Preview: Mavs search for redemption vs. rival Rockets
Preview: Rockets vs. Mavericks (26-33)
Mavs search for redemption vs. rival Rockets
DALLAS — After dropping the all-important start of their home-and-home series with the Houston Rockets following a 136-103 throttling at the Toyota Center on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks return to the American Airlines Center well aware that they have little margin for error Wednesday night in the rematch.
Leading by as much as nine in the first half before getting outscored 44-17 in the third period, the Mavericks (26-33) admittedly weren’t the aggressors in the second half while finishing up their three-game road trip with a 1-2 mark. Now, after falling six games behind the Rockets (33-28) in the Western Conference’s playoff race, the Mavs know they cannot afford to give up more ground over the final 23 games of the regular season.
“In the first half we made some mistakes, but the game was close and we had leads. The third quarter was ugly and I don’t have a good explanation for it other than they picked up their game and we didn’t match it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle confessed after the loss. “You’ve got to give them credit, but this is one of those situations where you’ve got to step up to the challenge and we just didn’t do it.”
He later added: “They were the initiators and we were the reactors. When you play like that in this league, the reactors get their [tail] kicked.”
After their nine-game win streak over Houston came to an end Sunday, the Mavs will try to continue their home-court dominance over their in-state rival after winning the last five meetings between the two teams in Dallas. The Mavericks will attempt to avoid a fifth loss in six games as well, hoping to contain the high-scoring Rockets three days after surrendering 57.5 percent shooting from the field, 14-of-34 shooting from 3-point range, 36 fast-break points and 54 points in the paint.
“It’s like they were way more faster than we were,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion said of Sunday. “It seemed like everything they did was just two steps faster than we did and it was evident. … It ain’t hard if we’re putting the effort out there. If you’re putting the effort out there, good things happen for you, but you’ve got to go out there and compete. We didn’t and it showed.”
The Mavs will try to compete at a higher level back on their home floor before heading out for a four-game road trip. Meanwhile, the Mavs will try to get more from 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, who connected on just 2 of 8 from the floor for eight points after previously scoring in double figures in every game he’s played since the calendar flipped to 2013.
And with a more aggressive Nowitzki expected to take the floor, the Mavericks hope to continue to scratch and claw their way back into playoff contention.
“We’ve had some good work the last two days and we’ll see if it pays off,” Nowitzki said following Tuesday’s team practice. “You know, usually you don’t see the team that just kicked your [tail] two days later, so this is a chance for us to obviously correct that and have a good home game hopefully with a lot of fans.”
Note: The Mavericks host the Rockets on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center. The Mavs still lead the season series 2-1. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
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