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May 19, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki


Oklahoma City Thunder – 106
Dallas Mavericks - 100

Q. In that fourth quarter, nearly impossible to win a game when the other team shoots 8 out of 12 from inside the three-point line and then 11 of 17 overall in the fourth. Could you talk about what happened between your third quarter defense to your fourth quarter? You guys played great in the third and then all of a sudden they explode for 29 on you.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, our defense was actually -- besides the third quarter was bad again. We felt we had a bad defensive effort in the first game and couldn't really get it done again today. We had a lead there in the first and then early in the second.
And you've got to give them credit, though. They came out to play, and I thought their bench really changed the game today. They attacked us there in the second quarter and Durant was even on the bench and they made a run and took the lead in the second quarter. And then we gave up 26, 33 and 29 in the fourth. So just too many points defensively, just making errors, leaving shooters, didn't get the loose balls.
It just was a tough, tough outing, but you've got to give them credit. They wanted it more, and they came out swinging, and they deserved to win.

Q. It's been a while since you've lost, and so now you give up the home court advantage. Just talk about how things switched there just in this one game.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, tough loss, tough loss. But we feel we're a good road team. We won a game in Portland to close it out. We won two games in L.A. So I think we can compete on the road. We've just got to be a little sharper then we were in the first two. We said it after Game 1, we've got to be better on both ends, and we weren't. We weren't today, so we didn't deserve to win.
There was a stretch there in the fourth quarter where we were actually scoring. We just couldn't get the stops to close the gap. I thought there in the last three, four minutes that we really buckled down and got some stops, got some rebounds, but it was a little too late.

Q. Did you feel they did anything defensively different on you from this game compared to Game 1?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, they tried to keep the ball out of my hands a little more. I thought Collison actually was trying to front me a little bit, and that's why in the fourth quarter I actually got a lot of my catches at the high post because it's impossible to front there. So basically there in the fourth quarter I struck out my catches and tried to make some stuff happen.

Q. Did you find yourself in the fourth quarter waiting for them to put the starters back in?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah. If you tell me they leave Westbrook out in the whole fourth quarter and we don't get stops to win, that would have been tough. But you have to give Maynor credit. I thought their bench, like I said earlier, changed the game today, and they killed us there in the fourth. Harden made 23 points on 9 shots. That's a killer. And Maynor was phenomenal, really attacking.
I thought our bench was the better bench in Game 1, and their reserves really took that challenge today and they came out swinging and really took it to us and we were never ready for their reserves today.

Q. You guys talked a lot between the series about maintaining the physical and mental edge. Do you feel like your team relaxed at all after the sweep of the Lakers?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I guess defensively we did. You know, we took a step back from the first two series. You know, Portland and L.A. obviously are bigger teams, and now we're facing a different animal. We're facing athletes on the wing, and we're having a tough time getting some stops. Yeah, we've got to take the challenge and be better defensively and from the get-go, and we'll see what happens Saturday.

Q. When you look back on this loss, what aspect of it will be the most frustrating?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, like I said, there in the fourth quarter, that was the stretch where we just couldn't get any stops. That was really the ballgame. I think they pushed it up to a 10-point game, topped off with a tough shot over Jett to push it up I think eight or ten, can't really remember, in that stretch. We just didn't have it, couldn't get the stops we needed. We're usually a great fourth quarter team. We get stops. We go out and run and execute on the offensive end, but those couple minutes right there where they went up eight or ten, that was the killer.

Q. After playing your first two games at home, you guys head on the road now and play in a tough road environment. What is it going to take to pull out a win in Game 3 on the road?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Be sharper, sharper on the defensive end. Rebound the ball is always a key for us, but really the rebounds haven't really hurt us here the first two games. We've got to get up a little more and challenge them a little more and find the shooters. I thought that their shots really hurt us today. You know, I don't even think Durant made the difference there in the second half. It was their bench guys and Harden and Maynor in the fourth quarter.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that if you guys lost Game 2, that Game 1's performance wouldn't matter. Do you feel that way tonight? Do you feel that Oklahoma City has the momentum added to their house?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Definitely. Usually if you're a road team and you start in a tough building, usually you go for a split or you try to win one, and that's what they did. Yeah, they have the momentum. So we've got to go up there in a tough environment and a very loud building and execute and play Mavs basketball and get back to getting some stops like we did in the first two series, and I like our chances.

Q. What are the differences facing the Thunder compared to L.A. and Portland?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, like I said, they're a little more athletic. They're a little quicker, especially on the perimeter, and they've got some scorers there on the perimeter that are tough and can play off the dribble and can break you down. They're always on the move getting screens, moving, and they play well off each other. They're an athletic team, and they did a good job tonight.

Q. You guys were the overwhelming favorites obviously coming into this series with your stretch, and it seems like the country has kind of slowed to figure out that Oklahoma City is deserving to be here. Your thoughts on that? Have you guys as players realized they belong where they are coming into these Playoffs?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I never really care about who's the favorite. I never have. It's about getting the job done on the court. And yeah, obviously they beat good teams to get here. No team gets to the Western Conference by luck.
They're playing hard. They've got great leaders. They've got the stop scorer of the league, and they play tough. Yeah, they've got athletes on the perimeter, so obviously they belong here. And now they've got all the momentum, so we've got to snatch it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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