Practice report (01/22/13): Mavs return to practice amid four-day break
Practice report (01/22/13)
Mavs return to practice amid four-day break
But, after taking Monday off, the Mavericks (18-24) returned to the practice court Tuesday ready to make the best of the layoff between games before welcoming to the American Airlines Center on Friday night a hot San Antonio Spurs team that’s on a five-game winning streak.
“Clean up things,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said when asked what the plan for his team is during the break in the schedule. “We’ve got to work on a lot of situations. We want to get the right amount of work and strengthening, those kinds of things, and then we have to taper it off towards the end of the week, 'cause we’ve got a game on Friday.”
“I mean, four days off in the middle of the season usually doesn’t happen much, so we’ve got to make the best of it,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “You know, I thought we were going to mix some rest with some work. Looks like we’re mixing more work than rest. But we got a good day in today — short and quick and explosive. We worked on some stuff, so it will be another long one tomorrow. Thursday, we’ll probably back off a little bit and be ready for a huge game Friday. I mean, they’ve beat us a couple times earlier this year, so we’ve got to be ready for a great game Friday.”
Fresh off Sunday’s 111-105 victory in Orlando, the Mavericks will try to continue trending in the right direction when they do eventually get back to action against a Spurs squad that seized two double-digit wins over Dallas in the month of December. Meanwhile, Carlisle continued to stress to his players the importance of balanced play while not looking for Nowitzki to take on the scoring burden by himself, after praising his team for sharing the wealth with 29 assists while seven scorers reached double figures in the win over Orlando.
“I felt we were going to have to have balance (coming into the season). You know, Dirk’s health situation was a mitigating circumstance, for sure. That meant we had to get a lot of guys really engaged in the scoring,” the coach said after Nowitzki shot just 4-for-11 in his 15th appearance since preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.
He added: “If you look around the league, though, the league is becoming more of a strength-in-numbers league and you’ve got to have depth and you’ve got to have four or five guys in double figures every night to be a consistent winner, so it’s important for us. It’s importance to keep the minutes moderate, particularly with our veteran guys, so we don’t get those guys worn down. And again, this week is about getting better on the one hand and yet not killing these guys on the other, but we’ve got to get a certain amount of conditioning in.”
Led by backup big man Elton Brand and eight-time All-Star Vince Carter, the Mavericks have also continued to get a strong contribution from their bench. But it’s not just scoring that the second unit and the entire roster must provide, according to Carter, if the Mavs are going to close in on their three-game gap for the eighth and final playoff position.
And with that said, the Mavs focused Tuesday on not allowing their offensive success to lead to a negative influence on the defensive side of the floor, currently ranking 10th in the league in scoring with 100.2 points a night and 28th in points allowed while giving up 102.9 points an outing.
Note: The Mavericks will return to action Friday night at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs lead the season series 2-0 after two double-digit wins back in December. The game will air locally at 7 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.