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InsideHoops [NBA Playoffs]

Dirk Nowitzki Interview




| May 29, 2006

Dirk NowitzkiIn the 2006 NBA Playoffs the Dallas Mavericks lead the Phoenix Suns two games to one in the Western conference finals. Here's the Dirk Nowitzki interview in Game 3's post-game press conference:

Q. Dirk, can you talk about how well you guys were able to control the ball, especially as far as keeping the turnovers pretty low? I don't think you had any in the last 16, 17 minutes?

DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, I thought we really controlled the tempo great. I thought especially in the second half we got back in transition, which is big against this team. We only gave them 36 points in the second half and just were great defensively and offensively. We took our time. We wanted obviously to run when the chance was there. But if not we wanted to slow it down, look for some shots. I thought we didn't really make a lot of shots out there. Only shot 41%, but at least if you get a shot up every time and don't turn the ball over, you know, that keeps them from running too. If they have to play defense for 20, 24 seconds all the time and they don't get all the run outs that they do when you turn it over. So I thought obviously the tempo was a lot better in Game 2 and Game 3 as in Game 1 and I think that's a big key why we won both games.

Q. Dirk, another key was late in the game when you got the ball off the Thomas turnover and then after your miss you kept on controlling the ball. Can you talk about the importance of that stretch?

DIRK NOWITZKI: They were obviously right there with a couple minutes left, I missed the shot and Tim came down and bobbled the ball and Josh made a great play and took it in all the way. I mean, down the stretch you gotta be a little lucky too and I think that turnover was big, and we missed a couple shots down the stretch and Stack had two big offensive rebounds one he tipped out and one he got. So I think obviously when they play small lineup you gotta go in, get some offensive rebounds too, and we got 19 of them today, which was big.

Q. Dirk, what is Diop doing to become a factor in this series?

DIRK NOWITZKI: He's been doing it all season long for us. He's long. Is one of our best defenders down low, great shot blocker for us. He doesn't really care about offensive that much at all. If he gets touches or not. That's not his game. He brings energy for us. He brings length and shot blocking and he's been phenomenal. He's still young. He hasn't really had a chance to perform in this league in his four years in Cleveland. So, you know, he's fired up to play every night and he gives us energy and he's been big the last two games.

Q. Dirk, that one possession late lasted like a minute or something like that. Can you talk about how that can maybe break a team's will late in the game like that?

DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, you know, like I said, obviously big offensive rebound is big, and in our game it keeps possessions alive. It keeps the other guys on defense and that's really not where Phoenix wants to be is on defense. And, you know, like I said, Stack got in there a couple times, tipped the ball out. Got over Barbosa and got big rebound and kept possession alive. And like I said, offensively I didn't think we were great tonight. We had some great looks we just didn't make, but if you get in there and get your hands on balls and are active, I think that's a big key.

Q. Could you talk about Josh Howard's performance for you guys tonight also?

DIRK NOWITZKI: You know, he's been great. I think we really missed him in Game 1. We missed his athleticism on both ends of the floor. And Game 2 he was aggressive on the basket. He made some big shots today, made a heck of a play when he came out of nowhere and took the lob away from Shawn Marion. He's just... you know, we need his athleticism on the perimeter and we really missed him in Game 1. But he came out firing again tonight and he's a big key why we're up 2-1.

Q. What's the difference between Raja Bell not playing in the last two games that you guys have noticed?

DIRK NOWITZKI: Obviously they miss him. I watch obviously their series and he was great. He was making shots from all over the place. He's one of their best perimeter defenders. So obviously we got a little lucky. We got a break that he's not playing, but we all know basketball injuries are part of it, and we missed Josh in that first game. And, you know, good teams have to fight through injuries, and I'm sure they're going to battle back in Game 4.

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