Preview: Mavs slide into Phoenix looking to salvage road trip
Preview: Mavericks (19-27) at Suns (16-30)
Mavs slide into Phoenix looking to salvage road trip
PHOENIX — With the availability of their superstar in doubt, a second 7-footer back at home undergoing tests for a concussion and two last-second losses to begin their four-game road trip already under their belt, the Dallas Mavericks would like nothing more than to take out their frustration on the Phoenix Suns.
Already without big man Chris Kaman after he was sent back to Dallas to be examined for the concussion he sustained in Monday’s team practice, the Mavericks (19-27) suffered yet another blow to the head when it was announced just before the opening tipoff that 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki would be sidelined Thursday night in Oakland, Calif., due to a strained right adductor.
“I felt a little pull in the fourth quarter of the Portland game,” Nowitzki explained two nights later. “I told the trainers during the game about it, but I was able to finish it. After the game, I was already pretty sore the other night. I was hobbling and yesterday wasn’t very good, but the medicine kicked in pretty nice, so actually I gave it a shot before the game. I just really couldn’t get loose.”
He added: “It was just bothering me, so we didn’t want to really risk anything and we’ll see how it responds the next 24 hours.”
Without Nowitzki, the Mavs would continue to fight, climbing back from a 13-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. But the game would end the same way as 48 hours prior in Portland, where the Mavericks suffered a heartbreaking 106-104 loss on a last-second shot, falling two nights later to a 100-97 defeat to the Golden State Warriors while failing to reach 100 points for the first time in 10 games.
Now, with Nowitzki’s status considered doubtful, the Mavs will try to salvage their road trip against a Suns squad that the Dallas team has beaten 10 of the last 11 meetings, including twice this season.
“It’s pretty frustrating, but we’ve got to continue getting better,” leading scorer O.J. Mayo said after posting a team-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 3-for-5 from 3-point range during the loss to the Warriors. “We can’t be discouraged or give up. We’ve still got a lot of basketball left and we just have to continue going out there and playing hard.”
And if Nowitzki is unable to go, Marion may once again have to lead the way, after he posted 18 points and a season-high 17 rebounds during Thursday’s loss to the Warriors.
“It’s a different season right now for us,” Marion said after the back-to-back losses. “We’ve got to face the facts and we’ve got to deal with it and still keep trying and try and learn from it. That’s all you can do. … Just the fight and competitive nature you have in yourself, you’ve got to have that willpower to go out and do it. You’ve just got to stay optimistic and hopefully it will switch over and go our way one of these times.”
Note: The Mavericks will continue their road trip on the second night of a back-to-back by making a stop in Phoenix to face the Suns on Friday. The Mavericks lead the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 8 p.m. CT.