The Mavericks haven’t won a road game in more than a month – Feb. 10 to be precise.

Granted, they’ve only had four roadies in that span, but still, the long drought in terms of time needs to end quickly considering they are embarking on a 10-game stretch, eight of which will be played away from American Airlines Center.

It starts Wednesday at San Antonio, a team that has its sights set on the draft lottery and French big man Victor Wembanyama.

But the Spurs, as long as Gregg Popovich is around, will never cheat the game. They will play to win and that’s been evident lately with victories over Utah on the road and at home against Western Conference-leading Denver.

And with the injury situation still uncertain, the Mavericks are only going to be able to dig out of their three-game losing streak the old-fashioned way.

They’re going to have to earn it. And their confidence is not shaken, which you wouldn’t expect it to be given that two of the losses came without Luka Dončić (left thigh strain) and Kyrie Irving (right foot soreness).

It’s possible one could return against the Spurs, but not both. In the Mavericks’ injury report released Tuesday afternoon, Dončić still was listed as out. Tim Hardaway Jr. (left calf contusion), Irving and Christian Wood (right foot soreness) all are questionable.

Asked if the confidence remains in the locker room, and if so, why, coach Jason Kidd pointed to the “character of that group, being able to compete.”

And for long stretches, they did in the home-and-home losses to Memphis.

“You look at the stars not being able to participate in Memphis and Memphis plays extremely well at home,” Kidd said. “To put ourselves in position to win that game and you look at the back court is extremely young with (Jaden) Hardy and (Josh) Green. I thought they did a great job.”

That same group was ahead at halftime on Monday. And the experience gained will help the Mavericks.

“We’ll continue to keep fighting, continue to keep working,” Kidd said, “and if we can get healthy, it puts us in a position to have success.”

And through it all, Kidd has the impossible job of managing expectations, particularly when it comes to Hardy, who had 50 points in his first two NBA starts, sparking renewed conversations among fans that the rookie deserves a bigger role going forward.

If you factor in that Hardy needed 46 shots (24 of them three-pointers) to get those 50 points, it tempers enthusiasm. But Kidd knows that Hardy is learning at a meteoric rate.

But when someone asked about playoff minutes?

“He’s grown. He’s had an incredible run,” Kidd said. “Being able to get to the paint to score, being able to shoot and being able to find open teammates when he was driving. So a lot of good things. Let’s finish the season off before we start talking about playoff minutes.

“You can’t put Hardy in Luka’s role. That’s not fair to Hardy. He (Dončić) is one of the best players in the world. And you got a 20-year-old that’s just learning to play the NBA game.”

In other words, let’s tap the brakes on anointing a new star.

Getting the current ones back should be the first order of business.

Twitter: @ESefko

Share and comment

More Mavs News