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Game Quotes From Mavs vs Trail Blazers

Portland defeats Dallas 134 – 131

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(On tonight’s game…)

“It was kind of like yesterday’s game. The first half was disjointed, we weren’t moving the ball well, it led to problems defensively. Third quarter, we did much better; we moved it better, we defended better, we got on a good run. It went from eight — I think we got it to a 3-point lead at the end of the third. The fourth was back and forth, back and forth. The shot that [Damian] Lillard took from 40-feet into the shot clock, hits the back rim, bounces straight up in the air and goes in. I’ve never seen a shot like that — ever. That was unbelievable. We still had a chance and just came up a little short at the end.”

(On the play of Kristaps Porzingis…)

“He had a phenomenal game, and he was doing it all different ways: cuts, rolls, pops, drives, he had a couple of post-ups that were nice. Defensively, we obviously didn’t do a good job in this game. This team can really score though. They put you in some tough positions with Lillard. It’s really difficult. A couple of times we tried running and trapping him, and other guys hit shots. I think [Carmelo] Anthony hit two shots when we doubled him. It’s a pick-your-poison thing. You’ve got to keep scoring. We were doing that pretty well, but in the end, the 40-foot shot that bounced straight up in the air probably was the difference in the game. We’ll need to be more consistent for 48-minutes, but KP was great in the game.”

(On the play of Damian Lillard…)

“Coming into the game, we said he’s going to shoot 15 3s somehow. He got up 17. The problem was that he kept getting to the free throw line. I haven’t looked at the film yet as far as whether the calls were accurate or whatever, but great players have a knack for getting the whistle to blow. Luka is the same way, he gets the whistle to blow. In the end, we were unable to keep him off the free throw line. When you let a guy that shoots like that shoot 18 free throws and score 18 points with the clock stopped, you’re putting yourself up against it. He’s a great player and he puts you in some tough spots, no question about it.”

(On the play when Trey Burke into the lane and was called for a foul…)

“I haven’t looked at it. The people who had the iPad said that it was clearly a flop. Great players in the moment, they know how to create that situation. If it’s a flop, maybe he’ll get fined. But it doesn’t help us in the context of the game. There were so many good elements to that play, it was unfortunate for us. There were a lot of crazy things going on in that game with all of the scoring and all of the activity going on with the referees — and this is a back-to-back, too, which is not easy either.”

(On preparing Luka Dončić for his first NBA playoffs…)

“He’s got a lot of experience in high-level pressure games internationally. We’ve had a lot of them here too. We’ve played three overtime games — this game well could have been an overtime game. I’m not worried about any kind of inexperience from his standpoint. I do think there is a carryover between playing in huge games internationally, whether it’s Euro basket in 2017 or whether it’s the Euro League Championship in 2018. All of that stuff is meaningful, and he’s got two years under his belt. I know that he’s going to be ready to play. He’s wired for big moments. He’ll be fine.”


((On tonight’s game and some difficult calls by the officials…)

“I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. I guess they call what they see out there, but I think, especially on that last play, I don’t think it was a foul. I don’t think you call those fouls in that moment. If we made the three, we would have gone up two. They can make mistakes, and we’ve just got to keep on going.”

(On the play of Damian Lillard…)

 “You guys saw it — he’s an amazing player. It’s really, really difficult to stop him. He had 61 points. He’s an amazing player, and it’s difficult to guard him.”


(On Dorian Finney-Smith’s growth as a player since coming into the league as an undrafted free agent…)

“He’s trusted his craft since day one. I remember him guarding me when I was in New York and in Atlanta. This guy has been putting in work in the gym and it [also] shows the work that’s he’s been putting in outside the gym when he’s with his trainers in the summer time. So hats off to him. And it’s  showing. He’s blossomed into a terrific three-and-D guy that can drive the ball, rebound, and make plays for others as well. So I’m happy for him.”

