Rick Carlisle spoke about Dirk Nowitzki’s performance and his team’s comeback win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
On whether his technical inspired his team:
It seemed to inspire the referees. Look, I’m not going to get into a big thing about the officiating. I stand up for my guys. If I think things are going on out there that aren’t fair, I’m going to fight for them. That’s just how I do business. If you get a technical once in a while, you get a technical once in a while. That was a long time ago, now.
On Shawn Marion’s performance:
He was great. We need him on the floor because of his defense, and offensively he’s given us points and playmaking. His movement on the court makes a lot of things happen for us.
On what he said to get his team going:
Just ‘hang in, let’s get some stops, let’s put some pressure on them.’ We hadn’t really put any pressure at all on them in two games. It’s hard because they put you in a lot of bad situations. They have breathtaking ability out there on the court. But by being solid and getting a couple of stops and then scoring, we got some momentum and it worked out.
On when he realized that they could come back:
Five minutes is a long time. If you’re getting stops and scores you can make up ground in a hurry. The key is to understand that there are no six point plays. You have to do it one play at a time. To win a championship series you have to have some good fortune, along with playing hard and giving yourself a chance.
On Nowitzki’s overall performance:
Rebounding was the biggest issue we had coming into this game. Guys did a much better job tonight and were more conscientious. Dirk had a great all-around game. He missed some shots early in the game, but he was getting double-teamed and he did a good job of making passes that led to opportunities for other guys. Defensively he kept a body on his man and cleaned up possessions with defensive rebounds.
On Nowitzki using his left hand to score late, despite a torn tendon in his finger:
Look, I played with Bird for three years when he was the best player in the world, and guys like that don’t feel pain right now. You play, and if you’re feeling pain you make yourself numb.
See Carlisle’s comments on nba.com.