It’s Pressing: Post-Game Pressers from Mavs-Spurs Game 1

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 19, 2010 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

DIRK NOWITZKI

On the Spurs’ different defensive approaches between last season’s playoffs and Game 1:

“Well, I think on my first couple of catches in the first half I wanted to see what they were doing and what kind of schemes they’ve got going. They played me pretty much straight up for the whole first half, [and I] had some good looks there. [I] took my time and was able to knock some shots down. Then in the second half, they were coming [at me] a little bit again from the low side [and] made me pass the ball some, but I thought we had some great cutting going on. When I caught the ball at the elbow there in the fourth quarter, [there were] two cuts: JET had a big floater and Marion had a big cut for a layup. That’s what you’ve gotta do, you can’t just sit there and watch, you’ve gotta get everybody involved and we did a great job of getting open.”

On the performances of Erick Dampier and Brendan Haywood:

“They were great. [They were] really battling Timmy. I think Timmy still had 27 just because he’s a Hall-of-Famer, but the guys make him work for everything — made him work for his points, really battled him in there. Damp actually blocked one or two of his jump hooks, so I think they did a fantastic job — battling for us, keeping some balls alive on the offensive end. They were definitely big for us tonight.”

On the importance of winning Game 1, and his evaluation of the Mavs’ play:

“We turned the ball over a couple of times too many for our liking, but we ran back [on defense and] didnt give them too much in transition. That’s big. [We] forced them into a half-court game. That was definitely a big win, but really, that win means nothing if we lose on Wednesday, so we’ve gotta come out with the same focus. When you play San Antonio you’ve gotta guard two things, and that’s Duncan on the block and a lot of screen and rolls. With Ginobili and Parker. we did some decent stuff on the pick and rolls. We still made some mistakes, but we were scrambling for each other and we made stuff happen. Even though we made mistakes, we tried to run their three-point shooters off and to give them only four threes is a heck of a job.”

On whether or not he was surprised at being defended straight-up:

“I’m going to take whatever they give me. When they came at me in the second half, I was able to pass out [of the double teams] pretty good and we made some shots when they mattered. JET hit a big three there in the corner for us out of the double team. We’ve just gotta make plays. Caron made some timely, big shots. I’m just going to be patient, and when they do come, I’ll hopefully make the right play out and not try to force anything or make a bad play out of the double team. I’ve gotta take the double team sometimes and move the ball and let other guys make the play, and when I have single coverage, I’ve still gotta be aggressive and try to make things happen.”

On his confidence in his shot right now:

“Well, you know I thought early I made a couple of lucky shots: the one where I thought I got fouled and I threw it up and it went in off the glass and there was another shot where McDyess was all over me and I was able to make a tough turnaround. Sometimes it’s a little bit of both — you feel good about yourself, but you need a little bit of luck. Sometimes the ball goes in, so sometimes you have one of those nights where the basket looks big and some other nights you can’t make a layup…Tonight was definitely a good night.”

On Caron Butler’s contributions, and how vital Butler was to the Mavs’ victory:

“Especially with the way they played Jason Terry, [the Spurs] really took the ball out of his hands on screen-and-rolls and they’re trying to take him out of the game. He did have a couple of good looks, but he never really got into a rhythm. So we definitely needed some scoring somewhere else and Caron was big. He’s a great guy playing the mid-range [game]: facing up, step-backs, posting up. He had the full repertoire going from 14-15 feet. I think Kidd made some big threes, some timely threes. Like I said, with JET not having a great shooting night, we needed scoring somewhere else.”

On the sloppiness of the game relative to the Mavs-Spurs standard:

“I don’t think it was a great game on both ends of the floor. Definitely gotta look at some film. There were a lot of turnovers for a Mavs-Spurs game, but I think sometimes you’ve gotta grind it out. Even if it wasn’t a pretty game, you’ve gotta find a way to win. You know with the way they play and the way they’ve grinded [sic] things out over the years, they’re going to keep coming even if they’re down ten. They’re going to get some stops and they’re going to make some big plays, [and] that’s what they did tonight. We made some runs at them and they still kept on coming. It’s going to be a tough, long, grind-out series and we’ve gotta be ready for it.”

