Preview: Mavs head to Phoenix looking to end road woes
Earl K. Sneed reports from Phoenix and previews the Dallas Mavericks' Thursday night matchup against the Suns, as the Mavs play the middle game of their three-game road trip after a disappointing loss in L.A.
Preview: Mavericks (8-10) at Suns (7-12)
Mavs head to Phoenix looking to end road woes
Routed by the L.A. Clippers in a nationally-televised matchup, 112-90, the Mavericks (8-10) continued their road woes with a disappointing start to their current trip. And after falling to just 2-7 on the road this season following the lopsided loss, the Mavs won't have much time to digest the defeat before returning to action in front of another national audience Thursday on the second night of a back-to-back in Phoenix.
Continuing to play without the services of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki as he nears a return from arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19, the Mavs lacked enough firepower to matchup the Clippers' high-octane lineup. The end result was a clear-cut separation on the scoreboard.
“We’ve gotta take this and learn from it,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion said while trying to shift his attention to Thursday night. “We can’t sit here and dwell on this too much, we’ve got to play one (Thursday). But it’s frustrating right now. It’s a tough loss to come in here and be embarrassed like that on national TV.”
Still, the Mavericks will try to shake off the loss as they invade the U.S. Airways Center, looking to feast on a Phoenix Suns squad that is skidding as well after its longest road trip of the season. And with the Suns (7-12) entering the night as losers of four straight and looking to feed off their home crowd, the Mavs will try to feast off a Phoenix defense that is worst in the league while allowing 102.9 points per game this season.
In order to capitalize on the Suns' poor defense play, however, the Mavs admit they must first take better care of the ball, after tying a season-high with 22 turnovers for 26 Clippers points Wednesday night. And with the Suns also hoping to extend the visiting Mavericks' road losing skid to four, taking better care of the ball is sure to be the top priority for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.
“I didn’t like the turnovers,” Carlisle said after Wednesday night's loss. “I thought the turnovers keyed most of our problems. I know they’re a more physical team than us, and so I’ve been saying it consistently here for a number of weeks: everything we do we’ve got to do well collectively. And (Wednesday night) we fragmented at the wrong time. We turned it over and it led to kind of an avalanche of problems. We got a little traction in the third quarter and that was good, but we couldn’t sustain, and so we’ve got to keep pushing forward and we’ve got to do better.”
Solving the season-long issue with turnovers could be just what rights the ship for the Mavs until the return of Nowitzki, who is traveling with the team for the first time although his return doesn't appear immediately imminent. And after helplessly watching his teammates fall in four of their last five games, with three of those losses coming by at least 22 points, all No. 41 can do is hope that the Dallas team continues to remain afloat as it tries to avoid falling three games below .500 for the first time this season.
Note: The Mavs will continue their road trip on the second night of a back-to-back, touching down in Phoenix for a nationally-televised matchup Thursday against the Suns. The game will air nationally on TNT and locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 9:30 p.m. CT.