Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively on late mom: 'I can feel her looking down on me'

Dallas Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively has played a large role in the team's playoff success.

Lively was fantastic in the Mavs closeout game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

While performing on the court, Lively has had a lot to deal with off the court.

He lost his mother, Kathy Drysdale, just a month ago after a decade-long cancer battle.

READ MORE: Dallas Mavericks' Dereck Lively II named to NBA All-Rookie Second Team

Throughout the playoff run, Lively has made a point to mention her after every game.

The rookie says his mother taught him to "sink or swim" and that he knows she is looking down on him.

"I can hear her. She was there, she was jumping in the air she was jumping on the couch, she was making all the noise she possibly can. I could feel her looking down on me," said Lively when asked about he learned about himself during the series against the Thunder.

Lively said he not only thinks about her praise, but also her push to make him as good as he can be.

"I could hear her talk about a couple missed free throws, a couple missed buckets, couple turnovers. I could hear that more than anything," he said. "My mom's not going to sit there and live on the highness. She's going to focus on the details and things I need to get right."

Lively will be put to the test in the Western Conference FInals against Timberwolves bigs Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Sixth-Man of the Year Naz Reid.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals tips off at 7:30 p.m.