Preview: Mavs search for late-game execution against NBA-best Clippers
Preview: Mavericks (13-22) at Clippers (27-8)
Mavs search for late-game execution against NBA-best Clippers
Following consecutive overtime losses to Miami and New Orleans, the Mavericks (13-22) suffered from yet another fourth-quarter collapse Monday night in Utah while falling to a 100-94 defeat in regulation. But with the addition of 10-year veteran Mike James on a 10-day contract, the Mavs hope to execute better at the close of games beginning Wednesday night with their nationally-televised matchup against the high-octane Los Angeles Clippers.
“You know, just maturity, my wisdom and understanding of the game,” James said when asked how he figures to help the slumping Mavs. “Where I can be big is in the locker room. I heard that a lot of the games that’s been lost have been lost at the end of the game, and so understanding time management and understanding where to get the ball to and how to make shots, especially at the end of the game. You know, we’ll see. Wherever Coach [Rick Carlisle] places me. Whether he wants me to be on the bench and be somebody that’s going to be able to help the young players and young guards develop, well if that’s my job then I’m going to do that. … When I go in the game, I’ve got to be ready to make plays, however that is. And so, that’s mainly where I’m going to step in. The way I’ve been, that’s what I’m going to continue to keep being and just be myself.”
The journeyman will also bring his experience after suiting up for 10 previous teams in his career. Still, it remains to be seen if the move can translate into wins, as the Mavericks continue to try to work around 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki following back-to-back games of a season-high 20 points.
“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 six appearances off the bench before sliding into the starting lineup following preseason arthroscopic knee surgery. “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.”
He added: “That little thing down the stretch is missing, but that separates the good teams or the great teams from the bad teams. They find ways to win ugly games with a couple big plays down the stretch and that’s usually what separates the good from the bad.”
The Mavs hope to find that missing piece to the puzzle after losing eight of their last nine on the road and 12 of 14 overall, looking to avenge a 112-90 road defeat to the NBA-best Clippers (27-8) on Dec. 5.
Note: The Mavericks will continue their road trip Wednesday night in Los Angeles for a second meeting against the Clippers. The game will air locally at 9:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.