On playing the Spurs in the playoffs again:

“It seems like every year we see them sooner or later. [It's] definitely a tough matchup…With them being healthy, it’s definitely one of the best seven seeds there is, but it is what it is, and we’ve gotta find a way to grind this out. [It was] definitely a good win for us, but they’re going to keep coming and they’re very very good at home so we need to make sure we get this one on Wednesday as well.”

On the Spurs shooting 50% from the field:

“They’re tough, like I said. They’ve got Duncan on the block and all of the other guys — Ginobili and Parker — in their pick-and-rolls. They make stuff happen: they get into the paint, get to the basket, [and] if you cut them off they’ve got a lot of shooters out there spreading the floor with Bogans and Bonner and all of those guys shooting the ball well. You’re going to give up something in there, but I thought we did a decent job [of] scrambling and sometimes we did make mistakes in our coverages, but you’ve gotta fight for everything in the playoffs and you don’t assume anything. You don’t assume that anyone is going to make a shot, you’ve gotta run out and contest the shots and that’s what the playoffs are all about: you’re going to make mistakes, but you’ve gotta make them aggressive[ly].”

On Pop’s Clamp-a-Damp strategy:

“I was surprised, but I think Pop — he’s just like Nelly. I played for Nelly for a long time and you’ve gotta be ready for everything with him. He’s liable to do anything at any time and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says. He’s going to do whatever he thinks is right at that moment. I actually thought Damp stepped up and made some big free throws. Some of them didn’t go in but he made those two timely ones in a row in the fourth quarter, so like I said I feel Damp really stepped up and played a good game for us.”

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RICK CARLISLE

On Erick Dampier’s defense against Tim Duncan, which likely won’t get the credit it deserves:

“Damp was a real presence for us on the inside. Duncan had a big game offensively, he scored a lot of points, but Damp made his job harder. He [Dampier] got his hands on a lot of balls, got us a lot of rebounds, and when they went to the fouling tactic he made 4 out of 6, which was great for us.”

On Jason Kidd’s excellence and influence:

“Kidd played great. He was sensational in really all areas. In the second half he gave us a spark defensively—on Ginobili and when he was guarding their point guards. He’s been great all year and it’s no surprise that he carried it into tonight.”

On Gregg Popovich’s surprising decision to cover Dirk with a single defender for most of the game:

“There were some double teams and we’re going to see everything before it’s over. Butler got double teamed, but he got going. Marion got double teamed a couple times. They’re going to give you different looks and we’re going to give them different looks, too. We’ll have to adjust when those things happen, and we’ll have to be ready to make plays.”

On the Mavs’ pick-and-roll defense, and how it improved throughout the game:

“We struggled a little at the beginning of the game, and then when we finally got our bearings we did a better job. It’s very tough because such a high percentage of their plays are pick and roll plays, and they’ve got really great facilitators and good screeners and rollers and a bunch of three point shooters out there. It’s going to be challenging. The important thing is five guys are engaged in it defensively, even though it’s a two man game. Everybody’s got to be involved because so many different things happen on their screen and roll.”

On Caron Butler’s (22 points, 8-19 FG, six rebounds, three steals, five turnovers) impact:

“He got it going in the first half and a lot of his early points were not necessarily out of plays we were running for him, but out of just playing basketball. Then we started to run some stuff for him and he delivered. There was a period in the third quarter where he really carried us for a three or four minute stretch. They adjusted and double teamed him and we got other guys the ball. But he’s a guy that’s not afraid; he wants the ball in those situations. He’s been in the playoffs multiple times and he played well for us.”

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CARON BUTLER

On Popovich’s “Clamp-a-Damp” strategy:

“That’s something we’ve seen before in the past with Pops.  He’s a great coach and has a great basketball mind that does a lot of things on the fly.  Damp was ready, stepped up and made most of his free throws during that stretch and that was a key factor.”

On Dirk Nowitzki going absolutely bonkers from the field:

“That’s just what he does.  When you got so many guys around him to keep the double-teams coming for the most part and making it difficult for the defense he’s going to have his way.  He did a great job of making decisions, creating for others and at the same time hitting shots.”

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JASON KIDD

On the constitution of the win:

“Our defense really played a part tonight even though we missed a lot of wide open shots.  We never got discouraged on the defense end and we deflected a bunch of passes and we were active and we tried to limit them to one tough shot and if they made we had to come down on the other end and make those guys work. We were able to get out a little and run and really eliminate them from double-teaming Dirk or Caron.  Everybody pitched in and it was a good win.”

