I’m not going to make an excuse about a layoff that ended light years ago by NBA standards. Sometimes you get your butt kicked, and you take it like a man and hey, we’ve got to respond. They just played well, and we got in a situation where we were down 10, which was tough. We had to pitch a shutout to give ourselves a chance, which was tough.
A seven-game series is long. A lot of things go on. A lot of emotions going on. When you win, you feel jubilant. When you lose, it’s really tough. They were just more aggressive. They were more aggressive defensively. They took it personally, and they responded and now we have to respond. We’re a team that was a good road team during the regular season. We’ve got to play and do it between the lines.
James [Harden] has been improving ever since we drafted him. We have a lot of confidence in him. He made big basketball plays. He is a playmaker, and I thought he did it all tonight. I thought he’s, since we made the trade, stepped up to another level. Our second-half defense was good. We’re playing against one of the premier teams in basketball. It was good. I told our guys playing perfect is impossible, but playing hard is possible.
Dirk (Nowitzki) is one of the best players offensively at that spot. We saw that a couple nights ago. We did a good job of getting into him. It’s not easy. The guy still had nearly 30 points. That tells you how great he really is.
We always felt confident in our bench. The 50 points they gave us was the game. They did a really good job. It’s good that the guys came in and chipped in for us.
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