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May 26, 2022

Jalen Brunson

Dallas Mavericks

Game 5: Postgame

Warriors 120, Mavericks 110

Q. Jalen, can you sum up what this playoff experience has been like, both with the group and getting to make your mark on such a deep run?

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, it's been great. It was a great learning experience. It was really fun. I think that's the best way about it. We had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun proving people wrong. Everyone in that locker room believed, but we just -- that's all that really mattered to us, and we've just got to believe in each other, kept winning, kept going as far as we could, and it was great. I take my hats off to them. They played great. But this team is something special.

Q. Jalen, you guys were 16-18 in late December. Could you talk about that particular journey and what does this mean for the city and for this franchise for you guys to get to the Western Conference Finals?

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, there was that turning point when we kind of had that -- the little COVID roulette when guys were going in and out. We just kept believing. We just kept going. We kept focusing on one game at a time, just getting better every day. It put us in a position to be here.

Every step of the way mattered for us, and we kept getting better, kept believing in each other, and just kept fighting until the end.

Q. What did you guys learn from this journey? I know you were down 3-2 against Phoenix and won a Game 7 there. Just talk about that a little bit.

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, we learned a lot. We learned what it takes to get to this point, and we also learned what it takes to go further. Yet we still have a lot to do, have a lot to learn, but to get to this point was great for us, but we still have a lot of things to get better at, including myself. There's a lot of things I can get better at.

Just to get to this point has been great.

Q. Dorian was just up there and he said that early in the season he was reflecting on how you were really helpful to him in terms of just kind of taking things one day at a time in a contract year and you guys were able to bond over that. Can you take us through what that was like for both of you, and then for you down the stretch, too, just how you've been able to compartmentalize things and how you've been able to keep the focus on the present as you've gone on?

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, one thing I just kept telling Do' is that no matter what the situation is, it's only up from here. That was something we kept telling each other. Just trying not to focus on it. It's kind of hard not to, but just focus on one day at a time, focus on what you can get better at, focus on how you can help the team. We were just talking to each other about that all the time.

I'm really proud of him. He's put himself in position to help out his family. It's great for him, and I'm really happy for him.

Yeah, we did bond over that, and it's something that I won't take for granted.

Q. He was just up here, too, and said you're about to get the bag. How do you digest? What's the process of turning from this season looking ahead for you, and when do you kind of expect yourself to finally allow yourself to focus on what's next and what this free agency looks like?

JALEN BRUNSON: When it's time, it's time. For me, I'm just -- when it happens, it happens. I'm not worried about it right now. Honestly, at this point, how I feel, I'm really happy that I got to play with these guys, and the things that we did this year, that's all I'm really focused on right now and thinking about. I'll think about that later.

Q. I was going to ask you about Game 2. You were up by 19; do you look at how much different the series could have been if you had held on to that lead?

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, very different. 1-1 going home, it's different. It's different for them. It's different -- probably would have put ourselves in a better position being down 2-0 than 3-0, so could have changed.

Q. Jalen, do you feel a little like maybe you guys -- with all the success this year, served notice to maybe some people around the league and maybe to yourselves, too, that you're going to have to be dealt with in the future? This team has -- the future seems like it could be even better than this year was.

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, I think the best thing about this team is we didn't even really care or focus on what other people said about us, good or bad. We believed in each other in that locker room, and that's all that really mattered to us. I think we embraced the fact that like sometimes either people talked bad about us or didn't talk about us at all. We just didn't really focus on it. We focused on us and focused on what we could do to put ourselves in the best position, and we did that all year.

Q. You've talked about this all season with the ability of sticking together and what that meant for you guys; how would you assess how this team stuck together throughout the course of the season given this point that you guys got to this year?

JALEN BRUNSON: Yeah, I mean, 16-18 at one point, I think after January 1st we had one of the better records. We just kept getting better every single day. No one really talked about -- I mean, the long-term goal of winning a championship, it was talked about, but it wasn't talked about every day. It was talked about how can we improve today, improve tomorrow, and then the next day and the next day and we'll see where that gets us. We believed in it, and we believed in each other. It got us to this point.

But I think really, we can really see where we can get better at, where we can go moving forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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