Practice Report: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowitzki looks ahead to tomorrow night's game against Golden State, how this year's team compares to ones in the past, the importance of each game down the stretch and more.
DALLAS — Sitting at home resting Sunday and idle after playing the first seven outings of their franchise-record eight-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks would manage to move up from ninth in the Western Conference standings into a tie for seventh without even taking the court.
Following road losses by Phoenix and Memphis in Los Angeles and Portland, respectively, the Mavericks (44-30) found themselves right back in the thick of the playoff race. However, after managing to capture a 103-100 home win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday in a lackluster performance, the Mavs know the help they received does them no good if they can’t also capitalize Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors to conclude their homestand.
“Well, it helps, but we’ve got to handle our business and we’ve got to take care of what we can take care of, which is our games,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle admitted. “It’s always great to get help peripherally, but you can’t depend on it, so it really magnifies the importance of finishing this homestand the right way. Golden State is a hard team, and they’ve been hard for us all year. And so we’ll have our hands full, but we’ll be ready.”
Vowing to have his team ready, Carlisle will try to engineer the Mavs to a win Tuesday night in order to tie the season series versus the Warriors (45-28) at 2-2. The Mavericks will also try to crack a dent in their deficit behind the Warriors for the sixth slot in the standings, currently sitting 1 1/2 games behind Golden State. And with Warriors center Andrew Bogut (groin) already ruled out of Tuesday’s matchup, the Mavs will try to feast on their opposition inside while containing sharpshooter Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the perimeter in order to remain afloat in the heated postseason push.
Practice Report: Rick CarlisleMavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on Tuesday's matchup against the Warriors, how big the extra day of rest was and more.
“This is a big game, no question. But, if you look at our remaining schedule, every game is big, especially how tight it is this year,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki explained. “Not only for the seeding but also we could still drop out, and we were out yesterday. Not only are you dropping for position this year, but there’s still a scare of not even making the playoffs, so every game is massive. You know, even the Sacramento game the other day was big for us to even grind out a win. No matter how ugly it was, we definitely needed the win. And you could say that about all the remaining games.
“[Bogut] is usually their anchor defensively,” Nowitzki added. “He’s always in the paint, always around and he’s a good shot-blocker and a good rebounder, but I thought Jermaine O’Neal has been playing well for them all year when he was healthy and he’s doing some of the same things. He’s a good shot-blocker and he takes charges if you’re out of control going in there, so other guys always step in, in somebody’s absence. And they’re going to go small some if [O’Neal] is not out there, which means they have even more shooters out there. So, they’re a tough team and they’re a tough team to guard. We’ll just have to do our best at scrambling and trying to limit easy shots for Klay and Steph, ’cause when they’re open they’re obviously deadly. You try to make it hard on them. That’s about all you can do.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center on Tuesday, concluding their eight-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors. Golden State leads the season series 2-1. The game will air locally on TXA 21 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.