Most of the talk surrounding the Dallas Mavericks’ fourth-quarter comeback in Game 4 is revolving around Dirk Nowitzki’s performance despite being sick. And rightfully so. However, the performance of Tyson Chandler cannot go unnoticed and it has to be a welcome sign for a Mavs team that needs him badly for the rest of the series.
Chandler, who has seen his role increase as Brendan Haywood has been very limited with a hip injury, played a whopping 43 minutes in the 86-83 victory Tuesday night that knotted the Finals series at 2-2. Chandler matched his series high with 13 points and pulled in a Finals-best 16 rebounds, nine of them at the offensive end.
Along with a higher point total from Jason Terry, Chandler’s help was just what the under-the-weather Nowitzki needed. And seeing more production and less foul trouble from Chandler is what the Mavs will need if they want to win this series.
Tyson Chandler joined ESPN Radio Dallas with The Ben and Skin Show to discuss his Game 4 performance, Coach Rick Carlisle allowing the players to have an input, what he’s feeling with the series tied 2-2, what it was like playing with an ill Dirk in the fourth quarter, the intensity on the floor in the Finals and DeShawn Stevenson’s willingness to come off the bench.
With Brendan Haywood only able to play three minutes, how did he stay out of foul trouble to post 13 points and 16 rebounds in 43 minutes?:
“I knew coming in that I had to be more aggressive than the last game. In the last game I tried to stay out of foul trouble and we ended up taking the ‘L.’ I wanted to be aggressive out there, try to get my teammates some second shots … just really try to be active.”
On Coach Carlisle allowing his players to have input on substitutions and how things should work:
“I absolutely love it because he’s a coach that’s not afraid to allow his players to speak up. If we see something on the floor, offensively or defensively, he’s willing to take suggestions because he knows that we’re out there. There’s no ego on this team whatsoever, from our head coach down. It’s all about winning and you’ve got to appreciate playing for a team like that.”
What’s he feeling like knowing that the series is tied 2-2 at this point?:
“I’m honestly just going game by game, but I know I’m two games away from the ultimate goal. I’m just thinking about putting it out there every single second that I’m there, on the floor, giving my team an opportunity to win.”
On being a big part of the fourth-quarter comeback and watching Dirk put up that type of performance while being sick:
“I honestly felt terrible for him. I looked at the guy and he was having trouble walking, having trouble speaking. … At that point I was just like, ‘We have to do something to get past this game. I’m not going to allow this guy, with everything that he’s going through, to go out like this.’”
What’s it like on the floor at this point? More heated than normal?:
“I think it’s just what’s at stake. I think it’s two teams giving it there all out there, every single second that we’re on the floor. You definitely may not like each other because of what you’re going through out there on the floor, but I can tell you one thing, we both have respect for one another because we’re giving it our absolute all out there.”
On DeShawn Stevenson posting his best game of the Finals coming off the bench in Game 4:
“For him to keep his focus and his poise at this point in the season was huge for us. Guys can take [coming off the bench] a different way, guys can pout and throw a little temper tantrum and affect the team. He wasn’t willing to do that, he took it like a man, accepted it, came off the bench and was huge for us.”