Rashad hit a 'three' to tie it at 74 and then they went up 78-74. That stretch kind of deflated us offensively, I thought."

"We settled for way too many jump shots at the start of that third quarter. It's one thing to settle for those when you're in a rhythm and making shots, but we weren't and we settled for them unlike we did in the first half. I thought we attacked in the first half. I thought that stretch at 74-71, we were pretty solid defensively, but when we missed those easy ones, it kind of deflated us a little bit. We've got to fight through that. We went into the fourth quarter tied and we lost our composure. They made a run at us and we lost our composure with each other, had a little frustration."

"At the end of the second quarter, that was totally our fault. We gave up six points in the last 28 seconds. We gave up four points in the last possession of the half on the made basket and the missed free-throw tip. At the end of the first quarter, we let Jason Kidd just walk up to the three-point line and shoot it. You could add that one to it. We just got out of his way, let him go and shoot a 'three'. You've got to finish the quarters. That's what good teams do, they finish quarters. That's where you lose momentum. At halftime it was 48-all when it should've been 48-43. Now you're really feeling good instead of giving a tip-in off a missed free throw, which kind of deflates you a little bit."

"I don't know if (Jefferson) was open more in the second half. I'd have to take a better look at it. A lot of it was on double-teams. They doubled him again, but we didn't settle for those shots in the first half on double teams. We got the ball, swung it to the weak side and then dribble penetrated and attacked the basket. Now, when you have shooters over there and you're knocking down shots, it's one thing to continue to do that. We haven't done that, where you've gotten into a rhythm and you're knocking shots down. That's part of basketball, is continuing to take those jump shots. That's what Dallas has built on, but you also see them attacking the basket when they're not making shots. They've got Nowitzki, Terry and guys who can really shoot the ball, but they're going to have nights when those shots don't go in. We've got to figure out ways to get to the foul line."

Minnesota Forward Craig Smith:
"From their transition they were able to get a lot of easy baskets, including layups and 'and-ones'. They changed the game themselves until the last quarter, when on the offensive end we were a little light on the ball and we made some bad passes that they turned into points."

"We have to eliminate the mistakes at the end. We realize that we aren't as experienced as a lot of other teams at the end, and because of that we have to pace ourselves and to take our time during crunch time... It can start on our offensive end by getting better shots and rotating the ball so they don't have as much of an opportunity to get steals. Everyone has to get back in the paint and play solid."

Minnesota Forward Al Jefferson:
"We just made some mistakes you can't make against a good team like that. They did a great job of running their offense and getting off their shots. They did exactly what you know they're going to do."

"You've got to finish out the quarter, you've got to run your plays and you've got to get back on defense -- especially with Jason Kidd added to them. Our mistake, and they took advantage of it. That's what a team like Dallas, San Antonio -- you see those great teams like that, that's what they're going to do. Like I said, you just can't afford to make mistakes."

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