Practice Report: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowitzki weighs in on his monstrous fourth quarter in Game 5, what the team needs to do to have success in Game 6 Friday night, the importance of getting DeJuan Blair back and much more.
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks feel like they’ve been here before.
Needing to play virtually perfect basketball down the stretch run of the regular season in order to simply get into the playoffs, the Mavericks entered the postseason already prepped in must-win situations prior to their first-round series against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. And for that reason the Mavs aren’t shying away from embracing the challenge that looms heading into Friday’s Game 6, which could determine the end of Dallas’ season as the best-of-seven series shifts back to American Airlines Center.
“When you’re facing elimination, you know, there is no tomorrow,” forward Shawn Marion said Thursday as the Mavs try to battle out of a 2-3 series hole. “So, you’ve got to just go out there and do what you’ve got to do to leave it on the floor.”
“We’ve been basically in the playoffs for a couple of weeks now,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “We had to go on a heck of a finish at the end to even make it in, so yeah, we’ve been in plenty of big games and we’ll see. The way you’ve got to look at it is you’ve got to win one home game. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ll worry about everything else after that. So, you know, it’s a fun setup tomorrow. One game to win at home, and we’re going to go for it.”
Returning home from a 109-103 Game 5 defeat Wednesday in San Antonio, the Mavs were less focused on winning two outings to seize the series. Instead, the Mavs focused in on simply trying to take care of business on their own floor, vowing to give their hometown fans something to cheer about.
Meanwhile, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confidently turned the page on Wednesday’s loss while gearing up for what figures to be another intense affair. And with a battle-tested team ready to take the floor, Carlisle and the Mavs will try to stave off elimination while forcing a Game 7 back in San Antonio on Sunday.
“Well, we’ve been in these all year,” Carlisle said of the must-win nature of Friday’s game. “Maybe not quite to this degree, but you know, our last 2 1/2 months of the season have prepared us for big games. I’ve been telling the guys that all year. I’ve been telling them that since the last week of the season before we played Phoenix (in the second-to-last game of the regular season). There’s a reason we’ve been playing all these important games, and it’s to get us ready for things like this. So, we’ll be ready.”
Practice Report: Rick CarlisleMavs head coach Rick Carlisle looks ahead to Friday's do-or-die Game 6, getting DeJuan Blair back, focusing in on the defensive end and more.
Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs on Friday night. San Antonio leads the series 3-2. Game 6 will air nationally on ESPN and locally on TXA 21 at 7 p.m. CT.
The series schedule is as follows:
Game 6 : San Antonio at Dallas CT, 7 p.m. CT on ESPN and TXA 21, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4