DALLAS – Trying to figure out why the Dallas Mavericks have been so successful at home this season and not so successful on the road is like trying to figure out how to successfully master a Rubik’s cube.
Indeed, the Mavs’ success – depending on the change in venues – has been very puzzling to even the most ardent NBA fan. The Mavs have magically produced an impressive 10-2 record at American Airlines Center, but has posted a not-so-impressive 2-9 record on the road.
Some of the home wins have come against the likes of Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston, Portland and the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. And some of the road losses have come against the likes of Phoenix, Atlanta, San Antonio, New Orleans and Utah – teams that would be on vacation if the playoffs started today.
So, why have the Mavs looked nearly picture-perfect at home, but not so photogenic on the road?
“It’s tough to put one specific reason on it,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “But I think one of the biggest things that’s been our advantage at home is the fact that we started off in the right direction.
“Usually when we kind of keep it at that, our bench comes in and does the right job, and that can be the key to get us the lead.”
The Mavs (12-11) will get a chance to make a lot of hay in the Western Conference standings when they open a three-game home stand Saturday at 5 p.m. against the Houston Rockets (11-13) at AAC. The home stand continues Monday against Orlando and concludes Wednesday against Atlanta before the Mavs hit the road to play the second leg of a back-to-back in Phoenix on Thursday.
The Mavs have been so effective on their home court that they’ve won their last eight home games. It’s the longest streak of home wins since they won nine straight during the 2010-’11 championship season.
As the wins at home stack up, the fans have gotten louder and louder and appear to have gotten more and more into the action on the court.
“The fans have been great, the fans have been fantastic,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But it’s our job to get the fans into the game, and that’s something we talk about a lot.
“The team on the floor really is the ones responsibility for creating the energy in the building.”
And that energy coming from the players to the fans apparently has bounced its way back to the players and played a key role in the Mavs playing a more efficient game on their home court.
“The fans, they pay good money to come and they want to watch an energetic, enthusiastic bunch of guys going hard,” Carlisle said. “That’s what we’ve got to continue to do.”
Carlisle was asked if he believes the fancy cushy seats the Mavs sit on during home games have played a role in the team’s success at AAC.
“I never thought about it,” he said. “It doesn’t affect me much. I sit down for about 30 seconds a game.”