Practice Report: Dirk Nowitzki
Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki dishes on the positives the team took away from Game 1 and the adjustments needed going forward for Game 2.
DALLAS — Wednesday night cannot come fast enough for the Dallas Mavericks.
Still digesting the disappointment of letting Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs fall by the wayside, the Mavericks returned home and immediately hit the practice court. Looking to spit out the sour taste of Sunday’s 90-85 loss in San Antonio, the Mavericks quickly turned their attention to getting even in Wednesday’s Game 2. However, after surrendering a 10-point lead over the final 7:45 of play, the Mavs know they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to avoid stomaching another loss on the Spurs’ home floor.
“Let’s play. That’s it,” eight-time All-Star and sixth man Vince Carter said while putting Sunday’s loss out of his mind. “I mean, everybody’s ready to go. We feel good about who we are, what we bring to the table, and we know we let a great opportunity slip away. So, we’re just waiting for Game 2.”
He added: “We played well enough to win the game. We didn’t do a great job of closing the game, but we played well enough to win. We shared the ball, we made plays, we just didn’t make enough plays. We can’t second-guess ourselves and try to reinvent the wheel at the same time, so we just have to focus in on some of the little things and hopefully that’s good enough. I think on both ends we did a better job than previous games that we’ve played them and just made it tough for them, and they still hit tough shots. It’s going to be that way, but we just have to stay the course.”
With their losing streak at the hands of the Spurs now up to 10 straight defeats, the Mavericks admittedly can’t help but think what might have been had they seized Game 1 and stolen the home-court advantage. However, after showing that they’re very much capable of competing with the Spurs, the Mavs returned home focused on the positives before attempting to even the series at a win apiece.
The Mavs were outshot, 43.2 percent to 41.2 percent, in addition to coming up on the downside of a 48-40 rebounding disadvantage. But the Dallas team did commit just eight turnovers for the game while forcing the Spurs into 10 giveaways at the other end. The Dallas defense also held the Spurs, who led the league in 3-point percentage at 39.7 percent during the regular season, to 3-of-17 shooting from behind the arc in Game 1.
And it’s those positive signs that give Mavs coach Rick Carlisle some encouragement heading into the pivotal second game in the series.
“It’s obvious that we did a lot of great things,” Carlisle confessed. “We built a lead, but 7 1/2 minutes is a long time in an NBA game and you’ve got to be able to sustain. We’ve got to work on getting another lead in Game 2 and then closing. Look, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and start talking about the future, but we’ve got to be process-oriented. Everybody has got to do their job in our system, we’ve got to be aggressive and we’ve got to be tied together. And we’ve got to execute.”
Meanwhile, 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki will try to find an offensive rhythm after he and second-leading scorer Monta Ellis both finished with just 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting. And after seeing his teammates lift him up but it not be enough down the stretch, Nowitzki will look to be more aggressive come Wednesday’s showdown.
“Well, we were in the game,” Nowitzki matter-of-factly said. “We were still up 10 with seven minutes to go. I don’t think we can say that about any of our last meetings the last two years down there, so that’s a positive. I think we did a better job in transition, even when we did turn the ball over a little bit or missed a shot. We matched up a little better than the first couple of meetings when we just got killed in transition threes and transition layups, so we were a lot better. I thought we competed and just offensively the last couple of minutes were tough. I thought we had some decent looks. I had at least two I remember I’ve got to make … but just couldn’t get anything to drop, so that’s pretty frustrating.
“I think we still had some good looks that we’re going to step into again. If they keep going under screen-and-rolls, like they have, our guards have to step in there. And I’m obviously going to keep shooting from the post area if they don’t double-team me, like they did the last six minutes. I’m going to take my shots that are there … and we’ve just got to be a little sharper.”
Note: The Mavericks return to AT&T Center Wednesday night for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs. San Antonio won the season series 4-0. Game 2 will air nationally on NBA TV and locally on TXA 21 at 7 p.m. CT.
The series schedule is as follows:
Game 2: Dallas at San Antonio, 7 p.m. CT on NBA TV and TXA 21, Wednesday, April 23
Game 3: San Antonio at Dallas, 3:30 p.m. CT on TNT and TXA 21, Saturday, April 26
Game 4: San Antonio at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. CT on TNT and TXA 21, Monday, April 28
Game 5 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Wednesday, April 30
Game 6 (if necessary): San Antonio at Dallas CT, TBD, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4
Single-game tickets for the first two Mavs home games of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs are on sale now. Tickets are available at the American Airlines Center box office, online at mavs.com or by calling (214) 747-MAVS. There is an eight-ticket limit per game.
Practice Report: Rick Carlisle
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle says the team did a lot of good things against the Spurs in Game 1 but they just have to make some minor adjustments going forward in Game 2.