Shootaround report: Mavs keep their edge despite back-to-back wins
Shootaround report: Hawks (27-22) at Mavericks (22-28)
Mavs keep their edge despite back-to-back wins
DALLAS — Despite winning in convincing fashion with a 116-91 rout Saturday night over Golden State to improve to 2-0 on their current five-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks know they still have plenty of work to do in order to fight their way back into playoff contention.
Currently sitting 4 1/2 games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference standings, the Mavericks hope to continue to work their way out of a hole that included falling 10 games below .500 back on Jan. 9. In order to do so, however, they’ll have to continue to display a home-court advantage Monday night as the Atlanta Hawks invade the American Airlines Center.
“This is a winning franchise. If you don’t know that, then you need to do your homework,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion explained. “We’ve been going through some ups and downs, but it’s part of the season and you’ve got to deal with it. But, if we can get back to even, then who knows. … We’ve got to get back to even. Once we get back to even, throw it up for grabs. But right now, we’re still behind the trenches. We’re five or six games under .500, so we’ve still got a little climb right now. We’re trying to get back even. That’s about it.”
“We’re trying to get ourselves back in the race,” sixth man Vince Carter added. “We put ourselves in a hole and we’re really trying to climb back out. We’re playing better basketball. We’re a very confident team, we feel like, as a unit, very cohesive, and I think everybody’s really in tune with what we’re trying to accomplish, particularly game by game. It’s not about looking down the line. … I think one game at a time has been our focus and that’s what’s really helped us.”
Facing an Atlanta team that has lost eight of its last nine on the road, the Mavs will try to continue to keep that focus while containing the Hawks’ balanced attack.
The Hawks have four starters averaging double figures in scoring, led by do-it-all forward Josh Smith and his 16.9 points a game to go along with 8.5 rebounds. And it’s that balance, in addition to Atlanta’s deadly 3-point shooting sparked by league leader Kyle Korver, that gives Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle the biggest reason for concern as the Mavs try to continue their dominance at home after wins in six of their last eight games on their own floor.
“Well, right now they’re shooting the 3 really well,” Carlisle explained. “You know, Korver is one of the best in the game. [Jeff] Teague and Smith are both over 50 percent the last five games and you’ve got other guys that are shooting around 40, so the 3 is a big part of it. They’re a really good points in the paint team, and if you let them turn you over, then they get in transition and a lot of their paint points are those lob dunks and all the crazy highlight stuff. So we’ve got to take care of the ball and we’ve got to take the 3 out of the game.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action to continue their five-game homestand against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. The two teams haven’t met this regular season. 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.
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