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June 7, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki


Miami Heat 83
Dallas Mavericks 86

Q. Dirk, word was spreading today that you were a little under the weather and that you had 103 degree fever. How high did your fever get today?
DIRK NOWITZKI: It wasn't 103, but it was like 101 this morning. I didn't really have a good night's rest, so it was just under the weather a little bit, but just battle it out. I think it didn't look good there in the fourth quarter when we were down nine, but energy and defense really picked us up. Didn't shoot the ball well again. Had some good looks there in the fourth, but our defense grinded it out.

Q. Dirk, what was the sick? The flu? What other symptoms did you have and what's the long-term prognosis?
DIRK NOWITZKI: There's no long-term. I'll be all right on Thursday. It's a little sinus infection. Hopefully I'll get some sleep tonight. Take some meds and be ready to go on Thursday.
Just had a couple -- couldn't really finish around the rim. Had a couple of good looks today, but just really no lift. But like I said, the crew was outstanding. I thought Jet took it really upon himself today in the fourth when we were down nine. He made two back-to-back plays to get us right back in the game. So he was phenomenal today.

Q. Dirk, went a little bit early to the right for the lay-up, which put you guys up initially. Walk us through that.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Really, I was going to play the clock down, but I saw I had a little opening there. So I just went for it. I just went for it. Was able to rip through and go to the right. They really played my left, which obviously the whole league does. So I was able to rip through and get to my right and finally finish a lay-up. I thought I missed four or five good looks around the rim today. Kind of bounced around, bounced out. So that was unfortunate, but I was able to get one in. So that was good.

Q. Dirk, obviously one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history was about 13 years ago when Michael Jordan was sick as a dog and scored well over 30 points and led his team. At any point in this game did you think about that? And did you think about trying to overcome adversity in a game that your team had to win?
DIRK NOWITZKI: You know, this is The Finals. You're going to leave it out there. Like I said earlier in the series, I think everybody -- it's June. We've been playing on a high level for eight, nine months. So everybody has a little something going, and this is The Finals. You have to go out there and compete and try your best for your team. So that's what I did.
I never thought about MJ's performance. I was way off, looking at my line.

Q. Dirk, just talk about Wade missing those free throws and what came after that.
DIRK NOWITZKI: I mean, that was a big free throw. First of all, I think we had a bunch of good looks there. I think Jet had one rattling out from the top of the key. He had one from the right wing, he had one from the left wing. And those are usually money for us in the fourth quarter. Then I think D-Steve had one in the left corner, who could have iced it. Wide-open look. So we had our good looks. Then Wade had a big run-out. And J-Kidd was able to get to him and foul him and, you know, the first one kind of bounced up and went in. And the second one a very fortunate roll for us. It was kind of in and rolled out and I was able to get the rebound that led to our last possession. And I was able to get to the rim.
Hey, it's been always -- besides Game 1, all the games are like right there. A couple of bounces, a couple of defensive stops here and there could have gone either way. So sitting at a 2-2 right now. Obviously would love to get Game 5 at home before we go back to Miami. So that's a big game for us on Thursday.

Q. What did you think about his play up until that point?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Phenomenal player. He's making tough shots this series from all over the place. He's getting to the rim and finishing like nobody else. Yeah, he's an unbelievable player.

Q. Dirk, is Game 5 a must-win for you? Can you talk about the defensive effort as a team you played on LeBron James. Held him to eight points on 3 of 11.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I think our base did a good job helping on the screen-and-rolls. So that was big.
And obviously, yeah, we would love to get Game 5 here. Don't want to go to Miami down 3-2, knowing they have two chances to close us out. Big game Thursday. Like I said, I thought our defense won us the game. To give up 14 points to an explosive team with LeBron, with Bosh and Wade on one team, if you give up 14 points in the quarter to close it out, I think that's huge.
So hopefully we can carry that defense over into Game 5, and then we'll see what happens.

Q. Dirk, in the previous win you had, you rebounded very well after you guys had been kind of outdone on the boards. And you did it again tonight. You stand on the low blocks in particular doing a lot of the dirty work. Is that because you were sick and you really couldn't do too much, or was that part of the design to kind of battle on the boards?
DIRK NOWITZKI: First of all, I think they killed us on the glass in the first quarter. I think they had like ten offensive rebounds, or nine. Somewhere around there. And we obviously had to address that. We talked about it in between first quarter and second quarter, how we had to improve in that area. And then I think after that, we did a nice job. They only had a couple more, a handful more for the rest of the game. So that was big.
Look, we're not a great rebounding team, so I think we got to have all five guys in there battling. Our go-to lineup sometimes is small with Kidd and Jet, one and two. So that means we're small there. We got to have five guys in there battling. We can't have anybody leak out. I think after the first quarter we did a better job protecting the paint and Tyson obviously with 16 boards was phenomenal.

Q. Dirk, can you talk about J.J. in the second quarter. It seemed like he took that ball to the hole and came strong in the third quarter and got some key shots. But then Kidd played awesome defense tonight. No points, but 38 minutes of great defense.
DIRK NOWITZKI: First of all, I think Kidd never ceases to amaze me. He can dominate a game without scoring one point. We've seen it the last three years here together, what kind of all-around player he is without even scoring. How he facilitates, how he defends, and how he runs the show is amazing.
He's been great. I thought J.J. had some good looks again. But he kept attacking. You have to love the little guy. Fearless. Kept getting in there, had some tough finishes, tough lay-ups that went in. We need him to attack off the dribble, because he's good getting to the lane. Once you get to the lane against a team, they really suck in hard and open some of our shooters up. So J.J. has to keep attacking.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dirk.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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