Practice Report (04/11/12)
Earl K. Sneed reports from the Dallas Mavericks' Wednesday practice in San Francisco as the team works out its chemistry issues.
Practice Report (04/11/12)
SAN FRANCISCO — After responding from back-to-back losses to Portland and Memphis over the weekend with Tuesday night’s much-needed 110-100 home win over the Sacramento Kings, the defending champion Dallas Mavericks returned to practice with a collective team spirit.
Coming together with one of their best overall team efforts of the season following the mutual parting of ways between the front office and forward Lamar Odom, the Mavericks (32-26) remained in the seventh position in the Western Conference playoff race. Now, with just eight games remaining on the schedule, the Mavs will try to build chemistry and consistency on the fly as they begin a pivotal four-game road trip.
That process began Wednesday as the Mavericks reconvened for practice in San Francisco after leaving Dallas immediately following Tuesday night’s win. And with the start of the trip coming against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, the reigning titleholders will try to kick-start their journey away from home by avenging a 111-87 loss in Oakland on March 10.
“Well, we wanted to get a good sweat, wanted to do some shooting, wanted to do some defensive work and get keyed in on tomorrow and really what we need to do heading into the trip,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the team’s workout. “So, it’s a big five days for us.”
He added: “I like (getting to town early), I think it helps. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I think it helps.”
While the adjustment to the new time zone might not guarantee a victory Thursday night, it did offer Carlisle an opportunity to experiment more with his ever-changing rotation as the health of the team improved with the return of point guard Jason Kidd on Tuesday after missing four games with a strained right groin. The practice time also allowed the team to work on its chemistry as the squad tries to move forward following the season-long saga of Odom’s struggles.
“This is a good team. I think we have a solid chemistry,” new addition and backup big man Brandan Wright said. “I think it’s more from outside the locker room, people think we’re not on the same page. Inside the locker room, it was unfortunate with the Lamar incident, but we’re on the same page. We want to make it to the playoffs.”
And according to Carlisle, that chemistry will manifest itself in the way the Mavericks play as a collective unit together on the floor.
“We have a lot of things to work on with our chemistry,” Carlisle admitted. “We’re gonna have some different rotations with our second unit and there’s gonna be fluidity with it. So, you know, we’ve gotta get together quickly really on both sides of the ball. Our problems last night early in the game were more at the defensive side of the ball, it wasn’t offense. We were getting some good shots and we were making some good things happen. We had too many turnovers, but I’m more concerned with our chemistry defensively.”
Note: The Mavericks will now begin a four-game road trip in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. The Warriors lead the season series after a 111-87 home win over the defending champions on March 10. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on TNT at 9:30 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to the American Airlines Center on April 18 when they play host to the Houston Rockets. The Mavs lead the season series 2-0 and will go for the sweep. That game will air locally on TXA 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Single-game tickets are on sale and available at the American Airlines Center North Box Office, online at mavs.com, via phone by calling 214-747-MAVS or 1-800-4NBA-TIX and all Ticketmaster outlets (Fiesta Grocery Stores, Wal-Mart, Simon Mall in Garland and the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano).