Practice report (01/17/13): Mavs prepare for 'juggernaut' Thunder
Practice report (01/17/13)
Mavs prepare for 'juggernaut' Thunders
But after three straight wins against teams on the second night of back-to-backs, the Mavericks (17-23) admit that they can’t afford to get too high after taking care of business against tired opponents. They also know the challenge that awaits when the reigning Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder comes to town Friday night along with the NBA’s best record.
“You know, I don’t want to overrate these wins,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “I mean, all those teams that came in here were on back-to-backs and we took it to them early, and that’s what you’re supposed to do at home when a team comes in a little tired. And we took care of business, so at least it was good that we won the games.”
“We got stops when we needed, we played great in our offensive flow sets and we still have a lot of mistakes that we have to correct,” backup big man Elton Brand added as he summed up the team’s winning streak. “You know, Coach [Rick Carlisle] alluded to some of [the wins] as being ‘fool’s gold,’ so we know we have to get better in order to keep winning.”
Looking to avenge a 111-105 overtime road loss to the Thunder (31-8) back on Dec. 27 in Oklahoma City, however, the Mavs are well aware that they will have to once again step up their level of play in order to finish their homestead without a blemish. And after watching a15-point lead over Houston evaporate Wednesday night in the fourth quarter before eventually finishing off the Rockets down the stretch, the Mavericks will try to execute for a full 48 minutes against the likes of three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder’s high-octane lineup.
“Well, I think we’re competing. I think we’ve still got plenty of room to improve,” Nowitzki said. “We’ve made some mistakes, especially with leads. We’re giving the leads away way too quick, so we’ve got to make sure we stay solid and make solid plays on both ends of the floor; not give up layups, not give up free throws and on offense still keep moving the ball and taking good shots. So I think sometimes we get a little carried away when we have a lead, so we’ve got to make sure we protect leads better and we’ve got to keep on working. We know that to get even better. We’ve got a great team coming in here tomorrow night and it should be a fun challenge.”
The Mavericks will now return to action at the American Airlines Center for the finale of their four-game homestand Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder leads the season series 1-0 after downing the Mavs in a 111-105 overtime road loss on Dec. 27. The game will air locally at 8:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.