On the performance of San Antonio’s Big Three, and how the Mavs responded:

“Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili put a lot of pressure on us on the defensive end and when you’ve got a guy like Tim Duncan setting screens our bigs our going to have their work cut out defensively and you just try to make it tough on those guys because they are all all-stars and no how to play at a high level especially this time of year.  But I thought our bigs did a good job.”

On the Mavs’ shot selection:

“We want to be aggressive on the offensive end.  I think the scouting report on us probably says that we rely on the jump shot, but I thought tonight was a great example of us not doing that and coming out and being aggressive, driving the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line.  That got us off to a good start and from there we just started driving the ball and guys started to get some wide open looks and we made some big shots in the third and fourth quarter.”

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GREGG POPOVICH

On the difference between the 2008-2009 Mavs and the 2009-2010 model:

“I’m not going to compare their teams. I only care about the team they have now. So it’s not much interest to me to compare how they are now to Josh. I know what they are now and that’s who we have to play. They played better than we did, they played very well. I felt the first half was just a killer, half their points, 27 points off boards, putbacks and turnovers. That’s just a sloppy game. There’s no reason for that, so I was very disappointed in us not being very sharp. I think we’ve got to have a few more people step up and play worth a damn. I thought we had a lot of guys that played like dogs.”

On the Clamp-a-Damp strat, and why he employed it:

“We wanted to put him at the line because and hoped he would miss free throws rather than Dirk killing us the way he was.”

On Dirk’s “special” performance:

“There are many nights when Dirk is not special. He was special tonight, but he had a lot of help. A lot of other guys played really well. Butler killed us and both big guys were really good on the boards defensively. Jason [Kidd] was a gnat. He was a focused, driven individual, as usual. They had a lot of people play well. They played sharper than we did.”

On why his coverage of Dirk shifted from his pressure-heavy approach last season to single coverage this season:

“They had scorers last season too. You pick your poison and whatever you pick you try to do it well. Dirk got the best of whatever we tried to do with him tonight. We tried a lot of different things, but he beat them all.”

On whether the Spurs sloppy play was preventable:

“Sure. Some turnovers were caused for good reason. But there a good number that were unnecessary, and I felt we did a poor job on the boards as far as team defense is concerned.”

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RICHARD JEFFERSON

On the on-going process of defending Dirk Nowitzki:

“He’s a former MVP, at the peak of his game right now, with a lot talented teammates around him. We’ll figure it out, that’s why fortunately it’s a best-of-seven, not a best-of-one. You’ve got to stay even-keel through your wins and your losses.”

On what positive things the Spurs should take away from this game:

“Nothing. You give them all the credit, but there wasn’t too much positive. We’re not going to go blow smoke up our butts and say that we did this well, we did that well. We’ve got to play better.”

On whether or not injuries and resting the starters down the stretch had an effect on the number of turnovers:

“There wasn’t anybody that was rested down the stretch. The only game that we sat out was the last game. Outside of that, Manu [Ginobili] and Tim [Duncan] and myself were pretty much in the entire time. You give them all the credit. We made some mistakes but also they capitalized on them.”

On whether Jason Kidd seems to be playing “younger” than their days together in New Jersey:

“Jason is a very talented player. He’s a future Hall of Famer. And he’s going to continue playing at a high level. He’s one of those guys that can make people around him better. And he has a lot of talent around him right now. And the way he’s shooting the ball right now is impressive and it’s something that you really have to try and key in on.”

On why the Spurs couldn’t get stops in the fourth quarter:

“They hit shots. At the end of the day, they hit some tough shots. Dirk hit some good shots, he put up some rotations and some other guys hit shots. Sometimes it’s not too much of a science, and tonight was one of those nights.”

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GEORGE HILL

On why the Spurs could only seem to get scoring out of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker:

“I don’t know. It’s something we’re going to have to go look at on film, and see how other people can get involved and help this team win a basketball game.”

On whether or not this is some of the best basketball he’s seen Dirk play in his career:

“I’ve only been in the league for two years, so I’ve only seen two years. He’s Dirk, he’s 7-foot and can shoot it. It’s a tough match-up for anybody. Other than, Dirk is Dirk.”