- The new look Mavs have yet to go through a full practice together, and yet they’re still improving. Terrific.
- On Frisco’s current President of Basketball Operations Spud Webb’s performance in the 1986 slam dunk contest: “I totally remember he was like 3-foot-5-inches tall and he did this amazing 180-degree reverse double-pump slam,” Hawks fan Eric Davis said of the 5-foot-7 Webb, who was 4-foot-9 and dunked from the foul line the last time Davis told the story. “Spud really wasn’t much bigger than a basketball. He just blew everybody away in the final round when he rode into the arena on a hamster, ripped off his G.I. Joe doll uniform warm-up pants, threw the ball at the backboard, ran between a small child’s legs, jumped up to Dominique Wilkins’ palm, and springboarded off it to do a 360-degree two-handed dunk.”
- Go here, right now, and play with one of the neatest NBA toys the internet has to offer.
- It’s possible that Zydrunas Ilgauskas may not find his way back to Cleveland after all, despite the fact that he’s negotiating a buyout with the Wizards. Salary cap expert Larry Coon likes Dallas as the dark horse to obtain Z’s services, but Donnie Nelson doesn’t seem to consider it a possibility.
- Josh Howard responds, again, after claiming that he’ll refuse to respond to the allegations that he missed a regular season Mavericks game due to a hangover. Here’s Josh, via Holly MacKenzie of The Score’s Nothing Easy blog: “It makes me wonder. It makes me wonder, what was all of the hard work for, but it was for myself at the end of the day. It’s kind of sad, hearing all of the lies coming out of there. Especially when I’m gone. Why would you want to talk about a guy who did so much for your organization and he’s gone?”
- When J.R. Smith meets James Singleton, and when J.R. Smith’s shot meets James Singleton’s swat. The Mavs-Wiz trade is just a week old, and James has already made quite the impression in Washington.
- Another “fan” of the Mavs’ trade with the Wizards: Jerry Sloan.
It’s Pressing will be a periodic feature here at The Two Man Game where I shine the spotlight on the night’s post-game press conference. There isn’t always gold to be found, but it’s nice to check in with the major players following a big game like tonight.
“It was just an unbelievable come back. We really couldn’t get anything going for three quarters and it was just ugly. There was a lid on the basket. We missed layups, easy shots, put backs and it was just ugly. Defensively we were actually decent, but offensively we just couldn’t get going and then in the fourth quarter we just left it all out there and see what happens and it worked out for us tonight.”
Regarding whether or not his performance qualified as “stupid good”:
“It might, but we kind of went through the same game against Washington at home where we couldn’t get anything going offensively. My mentally in the 4th was to go out there and make things happen. I think what really helped was we got to the bonus real quick in the 4th by being aggressive and driving to the basket and we were shooting free throws the rest of the way and that helped us get back into the game.”
Regarding his late surge of free throw attempts:
“Once you’re down by that much you’ve got to try to use the clock and get back in the game. We made up a lot of ground in the 4th at the line without the clock moving and we drove to the basket, got fouled and stopped the clock. Our defense was solid, even at the end when we made the come back, we contested shots, rebounded and our defense has been really solid the first four games. It’s our offense that has been struggling. We have been shooting in the low 40’s every game and that’s a concern, but defensively we look pretty good.”
“We were looking for a spark offensively and I was able to do that tonight. Sometimes it’s Jet off the bench, sometimes it’s Josh jumping off to 20 point first quarters so we just needed a little spark and when I was feeling it they kept feeding me the ball. I got every play down the stretch and I was able to deliver. This was a big win for us. Even if it’s early being 3-1 is better than 2-2.”
“It was a level of frustration throughout the whole team with what was happening offensively. We had a lot of good looks and weren’t getting them to go down. The thing that has changed this year, to this point, is that this is three out of four games, I can’t really say it about the first game, is that when shots weren’t going in, guys were becoming more determined defensively to dig in and find a way to make something happen. That first game of the year, we waited around for something good to happen to us against Washington. The last three games, we’ve been the team to continue to be persistent and make something happen. At some point, the ball is going to start going in the basket for us. But until then, we’ll find a way to win. I give the team credit for that because this wasn’t our personality last year.”
“Twenty-five years in this, I’ve seen a lot of amazing things happen. To be honest, it wasn’t looking great, but we just needed a couple good things to happen offensively for us. And the biggest thing that happened was Dirk got us in the bonus early in the fourth. That started a chain reaction of plays where stops led to good decisions which led to aggressive plays which led to him going to the free throw line time after time after time. During that stretch, when there was some kind of mistake, somebody came up with a loose ball play and made one pass. Somebody handed it to Dirk one time for that three. It was just sheer will. It was led by Kidd and Dirk. And Dirk scored the majority of the points. I can’t overstate the effect that Kidd has on games as a competitor and as a guy that just knows what winning is about and how to facilitate it. We needed it badly. And they needed a game badly. That was clear coming in and they played extremely well. We get out of here alive and it’s good to get the first win at home.”
“Well there wasn’t obviously anything we were able to do with Nowitzki. I’m not sure that maybe we should’ve tried a couple different things. Mehmet [Okur] I think had 1 or 2 fouls when he started guarding him and Boozer had 5. And try to keep [both of] them out there we put Mehmet on him and I don’t think we did a very good job. He was sensational. He made every basket and got to the free throw line, but the most important thing he did was he was able to take the ball to the basket. When were coming down to trying to finish the game we had I think 4 turnovers in the 4th quarter. And you could feel the momentum kind of shift in that situation because they had the spirit and we turned the ball over a couple times we felt sorry for ourselves. I think it made it tougher for us to try and finish the game. But giving up 44 points [in the 4th quarter] is pretty tough.”
Regarding his (lack of) defensive adjustments on Dirk in the fourth:
“We might’ve tried to double him or tried something but they still had some pretty good shooters out there on the floor. And they were into a rhythm where I felt like if we go off and leave Terry or even Jason Kidd – he’s out there on the floor, he hasn’t shot the ball especially well but you know him in that situation is going to be able to make a 3-point shot. So you’re looking at 3′s to have to defend against and you try to keep him off the top of the basket and try to play him. We pushed him to the short-side of the floor one time I think, the rest of the time he went to the long side where he had a lot more to operate and get on top of the basket.”
Regarding defending Dirk down the stretch:
“We did a couple of different things. It just seemed like either he made his shot or he was shooting free throws. I thought we couldn’t be physical with him, couldn’t touch him too much without them calling a foul on us. Obviously he was aggressive, he’s a great player, but I thought we were doing a decent job. But anytime we touched him they called a foul, so, not to much you can do when you can’t be physical with somebody.”
Regarding his foul trouble precluding him from guarding Dirk:
“Yeah, it’s tough. The first two or three plays of the 3rd quarter I picked up 2 quick ones on him [Dirk] and he didn’t even have the ball. That put us in a tough position. Regardless, that’s history now.”
Regarding this being a tough loss:
“It’s tough, because we were up by 15 with 8 minutes to go. The next thing you know it was free throw, free throw, free throw, free throw.”
Regarding his defense on Dirk:
“I don’t know. I just wanted to pressure the ball and he didn’t want to settle for jump shots – he took the ball to the basket and he got to the free throw line and made some tough shots. He’s one of those guys that once they get hot it’s hard to stop.”
“Like I said, I wanted to pressure the ball. I could’ve done a better job on him, maybe deny a little bit. Not let him catch the ball easily like that. I posted him, but he was active tonight.”