Dirk Nowitzki NBA Finals interview quotes between games 2 and 3
The Dallas Mavericks won 2011 NBA Finals Game 2 in Miami on Thursday to tie the series 1-1. Here's what Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki said in practice Saturday, a day before Game 3, which is Sunday in Dallas.
Question: What's your relationship like with Jason Terry? Seems like you have a very honest relationship to a fault with each other.
Nowitzki: Yes, we have a kind of love hate relationship. It is. It is. Because we ride each other a lot. We talk to each other a lot. We argue a lot, even during games, but it's all because we want to win, we want to play together.
And I think it was big getting him. When we lost Steve, obviously this franchise was down, to lose a great player like that. But I give Donnie some credit. He brought in Jet, who has been a point guard in this league and a veteran and had a good career there in Atlanta. That was a big move. And for us he's been phenomenal. He's been our closer over the last couple of years. A great clutch player, and he's been our key guy for us the last couple of years.
Like I said, we love each other, but we also argue a lot.
Question: With you two being the only ones here from 2006, how much does this mean for both of you guys to be back here?
Nowitzki: Well, you know, I think we play to win. We always have. Our goal was to win it all since the last couple of years. We came so close in '06, and ultimately we kept the main core together, and we're just happy to be back on this stage. But Jet to me is a winner. I think he sacrificed for us coming off the bench the last few years where he could be a starter on other teams. That's ultimately what you have to do if you want to win a championship.
Question: I know everybody often says you're just thinking about the next game. When you're here for three games you know if you hold home court, you're going to get the trophy you want. How can you avoid thinking about it in those terms?
Nowitzki: I think we're a veteran team. We did a good job so far in these playoffs to kind of stay in the moment. We had some big wins, and kind of still recovered and came back and played a great game the next game. I remember the Lakers series we stole Game 1. It was easy to say let's get the split and get out of here. We went for it in Game 2 and stayed in the moment and were able to steal both games.
So I think we just can't let up. We're not good enough to just relax. We need to play with an edge at all times in every game. So hopefully tomorrow with the crowd behind us, we're going to have a great game. Just looking at this one game. So we have to win tomorrow.
Question: Dirk, as emotional as that win was the other night, do you think it helped you guys at all to have that extra day off to kind of get that edge back?
Nowitzki: Maybe. Maybe. Yesterday was good to get away a little bit, get a travel day. And today was all about refocusing on the task. We know they're going to throw everything at us. It's going to be a tough game. Maybe it was good to get away a little bit. Especially after an emotional game like that. I don't think either team got a lot of sleep after that one. Must have gotten like two or three hours, most. So it was good to kind of get away, have an extra day, get some sleep last night, and both teams will be ready to play tomorrow.
Question: Dirk, were you surprised at all that on that last play that you got one on one treatment the way they defended that?
Nowitzki: Well, you know, I think they do a great job defensively really swarming me. The first two games I think every time I put the ball on the floor, there were two or three guys around me. They're so athletic. On the perimeter when I kick the ball to the shooter, somehow they're still there. They're still there to run our shooters off to contest the shots. They're really good defensively.
On that last move, I spun and I expected actually somebody to be there, and there wasn't. So I was able to get to the left and get to the basket. That was a big play. If there would have been somebody there, I would have had to pass to somebody and hopefully let the weak side make a shot. Like I said, there was a big play. There was nobody there and I was able to take the lane and that was good.
Question: Can you talk a little about the job you guys have done collectively on LeBron and not letting him go too crazy?
Nowitzki: I actually thought he played phenomenal the first two games. He's making his three ball throughout the whole playoffs already, he's really shooting the ball well. He got down the lane a couple of times where we feel like we missed some assignments on the pick and rolls, and they got some run out dunks. If you turn the ball over against this team, they're so athletic, it takes one or two steps, they're at the rim at the other end. Wade and LeBron, they're so athletic. Nothing like anything we've seen in the playoffs so far.
You have to do a good job not turning the ball over. We turned it over 21 times. That's obviously not what we want to do, and that's not going to set us up to win.
Question: Watching you practice this afternoon, you seemed to shoot pretty well off your left. How id your finger doing at this point?
Nowitzki: The finger is really good. Got to keep it straight. It was throbbing a little bit after the game the other night, but I guess that's normal. And it's going to be okay. Once the adrenaline always starts flowing during the game, I think I'm okay. It doesn't bother me during the game. That's the major thing.
Question: Dirk, there's been an evolution in Jason Kidd's game the last year or so with the three point shot becoming a reliable weapon. A lot of guys are talking about how you've become the vocal leader all of a sudden. How has that been that you decided that it's something you had to add to your repertoire?
Nowitzki: Ultimately if you want to go all the way, everybody has to step out of their ways a little bit and do a little more. I think that's something I grew into a little more and more comfortable with talking to the guys now. Obviously at the beginning I had a little language barrier. Over the years I got more comfortable taking the guys to the side and addressing something when I see something.
I guess something that comes with experience.
Question: Shawn Marion when he's had some big scoring games, you said he's really turned back the clock. How far back has he gone in these playoffs?
Nowitzki: He's been phenomenal just taking the challenge on both ends. I think it actually already started in the Oklahoma City series, when he had to guard one of the best scorers and the scoring leader with Durant. He really took the challenge on both ends of the floor. Just he can get up, he's athletic on the perimeter, he's long, he can contest shots. He's a good rebounder. But also on the offense, he's been phenomenal. He's been cutting for us, he's been posting up. He's been getting offensive rebounds, put backs. So he looks really comfortable right now. He's got a bounce in his step, and it's fun to watch.
So he's a competitor, and that's what he does out there against the best of the league. He's ready to play.