Shootaround report: Mavs focus on controlling pace vs. Rockets
Shootaround report: Rockets (21-18) at Mavericks (16-23)
Mavs focus on controlling pace vs. Rockets
The Houston Rockets average a league-best 105.5 points per game on the offensive end, but are also giving up a league-worst 103.7 points a night at the other end of the floor. So, as the Mavericks (16-23) prepared for their Southwest Division matchup at Wednesday’s morning shootaround, coach Rick Carlisle reiterated to his players the importance of controlling the tempo against the high-octane Rockets team.
“Well, we want tempo. We want to play fast, but playing fast doesn’t mean just giving and trading shots with the opponent,” Carlisle said. “As I’ve said frequently, really good teams can play flow on offense and they can maintain a possession mentality defensively. It’s one of the hardest things to do in basketball. It’s certainly a hard and difficult challenge in coaching. That’s what we have to do tonight. You know, Houston is No. 1 in pace, they’re dangerous at the 3-point line and they do a great job driving towards the rim. So it’s going to be a multiple effort, scramble-type game defensively for us.”
“Just make sure you get back in transition defense,” swingman Dahntay Jones added of the defensive game plan. “Make sure you get five guys tied together in taking the paint away first and then you work your way out.”
Sneaking out of a Dec. 8 meeting between the two teams with a 116-109 road win in Houston, the Mavericks needed every bit of leading scorer O.J. Mayo’s 40 points to outshine Rockets guard James Harden’s 39 points at the other end. But much has changed for both teams since that December night, as a healthy Mavericks team tries to secure a ninth straight win in the series and fourth consecutive victory overall, looking to extend the Rockets’ four-game losing skid.
Note: The Mavericks return to action at the American Airlines Center for the third outing of a four-game homestand Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks lead the season series 1-0 after a 116-109 road win in Houston on Dec. 8. The game will air locally at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.