June 25, 2024

You’ve got to ask them, I’m just the coach’

Mavericks collapse at home against the Pelicans

There were three lead changes in Saturday night’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans. The one that matters most is the last one. New Orleans took a 78-77 lead on a Jose Alvarado three-pointer with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter and never looked back. The Pelicans — without Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy III — methodically built a lead from that point, en route to a 118-108 win over the Mavericks in Dallas.

Kyrie Irving led the Mavericks in scoring again with Luka Doncic still sidelined with a right ankle sprain. He had 33 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. each had 24 points and four rebounds.

Here’s what the players and coaches had to say after the game:

Jason Kidd

(On the rollercoaster of games in the last week…)

“It’s the NBA. You’ve got to show up every day. We were in this position again Memphis and we responded in the next game. We talked about it — but give New Orleans credit. They came out, they were aggressive, they rebounded the ball on the offensive end at a high rate. We just couldn’t compete, and our physicality wasn’t there tonight.”

(On why the team’s physicality didn’t seem to be there tonight…)

“You’ve got to ask them. I’m just the coach. Tired bodies. We’ve got guys playing a lot of minutes. We’re small. It happens. We’ve got to learn from it and move forward.”

(On assessing the team’s energy tonight…)

“I thought the energy was good. Right now, when you look at us as a whole, if we’re scoring, we’re going to be really good. That doesn’t mean we’re going to win every game. When we weren’t scoring there, our defense disappeared on us. We have to be consistent in that area. If we’re not scoring, we’ve got to still continue to compete. We missed some bunnies tonight. We have to mature. If things aren’t going well for us on the offensive end, we have to be better on the defensive end. That’s the only way you can win in this league.”

(On whether there is anything to take away from this week…)

“It’s the season. It’s going to be up and down. Every team goes through it. Every team goes through injuries. You play them. You put your best foot forward. You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. But you’re going to learn about who you are — you can’t hide. You guys can see it.”

(On the play of Pelicans rookie guard Jordan Hawkins tonight…)

“He was good — he’s been good. He shoots the ball. He got going there in the third [quarter]. We lost him a couple times. When you’re comfortable, you’re going to make shots and he was comfortable tonight. [On] Monday, we’ve got to make sure when he’s in the game, we locate him and make him uncomfortable.”

Derrick Jones Jr.

(On if the team was lacking energy tonight…)

“I mean yeah, we have been lacking energy, we have been lacking a little bit of effort. It’s things we just talk about and take it to the drawing board. You got to talk it out, and just put it to action. You can’t just keep talking. You gotta put it into action, go out there and play the game like it’s our last.”

(On why the team has had some low-energy performances lately…)

“It’s basketball. It doesn’t matter who’s in front of you, you got to play the game the same way. I know none of my teammates like losing, so I know everyone was out there trying to give it all. We just got to give a little more and play a little harder.”

(On how the team can improve its energy going forward…)

“Communicating on defense. Whenever we see a loose ball, [just] getting those 50/50 balls. Crash the glass, get as many defensive rebounds as we can so they don’t get offensive rebounds. That’s pretty much it, hustle plays basically.”

Willie Green

(On the Pelicans’ performance to pull off the win tonight…)

“Yes, first of all, I am just grateful. Thanking God for the opportunity to coach these guys. We have a ton of depth and [David] Griff (Griffin) and his team have done an amazing job bringing in high character guys that come in every day and work the coaching staff, the performance team and get better. It was displayed tonight, and it says a lot about this team [and] their mental toughness. To be able to get in late and not use it as an excuse and get out there and lay our effort out on the court. We are extremely proud of them.”

(On Pelicans rookie guard Jordan Hawkins career night…)

“He was terrific. He was locked in from the very start of the game. His game plan discipline was off the charts. His ability to not only hit shots, but to continue to make the right play on both sides of the basketball. He is getting better and better before our eyes, and he is making my job extremely difficult.”

(On how Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas sets the tone for the team…)

“[He] sets the tone right away. He is one of our leaders and he is a tough dude, and you see it. He wasn’t going to miss this game to save his life and he went out and battled. Difficult first half for him individually but he got it together in the second half. We went to him in the post, and he really anchored our offense towards the end of the game.”

Jose Alvarado

(On having to be ready for this game despite getting to the hotel at 4:30 A.M. in the morning last night…)

“Yeah, but I honestly told, I think the whole locker room and everybody, that we were going to win today. This is one of the games where y’all look past it but it’s tough to win with three of your starters out, scorers and everything. I really wanted to put in everybody’s mind that we were going to win today because that’s how I felt waking up even though I knew it was going to be a tough game.”

(On his analysis of Pelicans rookie guard Jordan Hawkins…)

“We have some dogs, some guys who really can play, and, unfortunately, we have 15 of them. You can’t play 15. He’s not an average rookie. I think we have known that. I think we have been seeing it today. Opportunity meets preparation. He did it. He did what he’s supposed to do and more.”

(On how much of a competitive advantage it could be if they are fully healthy for Monday’s rematch…)

“They have to do what they have to do. We did our part today, and they’re going to come in and do their part. We’re going to go home with another win. That’s the goal. This is a good team. They’re going to watch film and they’re going to come back. They want to beat us as bad as we want to beat them on their home court, so it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be fun.”

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks

Jonas Valanciunas

(On what a win like this says about the team after getting in at 4:30 A.M. in the morning…)

“It’s great. We’re not going to look at toughness, flying all night, getting to bed late. We just found the grit to come out today and, down some people, down some players, come out here against a really good team and [get a] tough, physical win. That’s how we connect together. Those kinds of wins bring us together and help us in the future.”

(On where his toughness and determination to play every game comes from…)

“I’m not going to take 35 shots. I’m trying to play basketball the right way. That’s the most fun I can see on the court—setting good screens, making passes, finding something that drives us. We did it today, and I’m really happy about this team.”

(On Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving…)

“He’s a great player. He’s established himself over the years. One of the best ball handlers [and] shooters – you have to put in extra effort to guard him. We all have different defense schemes against him. It takes five guys on the court to guard him. He had his numbers, but a win is a win.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *