Preview: Mavs look to continue home-court dominance versus visiting Hawks
Preview: Hawks (27-22) at Mavericks (22-28)
Mavs look to continue home-court dominance versus visiting Hawks
DALLAS — Although they have yet to reach the mid-season point with the All-Star break still looming, the Dallas Mavericks admit that they are running out of time to change the course of their season.
But, after back-to-back wins over Portland and Golden State to begin their five-game homestand, the Mavericks (22-28) may finally be headed in the right direction, looking to carry that momentum into Monday night’s matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Mavs haven’t seen the Hawks (27-22) since the preseason when the Atlanta team sprinted to a 110-94 exhibition home win back on Oct. 20. Still, with two wins already collected during a stretch of seven home outings in eight games to sandwich All-Star Weekend, the Mavericks hope to begin their ascension up the Western Conference standings while looking to make the Hawks their latest casualty on the American Airlines Center floor.
“I’ve said it all season, we’re a work in progress,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “I think the good thing is we’re at home for a while. I think we played decent there when we had a nice home stretch. We don’t have any back-to-backs coming up, we have a nice schedule here I think, and we’ve just got to take care of home court and make a nice little run here before the All-Star Game and feel good about ourselves going into the break. This is a big week for us. Hopefully for 10 days, or however long it is, we’ve got to finish up on a high going into the break. That’s for sure. We can’t keep giving away games and expect to make the playoffs.”
The Mavs come into Monday’s matchup sitting 4 1/2 games out of playoff positioning while chasing Houston, looking to continue their dominance on their home floor after winning six of their last eight in Dallas. They’ll now try to inch even closer after handing the road-weary Warriors a 116-91 rout Saturday night, utilizing four-time All-Star Shawn Marion’s season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds to blow the game open in the second half.
And with Marion averaging 17.7 points on 56.0 percent shooting in his last seven games, the versatile forward may once again be called upon to lead the charge against a Hawks squad that has dropped eight of its last nine on the road.
“We were able to sustain it,” Marion said after the Warriors cut the lead down to 13 before the Mavs separated by as much as 28. “We knew they were going to make a run. You know, we went on a drought there for a little bit, but we were able to sustain it and push it back to 20. We knew it was coming, but it was over with for them once we made that late push. They made a push at us, and once we made that push back at them, it was over with.
“I was being aggressive but it was coming to me,” he added. “The ball was finding me. A lot of times, when you initiate the offense in this system, sometimes at the end of it you’re going to be reciprocated. I was initiating a lot of stuff and I was able to get out and push the tempo a little bit myself when I was able to get rebounds and just open up the game for us.”
“I thought our energy was good, particularly in the first half,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle explained. “We had a lull there in the second half, and I thought we played about 40 good minutes. The goal is to make it 48, so we’ll be striving to do that on Monday. … Much-needed win, and we’ve got to now focus on the next one.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action to continue their five-game homestand against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. The two teams haven’t met this regular season. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
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