Practice Report: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowitzki weighs in on matching up against the Nuggets Wednesday night, playing team defense, how big the upcoming slate of games are and more.
DALLAS — After dropping back-to-back games to Chicago and San Antonio, the Dallas Mavericks will have their work cut out for themselves Wednesday night in Denver while trying to avoid a third straight loss for the first time this season.
Returning to the practice court Tuesday and looking to get back on track, the Mavericks (36-25) prepared for a Nuggets squad that sweep a home-and-home series between the two teams earlier this season. Now, the Mavericks will try to continue to display an ability to bounce back from adversity, looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak in the process.
“I mean, this is going to be a hard stretch and that’s just the way it’s going to be,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said as his team tries to remain a float with 21 games left to play. “You have to embrace the difficulty of it. And if you don’t, we’re all going to get hit in the face.”
The Mavs were admittedly hit in the face and unable to respond when they squared off with the Nuggets (25-34) earlier this season, falling to a 102-100 defeat in Denver back on Nov. 23 and then suffering a 110-96 defeat two nights later as the home-and-home series swung to American Airlines Center. The Mavs will now try to slow down Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, who returned to the lineup Monday to score a season-high 31 points while dishing out 11 assists in a 132-128 home loss to Minnesota after missing eight games due to a left rib fracture.
Practice Report: Rick CarlisleMavs head coach Rick Carlisle talks about Wednesday's matchup against the Nuggets, playing team defense, limiting turnovers, the importance of each game as the season winds down and more.
Denver has lost six in a row and 11 of 12 overall. But, with Lawson averaging 19.5 points and 10 assists in two games against the Mavs this season, the Dallas defense will undoubtedly make slowing down Denver’s cat-quick floor general a priority while trying to get back in the win column.
“Well, you’ve got to go back to the basics,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki explained. “You know, we worked through some stuff today that hopefully can carry over tomorrow. [The Nuggets] give us problems, and obviously the first two games they beat us. They switch a lot and offensively they’ve got a lot of guys who drive. They push the pace up, and so we have to make sure we get back in transition and kind of force them into a halfcourt game. Then we’ve got a better chance of stopping them. But they’re tough, especially since when they lost all these games Lawson was out. He’s back again, he’s the head of the snake and he’s tough to guard for us.”
“We have to do it as a team,” Carlisle said in regard to containing Lawson. “We have to have multiple guys ready to guard guys like Lawson and there has to be a lot of help. You know, one on one you’re just not going to be able to do it. He’s that quick. He had two really good games against us earlier in the year, and so it’s a challenge.”
Note: The Mavericks will continue to play away from home, touching down in Denver for Wednesday’s showdown against the Nuggets. Denver leads the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Friday night, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. The season series is tied at 1-1 after both teams won on the other’s home floor. 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.