(On why Damian Lillard was so successful against their defense…)

“I have no answer for that. You go under the screen when it’s too high [and] he’ll pull it. You go over the screen he’s great at drawing fouls behind the three-point line or getting downhill on the bigs. So you’ve just got to try to make it tough on him. You’ve got to try to contest without fouling, and you’ve got to try to fight over the screen. But when you try to fight over the screen he’s so good at stopping his momentum and bumping into you and then creating that contact for the refs to have to make a call. So it’s tough, [and] you just have to do the best you can to make it difficult for him.”


(On what happened on the play where he fouled out…)

“They looked at the replay and everything and I probably did have my hand in the jersey a little bit. That’s what they saw first, and I can’t argue with something that they looked at the replay you know. Obviously, what I felt in that moment was him holding my hand and then pulling me back. I don’t know. I don’t believe he saw it in real time. I had a little bit of jersey and I think it was just you know if we looked at the replay it should have been a foul on him. Yes, it’s tough, it’s tough. Damian [Lillard] played incredible, 61 [points] and made some incredible shots. Hats off to him and hats off to the whole team for competing hard and they’re a step closer now to the playoffs. So congratulate them on that.”

(On if he felt like that was his most complete offensive game yet…)

“It could be with the Mavs. I shot the ball well. It could be, yea, I don’t know. I’m still always critical with the stuff I do, and I believe I could have done things better also. But this was a pretty complete game for me and I’m glad I’m getting into more rhythm. The more time with these guys and this system and that’s it. I want to keep this going individually and as a team”

(On if these close games have helped prepare for the playoffs…)

“I mean obviously we’re competing and trying to win every game that we have here and, at the same time, play with each other and have these regular season games as a warmup or as preparation for playoffs you know we’re going to be in. It’s more likely it looks like we’re going to play the Clippers. That’s going to be a fun matchup and tough matchup for us, but it’s a tough matchup for everybody and we want to go out there and play our best basketball so far. Put all the little things together and make some noise that’s our goal and make sure our growth we’ll see where we end up”

(On what’s been working for him in the bubble…)

“Yeah, I think being the trail guy in our offense and playing with Luka is so easy. You know me also adjusting my game in a way, popping and rolling, and I’m mixing those two things and I think it’s hard for the other team to make the read. Also, being more aggressive when I do roll to the basket and ask for the ball inside and take advantage of a mismatch. I do have a mismatch so that’s where I’m dangerous and that’s best way to use me and I’m glad we’re finding ways how for me to be effective out there on the floor. And like I said just playing with these guys with the open floor it’s great for all of us.”


(On how hard it is to stop Damian Lillard…)

“You have to give Dame his credit. You always have to give a guy like that, with the ability to score the way he scores, his credit. At the same time, you have to give [Jusuf] Nurkić his credit too. That is a big boy. That is a screener that is hard to get around. You have guys like that around the league and then you put him with a guy like Lillard and you have to pick your poison. You have to give up layups or you have to give up long threes. Obviously, everyone knows that Dame can get going from behind the arc. We tried to throw different looks at him, but it is tough. He has the ball in his hands and he has a lot of freedom out there. So as a defender, all you can do is take away some of his shots that he makes and try to attack him back on defense.”


(On how he felt about the offensive foul called on him late in the game…)

“I don’t like to talk about the refs on camera. You know how it goes, fines get thrown around, and stuff like that. To me, I didn’t think that I fouled him or pushed off; it was just a clever move on his part. I think if it was on the other end, hopefully they would call it on the other end if I was to do that, or if someone on our team was to do that, but I just tried to shut him off. I knew that he was at least going to be able to contest the shot and I thought that I just put my arm out. As soon as I put my arm out, he threw his head back and fell, and the refs thought it was an offensive foul. I don’t know.”

(On if he is feeling more and more comfortable as the seeding games finish up…)

“I am. There are times still when I am out there, and I hear a play call and my guy is out there telling me where to go. That is always uncomfortable when you are in the heat of the game but we have been playing ball for so long that things you don’t know out there on the court you try to pick up instinctually and this just how I have been trying to play. Obviously, Coach [Carlisle] and my teammates have been telling me to continue to do what I do on the offensive and defensive end, just playmaking and trying to put pressure on the ball. But I think I am getting more comfortable with each and every game. I think tonight’s loss was a tough one, but I think it is needed going into what we are about to go into.”

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