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May 26, 2022

Jason Kidd

Dallas Mavericks

Game 5: Pregame

Q. At several points in the playoffs, you've kind of teased us and said "none of you guys expected to us get this far." I guess my question is to you, are you surprised that you guys are playing until late May here?

JASON KIDD: I think when you look at the journey we've been on since the beginning, you just don't know. We talk about learning your team or understanding who you are by Christmas.

You know, with COVID and injuries, the slow start, we kind of knew what we had. But as we continued that journey, we started to figure out who we wanted to be. That's what's helped us get to this point. They are true believers that they can compete and play against anyone. That's what that group has done up to this point.

Q. When you have an elimination game like this, what's your message to the team? Is it the same as the last game and same as it was in Game 7 against Phoenix?

JASON KIDD: We've had Game 7 and I guess Game 4 was another elimination game for us. Just one game at a time. We're just focused here to find a way to win on the road in Game 5.

Q. After Game 3 here, Luka said that it's a learning process and he thinks he'll look back after this season and understand how to better balance scoring, getting teammates involved and things like that. When you're still involved in the thick of it, how do you help him evaluate on a game-by-game basis and learn on the fly, if you will?

JASON KIDD: He's done a great job of learning on the fly. That group in that locker room has done a great job. But you have to go through it. You have to understand, this is the first time out of the first round in a while, so I'm hopeful we can build on this.

For him, this is the first time playing until late May. He's played a lot of basketball. He's going to have a quick turnaround here in September to participate for his country. But you know, I think it's just, we're all going to go on a ride with him on this journey and hopefully at one of the years, if not this year, we can hold that trophy. That's what it's all about.

But he's going to get better. By being in this situation more will only help him. This is his fourth year in the league and he's gone to the Conference Finals. That's pretty good.

Q. There's been a lot of blowouts in the playoffs across the NBA. Seems like the game comes down to whether the role players are making threes. You put so much attention on the superstars defensively. If the role players hit the three, you win. If they don't, you lose. As a coach and someone who played in this league for a long time, how do you feel about the way the game has trended toward three-pointers and the effect that has on chasing for a championship?

JASON KIDD: The three is very important. Everyone shoots them now. There are no positions. You put out your best five. When you look at the center position, it's 6-9 or smaller. Then it's about role players in the playoffs, someone stepping up making a shot, because the stars are going to be stars. Whenever the role players for either team play at a high level, it tends to work in their favor.

Q. When you said the other night Golden State goes to zone because they can't guard you guys, was that for them or a confidence booster to the team to say, that team can't really guard us? Is that a psychological ploy to get them something extra?

JASON KIDD: I think this is the most we have seen of zone. So it's for my guys in the sense of it's a compliment. It really is. You have to do different things to be able to guard. We've seen the box-and-one zone a lot. From foul trouble or not being able to guard, it's just a fact. I didn't make that up.

I played the game. Whenever you hear a coach saying, we've got to do something we haven't done, it's because we can't do something. That's just a fact. There's no shots being taken. But we have to make shots. If we can't make shots, we can't win.

Q. Dwight, playing is 100th game of the season, in the day and age of load management, to have a guy that answers the bell every single time, how valuable is it?

JASON KIDD: That's huge. That's a great accomplishment for Dwight. Shows how he's taking care mentally and physically, and then just what he does to prepare for work. To be able to count on him or pin him in as a starter or someone who is available to play every night, that helps as a coach but also as a teammate to be consistent.

That's a great accomplishment for Dwight, and hopefully we can get more guys to do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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