The Mavericks need some propping up right now, but doing so isn’t easy.
Their flaws have been out there for all to see the last seven games. And at times like these, everybody sees the negative and forgets that two weeks ago, they were riding a five-game winning streak.
That does them no good now.
They’ve lost five of their last seven and everybody inside the locker room and out knows that things have to change or this season is going to end a lot sooner than anybody wants it to. They have 16 games left in the regular season to fix what ails them. So the clock is ticking.
There are three vital areas that the Mavericks must address:
And so, the Mavericks are heading into another game they need to win and, on paper, should win. Detroit arrives Wednesday with the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
And yet, with the Los Angeles Lakers coming in on Thursday and Saturday, the Mavericks will have to fight the temptation to emotionally bypass the Pistons in anticipation of the Lakers, who may or may not get Anthony Davis back by then.
It seems there’s always something that can sabotage them. If Sacramento can come in with a nine-game losing streak and pull off the stunner, anything is possible.
“Every game must be treated as a playoff game,” Carlisle said. “All these teams are playing their butts off. Even teams that are out of it. Detroit coming in on Wednesday, they’re a hard-playing team. We’re going to get their best game.”
Interestingly, that seems to always be the case, he said: “We get the opponent’s best game on most nights. People come after us. That’s a challenge we’ve got to embrace and we’ve got to reach down and do a hell of a lot better.”
Briefly: This is the Mavericks’ last two-day break until the postseason. They took Monday to recharge and will go through a much-needed practice on Tuesday, Carlisle said before they start the challenging stretch run: 16 games in 26 days, starting with five games in seven days.
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