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May 21, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki



Q. You had to kind of like your chances after you were able to rest early in that game and you had the big lead, but you knew you would be able to come back with energy, I assume?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I don't know about all that, but great defensive effort, I think, early on really set the tone for us. Trix really taking the challenge. I thought Stevenson was great early, and really that set our offense up there in the first half. We didn't really call a lot of plays out there. We just played off our defense, moved the ball, got some good shots, got some good looks and really executed there well in the first half.
Second half was a little rougher, got a little stagnant again here and there and really had to grind it out there in the second half. I thought we fought through some stuff, and we kept our composure when they made a run and made some big plays down the stretch, some pull-ups. Jet hit one, I hit a couple, and I thought Kidd played a great floor game for us and really dictated the game.

Q. Jason Terry told me in the locker room you guys wanted to come out angry. Do you think you did that?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I thought -- I don't know about angry but just have a little bit more aggression to our play on the defensive end, make everything a little harder, get up on defense.
I thought we felt, especially last game, everything was a little too easy, especially for their bench players. And we did a good job today, I thought, on Harden, on Maynor, those guys coming in, and we really gave them nothing easy. To hold a very good offensive team or explosive offensive team to 36 percent shooting at home, that's very good and really won us the game.
I thought offensively, like I said, we didn't really have much going there in the second half, but our defense kept being solid and won us the game.

Q. You started the Game 2 for 10 and you ended up responding after that. What happened initially and how did you bounce back from that?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, first half I didn't really need much. Guys were great. Like I said, we had our offense going from our defense, and then there in the second half I probably tried to force some stuff and then should have just moved the ball on some occasions.
And then there in the fourth quarter just found a little airspace on a couple pull-ups. I think that was the way to go. I obviously didn't get a lot of whistles going to the basket, so I had to go with the one or two dribbles and up, and that created some separation and got some good looks and was able to knock some down.

Q. How encouraging is it for you knowing that you had an off-night offensively tonight but yet you had enough guys step up on the team that you can still pick up a big win like this on the road?
DIRK NOWITZKI: First of all, I think Shawn Marion was great today on both ends of the floor, and he gets a lot of credit, kept some balls alive, kept getting to the basket and hit some big floaters when they were making a run there in the third quarter. He had some post-ups there and some layups that were great. And like I said, we kept making plays.
I mean, the building was loud. They made their run in the end, and our defense stayed solid, kept forcing them into some tough shots. We were rebounding the ball. Tyson was phenomenal in the paint, and J-Kidd had a great floor game. Jet and myself were off, so I guess we'll take a win. If our top two shooters and top guns are off like that and we still win the game, that's a tribute to our defense.

Q. They were 1 for 17 from three-point range and they're not a great three-point shooting team, but that kind of sums up what you guys did against the Lakers. What specifically did you guys do?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I thought we contested some, but they also had some good looks, and we've got to be even sharper in Game 4. I thought I lost a couple times there in the fourth quarter where we got lucky a little bit. I thought Durant had some good looks here and there.
In Game 4 those are going to be in where we've got to be sharper and close out even better. But really we've just got to come out with the same intensity and focus on the defensive end, and I think that's going to help us in Game 4.

Q. Up 23 points in the second half, they cut it down to two, Portland same thing happened, but this time you closed the show. What was the mentality like? What were you all saying to yourselves to come out and get this victory and not let another Portland happen?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I don't think it was two. It might have been four was the closest I remember. But we knew they were going to make a run in the second half. I mean, they're a good team, and they obviously have a lot of weapons.
We knew in the second half it's going to be a dog fight, and that's exactly what happened. They made a run, and we stuck together. I think in Portland there, one thing came to another, and we lost that big lead, but today in the fourth quarter we got big stops when we needed, got the rebounds and got some pull-ups to go. Yeah, I thought we fought through a lot there in the second half, but we stuck together and grinded it out.

Q. When you have a tough game like that and especially a tough third quarter, is there ever any hesitancy or thoughts about wanting the ball in your hand down the stretch and continue to be aggressive?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I felt, like I said, we didn't really have a lot going there in the second half offensively, so I've got to keep attacking for this team like I have the last, whatever, 13 years. This team needs me to score and keep being aggressive, and my teammates obviously support me and find me in good positions where I can make plays.
Yeah, I've got to keep coming. I've got to keep being aggressive for this team, and that's what I tried to do there in the fourth quarter and got a couple pull-up to go.

Q. Just how difficult is it for you guys to keep Kevin Durant under control? I mean, this is a guy that can explode. He was 2 for 13 at one point and didn't really seem to be in the game much.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I thought, like I said, Trix really took the challenge which put Stevenson on him some, which was to me our best permanent defender. We just tried to make a work. He's such a good player and so explosive, he can shoot over him. He can drive both ways. He can post-up. So he still got, whatever, 24 points because he got to the line some and still made some pull-ups.
He's the leading scorer in this league, but I thought we did a good job trying to make him take some tough shots, and he still made some, but I still credit Stevenson and Marion and even Kidd, the way he battles. That was great.

Q. The bench has led to the winner in each of these three games. What did you see from your bench tonight?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I agree. I guess that's the X factor in this series. We did a good job today. And Harden and Maynor, I thought they were the game winners in Game 2, how they made tough shots for them and really picked up their energy when their starters were out.
We talked about that obviously as a team, and our bench responded today being physical and really forcing them into some shots they didn't like. Our bench came through today, and hopefully we're going to have some of the same in the fourth game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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