So far during the first half of this NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks have had three games postponed for either a COVID-19 issue, or due to the horrific weather that nearly brought the state of Texas to its knees last week.
But there’s been no indication if those games will be made up prior to end of the first half of the season, or if they’ll be made up at some point in the second half of the season.
“If it is possible to make them up in the first half, I believe they will try to do that,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Sunday’s practice session. “I don’t know if that’s going to be possible.
“If it is not, I believe that they will be made up in the second half of the season, which no one is quite sure for certain how that’s going to look.”
The Mavs’ Jan. 11 home game against the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed due to coronavirus issues. Also, because of severe weather problems across Texas, last Wednesday’s home game against Detroit and this past Friday’s road contest in Houston were postponed.
The last time the Mavs played a game was last Sunday’s 121-118 loss at home to the Portland Trail Blazers. With the long layoff, the Mavs have been able to recalibrate and work on some things they otherwise wouldn’t have had time to work on due to the games coming so fast and furious, and because practice time has been very limited in this truncated 72-game season.
“We used this time to analyze a lot of stuff and put a lot of emphasize on defense,” center Maxi Kleber said. “We didn’t have this amount of practice time yet, so it was good for us, but obviously we want to play games, too.
“It’s been over a week since we played, so that’s kind of weird, too. But the practice time definitely helped us to work on stuff that maybe we didn’t have the time during the season to go into that much.”
And that’s not all.
“Overall as a team, we haven’t played that much and we haven’t practiced that much together as a whole,” Kleber said. “So today or the last couple of days we’ve had some time so we can play and to work on stuff, work on details, communicate better and just get together.”
Carlisle’s club will finally be back on the court on Monday at 7:30 p.m. when the Mavs (13-15) entertain the Memphis Grizzlies (13-13) at American Airlines Center.
“The practice time has been very valuable for us,” Carlisle said. “It’s been much needed. It’s been a lot.
“An eight-day break will present a different kind of challenge, but we’ve viewed it as being a very positive thing for us.”
Not counting the three postponed games, the Mavs only have six games remaining before the first half of the season ends with a home game on Mar. 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Still, making up those three postponed games is something for the Mavs to consider going forward as the schedule for the second half of the season will likely be released sometimes this week.
“There are some teams that have missed an awful lot of games,” Carlisle said. “We’ve only missed three. It feels like more because we happen to be in a week where we were going to have a couple of two-day stretches.
“Be that as it may, we’ll work with and look to take the challenge of whatever comes our way schedule-wise. But we’re anticipating there’s going to be some real high density stuff in the second half and we’re all going to have to deal with it.”
Mavs donate funds to emergency grants and relief: Mavs owner Mark Cuban, coach Rick Carlisle, chief executive officer Cynt Marshall, and players Luka Doncic, Dwight Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber teamed up with the Mavs Foundation and Chime to donate over $1.25 million in emergency grants and relief in the aftermath of last week’s winter storm that crippled the state of Texas.
“It’s a great thing to see, a great thing to be a part of,” Carlisle said. “It’s much needed, particularly with the events of the last seven days. I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
“We’ve had some snows and we’ve had some freezes, but they’ve generally been two- or three-day things or one- or two-day things, and not six- or eight-day things. And none of that stuff paralyzed the city and the Metroplex from a power standpoint the way this one did. I know the funds are needed, I know the help is needed. It’s great to see (the Mavs giving back). It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be a part of the organization.”
Kleber acknowledged that when it comes to the Mavs, he knows it’s not just about basketball. He admires the way the organization is always there to offer the community a helping hand.
“When you have the head of the snake – Mark – donating and being a good example, everybody wants to jump in and help and donate where you can because obviously it’s a very tough situation for a lot of people out there,” Kleber said. “If you have the ability to help, I think it’s a good thing to step in and help.
“Obviously it was a strange week. Texas is not prepared for this kind of weather. We kind of have this in Germany, so obviously I like snow, but obviously I didn’t like the side effects that came with it. It is what it is, but I hope a lot of people have their electricity back and hopefully water back so we can move on from this.”
By the way, Kleber was one of the millions across Texas who had his electricity interrupted last week.
“The whole building lost power, so I had to walk all my floors up to my apartment and figure that out,” Kleber said. “That was fun, but I stayed with a friend, so luckily I was OK.”
Morant on the Mavs’ radar: Because the Mavs are hosting Memphis on Monday, that means it’s time for them to prepare for Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and all of the aerodynamic things he brings to the table.
“Morant to me is really one of the most unique players I’ve ever seen in this game with his quickness, speed, ability to elevate and do things in the air and stay in the air seemingly suspended in time,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s just really a tremendous player.
“Trying to contain him and keep him out of the paint is a big job. It’s going to be a 48-minute quest tomorrow, but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”
Morant is averaging 18.9 points and 7.8 assists, and has the abilities to take over a game at a moment’s notice.
“He’s a crazy athlete, so that makes it hard to contain him,” center Maxi Kleber said. “And if you give him a little bit of space he finds a way to snake around, and then just jumps up and floats it the air and tries to get calls and everything. So that’s a challenge for sure, so we’re going to focus on that.”
Black Wall Street: Coach Rick Carlisle started Sunday’s post-practice media session – his Black History Month moment — by recalling an ugly incident that occurred in nearby Oklahoma.
“We’re talking about the Tulsa race riot of 1921,” Carlisle said. “It took place on May 31 and June 1 when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood district in Tulsa, OK. It has been called ‘the single worse incident of racial violence in American history.’
“The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district – at the time the wealthiest black community in the United States known as ‘Black Wall Street.’ ”