Practice report: Mavs reflect on 13-year anniversary of Cuban's purchase, begin working Dirk with starters
Earl K. Sneed reports from the Dallas Mavericks' Friday practice, where 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle reflected on the 13-year anniversary of Mavs owner Mark Cuban's purchase of the team.
Practice report (01/04/13)
Mavs reflect on 13-year anniversary of Cuban's purchase, begin working Dirk with starters
Reflecting on Cuban’s impact on the Mavericks (13-20) since taking over the front office, 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle couldn’t hide their admiration for the passion the owner has shown while bringing an NBA title to Dallas during his tenure. Still, with the Mavs currently sitting seven games below .500, both know the team has work to do in order to continue Cuban’s winning tradition.
“I remember him walking into Reunion [Arena] basically like this is his house and it was. That’s how he walked in there,” Nowitzki joked as he reminisced back to first meeting Cuban after the purchase of the team was made official. “I mean, you’ve got to give him credit. He made this a first-class organization over his 13 years and made it a place to be again for NBA players, which the '90s obviously weren’t. We had like 10 50-win seasons in a row or whatever it is, which shows a lot under his reign. So it’s been amazing, obviously topped off with a championship in '11.”
“I remember when the team was bought, because we played here not long after the team was bought and they were going through a tough period,” said Carlisle, who was an assistant coach in Indiana at the time. “I remember talking to Donnie Nelson before the game and he was one of the assistant coaches, and I just asked him, ‘Have you met the new owner?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, we met him and everything is going to be great. He’s going to be great for the city and great for the franchise.’ It certainly turned out to be that way, so a lot of the rest is history and now we’re trying to rebuild a championship team, which is work.”
Nowitzki followed up his first double-figure scoring night of the season — scoring 11 points in a 103-94 win at Washington on Tuesday — with a season-high 19 points in 29 minutes of action off the bench against the defending champion Heat. Now, with leading scorer O.J. Mayo tallying 30 points in the defeat to Miami, the Mavericks figure to have two closers on the floor at the same time while also possibly working Nowitzki back into a starting role when they welcome in No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday before the start of a three-game road trip in Utah on Monday.
“We still have to understand the spacing that [Nowitzki] needs when he gets the ball in certain areas, but today was actually the first time that he practiced with the starting unit, so a lot of the times when we’ve been playing together it has just been in games,” Mayo said. “I thought today went well playing with the starting unit and getting to see where we get him the ball in great situations and we have to understand our spacing. Sometimes we got him the ball in the right areas, but our spacing wasn’t good and they forced him into some turnovers. So we’ve got to continue to grow in that area and we will. It was a great practice today and we’ve got to carry it over to the game tomorrow.”
He added: “[Nowitzki] brings patience to the game and I think we all can learn from that. Him being such a dominant player for so many years in this league, he brings a great poise to our game and we’ve just got to continue building and getting better.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action at home on Saturday night, hosting No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. It’s the first of four regular-season meetings between the two teams this season. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.