Shootaround report: Marion game-time decision vs. Kings
Earl K. Sneed reports from the Dallas Mavericks' Monday morning shootaround, as four-time All-Star Shawn Marion tries to return from a one-game hiatus with a strained right groin in time to help his team continue its home winning streak over Sacramento.
Shootaround report: Kings (7-12) at Mavericks (10-10)
Marion game-time decision vs. Kings
Suffering a strained right groin in the third quarter of Thursday night's 97-94 win in Phoenix, Marion was then forced to watch from the locker room as the Mavericks (10-10) notched an eighth straight win over Southwest Division rival Houston on Saturday night to finish a three-game road trip with a 2-1 mark. But after going through most of Monday morning's shootaround, Marion hopes to return to action as his team tries to go above .500 without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) while also trying to end the Kings' three-game winning streak.
"Just all-day rehab yesterday and we had a good session in here and treatment, and I definitely feel way better today," Marion said as he eyes a return. "I went through mostly everything today. We're gonna see tonight when I get back in. We'll see how it feels and we'll go from there."
He added: "It'd be big. This is our home court, we come back off this road trip and this would be a good one to get. You know, we've got to take pride in it, know what we've got to do and what we've got at stake here. I think [the Kings] are a talented team. They've won two or three in a row as well, so we've got to look at that. But at the same time, it's not about them, it's about us."
With Marion hopeful to return, the Mavs could receive a much-needed boost on the defensive end while leading scorer O.J. Mayo tries to continue handling the offensive duties until Nowitzki returns.
Mayo comes into Monday night's matchup after tying his career-high with 40 points on 15-of-26 shooting and 6-of-9 from 3-point range in a 116-109 win over the Rockets. But it's a commitment to winning that has the sharpshooter and his coach putting Saturday night's display in the past, as the Mavericks try to hold the high-octane Kings (7-12) in check before journeying back out on the road for three more games.
"I hope we have another win in us tonight," Mayo said while downplaying his season-high performance in the last game. "We've got to try to stay above .500 going into the night and continue playing hard. … We're growing. We're working hard and we just want to prove we're a winning team without Dirk. And when he gets back, play good basketball. We have to have a lot of energy, help each other with our effort and just go out there and play hard. [Sacramento] is a good and talented team, a young team. Sometimes their record doesn't show how good they are, but they can put a lot of points on the board, if you come in nonchalant. So, we've got to come in and play hard."
"[Mayo] is doing fine offensively. He's got to pick it up defensively," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. "You've got to play both sides of the ball. He's done a lot of really good things offensively and he's adjusting to being the go-to guy. And when he gets hot, I mean, he's a guy that can carry the club. But it's not just him, we need it from everybody at both ends. The first half (against Houston) was a disaster defensively and we've got to be much better than that tonight."
Note: The Mavs return home for one game against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night before journeying back on the road for a three-game road trip. 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.