It's ironic. Roughly 48 hours after the Dallas Mavericks are foolishly complimented by the sporting press on their lack of melodrama, forward Lamar Odom is exhiled from the locker room following a THAT'S IT! confrontation with Mr. Cuban. Rumors abound. In the meantime, the Mavs are still fighting for a slot in the playoffs. A game against the lottery-bait Sacramento Kings helps. Highlight-reel fodder includes monsterous dunks from Carter, West, and Wright, while 17 turnovers provide yardage for the blooper reel. In the end the Mavs held on for a 110-100 win. Eight games to go.
Briefly, the THAT'S IT! moment -- halftime on Saturday night ...
"[I asked Odom] 'Are you in or are you out?' He said, 'Stop playing games.' I said, 'I guess you're out.' If he doesn't want to play poker, we won't play poker. That's what I said ... It was a game where we've gotten back in the game and guys were fired up in the locker room. And he was emotionless, and that kind of was my trigger. This was a big game for us and he wasn't connecting to that. And if you're not positive energy, you're negative energy ... We tried to put him in a position to succeed. It didn't work." -Mark Cuban
The word around the ice bucket -- player thoughts on Odom's departure ...
"There's nothing to say. It's over. I guess as an organization we had to make that move to get him here. Things didn't work out the way we wanted to, so I'm not going to sit here and bash one of my ex-teammates." - Dirk Nowitzki
"I don't think the mood was any different. I think we all understand what's at stake. Our record, our performance, it doesn't just lay on L.O. It's everybody in this locker room. We've got to continue to get better." -Jason Kidd
"This is a team where we have a lot of veteran guys here, so we’ve dealt with worse. Just a situation where it wasn’t working out and management has decided to move on as has the team. So, we wish him luck in his future endeavors, but as far as the Dallas Mavericks, we are a team that is vying for playoff position and we’re ready to go forward." -Jason Terry
"Well he was a part of this team all year and I’m sorry that situation happened. Everybody is still going to compete and step up their scoring." - Shawn Marion
On Jason Kidd's return from a groin injury ...
"I feel great. My minutes were about where they should be for what we’re trying to accomplish and I didn’t have to go back in the fourth quarter. So, it was a win-win tonight. Overall, this is probably the best I’ve felt. Saying that, I just wanted to be aggressive, get the ball in the paint, make some things happen and get a win." -Jason Kidd
"Our biggest difference is Jason Kidd is back. When you have your leader, your point guard, I think that's more of what we're looking at with the feel of everything out here." -Jason Terry
"He's amazing. And he just needs to be Kidd on the court and help us win ballgames." -Shawn Marion
"I thought, for a guy that’s been out 10 days, it’s remarkable how he comes back and plays -- almost always plays well the first game back and has a real impact. It’s a sight for sore eyes to see him out there and see him moving well, not be in pain." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"He’s the leader of the pack. You know, when somebody comes back off of injury, you don’t really look at the basketball they played, you look at the movement. And I thought he moved well. He drove a couple of times, he had a spin move going to the cup trying to finish, he had a blocked shot, which I haven’t seen basically since he’s been here." -Dirk Nowitzki
... wait, he blocked a shot? on Donte Greene? who's six inches taller than he is? ...
"I was just jumping. All of a sudden, I put the ball on the backboard. I think it surprised both of us." -Jason Kidd
Speaking of returns, Ian's back -- status of the Mahimni family, including newborn Camille ...
"She's beautiful and her mom is doing fine ... The birth of my girl is completely different than winning a championship. That was great, but this right here, this is on a whole different level."" -Ian Mahimni
Regarding the Wright/Mahimni combination ...
"We were going to look at that lineup with Brandan Wright and Mahinmi at power forward and center, and Mahinmi got taken out of it with fouls early ... We got a lot of offensive rebounds tonight, which was an important part of the game. I like the concept of it, but we've got to be able to keep Mahinmi on the floor with his fouls. We'll see. We'll move forward and do what we've got to do." -Coach Rick Carlisle
The Mavs Off the Bench -- underestimate them at your own risk ...
"We pretty much scouted down to their primary guys, but some other guys made some plays to help stretch that lead a little bit. And of course you have closers that will come back into the game; Vince did the finger roll missed lay up, then he came back with a powerful dunk, so he still has it in his legs a little bit." -Coach Keith Smart
"Their bench did a great job. Obviously Beaubois and Brendan Wright, guys coming in and obviously Jason Terry coming in and making shots and playing well. You’ve got to expect that from their bench. They’re going to come in and give them a lift." -Jimmer Fredette
Rim-hanging not advised for people wearing finger splints ...
"When [West] went and dunked the ball and did a chin-up on the rim -- if you have a broken hand, it’s going to hurt. But look, the only way he knows how to go is all out. That’s who he is. If we try to take that away from him, even with a busted hand, he’s not going to be the same player and we all know it. I made the observation and then Jet immediately said, 'That’s the only way he knows how to play.' – And he’s right." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"Pain is a hell of a reminder ... Go hard or go home, man. These type of games, every possession is important. You’ve got to go to the basket strong." -Delonte West
On Yi Jianlian's stunningly efficient production ...
"Yi played four minutes and made four baskets and was huge for us. It energized us, kept us going. Even though we didn’t play a great first half because we were turning it over, his hoops made a big difference for us." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"Well, that’s what happens a guy who’s been sitting over there patiently waiting for an opportunity, and the right situation happens in a game and he made some big shots." -Coach Keith Smart
In short ...
"It was great. Everybody played tonight and it was good." -Shawn Marion
"That’s what good teams do. They keep throwing punches at you and we kept coming and trying to get it down." -Jimmer Fredette
Onward and (hopefully) upward ...
"If we don't play well, we're out, so it's easier said than done. But the big thing is that it's for us to go and get, and hopefully we're up for that challenge.'' -Jason Kidd
"We owe those guys [Golden State] one." -Brandan Wright
(h/t's to DB.com, ESPN, DMNews and The 75-Member Staff)