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May 23, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki



Q. Can you talk about the final minutes of regulation when you went on the 17-2 run, and do you consider this the best comeback this team has had in a postseason game?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, yeah, it's got to be up there. I can't remember another comeback like that when we kind of fumbled that rebound there, kick-out, Durant three. They were up 15, whatever, with six minutes to go, and obviously it didn't look great there.
But I think really our defense was unbelievable down the stretch. Trix and also J-Kidd did a wonderful job on Westbrook and Durant, making catches tough. The other guys were kind of helping and zoning, and really what was killing us all night long was offensive rebounds. They got a lot of tip-ins, tip-outs for shots, and finally I thought there in the last five minutes I only can recall one offensive rebound they had and same in overtime.
So really I thought our defense and our rebounding got us the win down the stretch.

Q. Did you feel like as that rally was happening by you guys that you were seeing a young team collapse, and did you feel like in OT you had it because they appeared to be pretty dejected, the fact the game went into overtime?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, you know, once we got to OT, we had to feel good about ourselves after being down 15 and making all that comeback, and we obviously talked about it in timeouts that we've got to go for it now. We're here and this is our ballgame, we've got to go for it. So that's what we talked about.
You know, I don't know, we're just a veteran team trying to play off each other, and finally I thought their getting stops and getting the rebounds, that kind of helps our offense the last couple minutes. We just ran down, we free flowed. I don't remember actually calling a play the last couple minutes. We just ran down and pick-and-rolled it and free flowed it.
Like I said, all season long I think when our defense is good and we rebound the ball, that's when our offense opens up and that helped us down the stretch.

Q. You've got diversity this year with Caron having an injury; Roddy's season being basically wasted. Do you feel like this comeback kind of is symbolic of really the resiliency and the spirit of this team?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I think, like I mentioned earlier, it's just a bunch of veterans with a lot of unique stories. A lot of guys been through a lot in this league and have been around forever, a bunch of guys have been to The Finals.
So it's a bunch of experienced guys that ultimately have one goal and came together and fought through some stuff, and we all understand that in the 82-game season there are a lot of ups and downs, and you've got to fight through some stuff, fight through injuries. Ultimately you've got to keep your eyes on the prize and keep going, fight through some stuff, and that's what we did.
Really, I mean, I'm proud of Jason Kidd, I mean, the way he battles on defense, the floor game he leads for us every night, the steals he gets, and then the huge three in the corner there in overtime to put us over the top and put us up by three. I tip my hat to him every night the way he competes.

Q. Talk about that pass out to J-Kidd, how much trust you had in him. It was kind of shades of the Boston game where you got doubled and you passed it out to him.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I was actually going to make a play there on the elbow against Collison, and then once I turned, I think Westbrook was kind of right there or right in between, so I didn't really have a good look and swung it over to Kidd, and he made a heck of a play I thought.
Westbrook closed out hard initially and tried to take his first three away, and he pump-faked and stuck with it and got his balance and made a big three for us.
You know, people still think that Kidd is not a good shooter, but over the years I think he proved everybody wrong. He made big shots for us this season ever since he got here. Any time he's open I think down the stretch it's going in.

Q. Could you tell a difference in their demeanor when it got below 10, like to 8? It looked they got a lot of shots.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, you know, I really think we stepped our defense up there down the stretch. We really got into them, and I give Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd a lot of credit there, trying to keep Westbrook out of the lane. He really got to the basket a bunch of times today, and Durant, trying to force his catches out a little deeper, and just making shots tough.
Then down the stretch it was a tight game. Shawn Marion had a huge block there on Durant. He had a three-pointer there that obviously could go in because he's so skilled and Shawn got up there and contested the shot and was able to get a hand on it. That was a huge play. I just think there were a bunch of huge plays down the stretch, and we were lucky to get the win.

Q. Could you talk about the suffocating defense on Kevin, and did you sense his frustration late in the game?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I didn't sense anything, but I know, like I said, we did a good job even helping him -- Shawn, when he came off down picks, we were kind of like right there. When he faced him up and iso'd Shawn with our bigs and Tyson did a good job protecting the rim down the stretch.
Yeah, so our defense was real phenomenal. Yeah, when you're down 15 with a couple minutes to go, you're obviously desperate. You've got to go for it on defense.
I think that the one three I shot was either do or die. At that point we were down 10, I think, so if it goes in, great, and if not, then it just wasn't our night. And we were able to get that three in. Then I was able to get one on the wing to go in where I was actually trying to draw a foul. So our defense really won us the game, and our flow on offense really helped us down the stretch.

Q. You've been on the other end of a few games like this. What do you think the Oklahoma City guys are feeling right now?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, you know, I've obviously had my fair share of leads and lost them. It's all part of the game. You know, it happens. It happens to the best teams in the league. The good thing about us, we didn't cave in there in the fourth. We hung in there, kept battling, even though it didn't look good but kept trying to make plays.
And it was a great comeback for us, definitely one of the best that I can remember being a Maverick, definitely in a very important game.
But we had some guys step up. I thought Haywood actually came through today playing big for us and making big plays. So I'm really proud of the guys how they battled.

Q. In Game 3, a young team was way behind against you, and they just didn't have time to catch up despite their youthful legs. You were down 15 with 5:04 to play. How is it even possible that your guys at your ages dug yourselves out of a hole that deep with that little margin for error?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I mean, in Game 3 I think really the lead in the first quarter kind of carried us through, even though they made a big run there in the third and the fourth with timely plays on both ends of the floor. We were able to pull it out even though the whole second half wasn't pretty and they made a huge run.
But yeah, today, I mean, it was almost over. I mean, if we get -- if we mess up one more time or give up one more offensive rebound, that would have been game. So we couldn't afford any mistakes down the stretch, and like I said, we were almost perfect.
I think Collison got one offensive rebound that I remember from a long, long board, but other than that, I think our defense was energetic. We were helping each other, we were talking, we were communicating, we were rebounding, and that's definitely as well as you can play down the stretch on the defensive end.

Q. Would you talk about being one win away from getting back to the NBA Finals and also the way you came back and won the game, do you think maybe perhaps you ripped Oklahoma City's hearts out tonight?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, I think they're going to come back in Game 5 and going to throw everything at us. Obviously, they're desperate now. But they showed they can win on our home court. They stole Game 2 there, so they're going to be confident, and we've got to take it.
Nothing is going to be given to you in this league, especially not in the Playoffs. So we can be a little happy now, but I think starting tomorrow we've got to get focused on Game 5 and just be more solid. They hit us early today, and we weren't quite ready the first quarter. Then the rebounds were killing us. So we've got a bunch of stuff to look at. Turnovers actually were big I thought in the first quarter. We turned the ball over a bunch. That's always an automatic basket against this team.
We've got some stuff to look at. We've got to be sharper and hopefully have a great effort in Game 5, and we'll go from there.

Q. Is this beginning at all to feel a little bit magical, special, the sweep and now a game like this?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, like I said, down 15 with a couple minutes left, that's as good as it gets, that comeback. So definitely it feels good to come back and close the game out in such a fashion. That was fun, but like I said, this series is not over. We need one more win, and we've got to just be sharper overall defensively early on in Game 5 and let our home court and our home fans kind of get us fired us and hopefully get that win.

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