Practice report: Mavs ramp up for rival Spurs
Practice report (01/24/13)
Mavs ramp up for rival Spurs
Winning five of their last six games, the Mavericks (18-24) will finally return to the court Friday night against a San Antonio squad that has already beaten the Dallas team twice this season. With that said, the Mavs will have revenge on their minds as they try to continue their hot play against the Spurs (34-11), who will be riding a six-game winning streak into the American Airlines Center.
“Well, we’re happy that we’re playing a lot better basketball but we’re not satisfied,” eight-time All-Star Vince Carter said following Thursday’s practice. “I think we still have a long way to go. We can feel even better about ourselves when we’re in a playoff position, in my opinion. I think yes, it’s great we’re playing better basketball, but we put ourselves in this hole and we’re trying to climb back out right now. So we’re doing what we need to do just to get back in the race more than anything. I think for us, we just need to remain humble, remain hungry and continue to play the style of basketball we’ve been playing. I think we can’t get comfortable and complacent just because we’ve won a couple of games now and we’ve beat some of the better teams. These are the games that we have to win. We don’t have room for error right now, so I think we understand that.”
“It’s been good. We’ve had three solid days and it’s a long stretch, so it’s time to play a game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. “We’re looking forward to tomorrow. … It’s mostly about how we do things. When you get into a stretch where there’s a lot of games and not a lot of practice time, you have slippage in the area of spacing and cutting. You have slippages defensively on rotations and assignments, and this time period is not about putting a bunch of new things in. It’s getting your foundation blocks and making sure that they’re solid.”
Through balanced play, team defense and scrappiness, the Mavericks have begun the process of digging out of a hole that was at its deepest back on Jan. 9 when the team fell 10 games below .500. That came after two double-digit losses to the Spurs within a week’s span on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.
Friday, the Mavericks will try to contain the Southwest Division-leading Spurs in the third of four regular-season meetings between the in-state rivals after San Antonio notched their sixth straight victory with a 106-102 home win over New Orleans Wednesday night without the services of both Kawhi Leonard (left knee contusion) and Tim Duncan (sore left knee). And even with their availability for Friday night uncertain, Carlisle knows that his team will have a fight on its hands as the Mavs try to build off their recent momentum.
“I think they’re still playing great,” Carlisle said of the Spurs. “Regardless of who plays, they’re a great team, they have a system that they plug everybody into and last night they were without two starters but they still beat a good team in New Orleans that had the lead most of the night. So they’re going to play well. That’s not a question. It’s got to be about our approach to the game. We’ve got to bring disposition and intelligence to this game, and we’ve got to make sure we’re always on the attack.”
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.