Preview: Mavs kick-start daunting road trip in Salt Lake City
Preview: Mavericks (13-21) at Jazz (17-18)
Mavs kick-start daunting road trip in Salt Lake City
Although that loss to the Jazz would be the Mavericks’ lone defeat in the first five games of the regular season without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki while he rehabbed from preseason arthroscopic knee surgery, the Dallas team would eventually come back down to earth. Now, the Mavericks (13-21) sit eight games below .500 following back-to-back overtime losses in Miami and at home to New Orleans to fall to 0-7 this season in games that have reached an extra period while tying an NBA record shared by three other teams for 10 straight OT defeats overall.
And with Nowitzki back in the first unit after making his first start of the season and scoring a season-high 20 points in a 99-96 overtime loss Saturday at home to the Hornets, the Mavs head back into EnergySolutions Arena on Monday night as they begin a three-game road trip while looking to right the ship against a Jazz team that has fallen in eight of its last 12 outings.
“[The New Orleans game] is a game we had to have,” Nowitzki admitted. “Going on the road again, it’s been a tough schedule and we just came off the road and only had this one home game, so this was a game we had to have. It’s frustrating, disappointing, all that stuff, but we’ve got keep fighting, got to keep plugging and hopefully let it all hang out in Utah and see what we can come up with.”
“We’ve got to come in and get our rest and be ready. It’s going to be another battle,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion added as the Mavs prepare to face the Jazz for a second time. “We always put ourselves in a position to be better than .500 and in playoff contention. We’re not in playoff contention right now, so if the playoffs were to start right now, we’re at home looking at everybody else’s [tail] on TV. So that’s what you focus on. It ain’t over with till the fat lady sings, but we’ve got to stay optimistic and stay positive and keep trying to make certain strides.”
“You know, I said after the Miami game that if you have nine new guys it sometimes takes a while. Now I’m basically brand new all over again, so I haven’t played with some of these guys. I haven’t been through the trenches, through the wars with them, so I just think it’s going to take some time,” Nowitzki said after following up six appearances off the bench with his first start. “Unfortunately we don’t really have it, since we’re already so far behind the eighth (playoff) spot, but sometimes you have to play together, you have to be together in stressful situations to see how people react to certain things and unfortunately we have to address it on the fly here now in big games and hopefully pull some out.”
“It just seems like we get closer and closer and it’s just that one mistake that we make at the end that seems to haunt us towards the end,” point guard Darren Collison added. “But, you know, we’re still a work in progress and we’re going to still keep fighting. And there is still a lot of games left to be played, you know, so we’re still trying to make our push for the end of the year.”
Note: The Mavericks head back on the road for the start of a three-game trip, touching down in Salt Lake City for a second meeting this season against the Jazz. The Mavs fell in Utah to a 113-94 loss on Oct. 31. The game will air locally at 8 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.