Happy New Years!
The Dallas Mavericks are in the nation’s capital tonight for a duel with the Washington Wizards. Both squads enter the game losers in nine of their last 10 games. The Mavs would like to start the new year on a positive note and get its first win with Dirk Nowitzki on board.
It’s been one of the toughest stretches in the Mark Cuban era. Dallas hasn’t only been losing strings of basketball games, but they haven’t even been competive in many of them. 12 of the 19 defeats have been by double figures and seven by 20 or more. Inexcusable.
Losing happens, but uninspired, noncompetitive basketball isn’t acceptable in Mavericks culture.
Dallas would be wise not to overlook the 4-win Wizards. Though they hold the NBA’s worst record, this team has talent to come out any night and beat anyone. This Wizards team has been more competitive than the Mavs, dropping eight games by double digits and only three by 20 or more.
“Washington’s got a bad record, but they’ve been in virtually every game and I can’t say the same for us,” said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle.
When the Wiz paid a visit to Dallas in November, the Mavs almost blew are fourth quarter lead, but eventually pulled out the 107-101 victory.
The best method for the Mavs to succeed probably would be to take one game at a time. Don’t worry about the next game, the upcoming week or playoffs. Just one at a time. Continue to work on getting better each new game.
Darren Collison has been the Mavs’ most effective player in the last three games, but he knows there’s still plenty of room for improvement going forward. Though Carlisle appears to bark at DC several times this season, the point guard has the coach’s trust.
“He’s our starting guy,” said Carlisle.
Nowitzki says he’s been feeling better with each and every game he’s been back, saying he felt 10 times better in the Spurs game. The team hasn’t won yet since its star forward returned, but he’s only been a shell of himself thus far.
One thing Dirk notices and is a key for the Mavs going forward is the need to work harder than other teams to make up for a lack of overall roster talent.
“We need to compete at all times. And I said it numerous times, we’re not as talented as the top teams are. That’s pretty obvious. So we really have to make up for it by playing harder, by scrambling on defense, rebounding and five guys being in there scrambling, boxing out, getting the ball. If we take the ball out of the net every time down we’re going to have trouble.”
And trouble they’ve had. In one week they allowed the Spurs to embarrass them twice by a combined 63 points and surrendered 50.6% and 56% shooting in those two games.
That cannot happen against the Wizards and Dallas needs to come out and win the rebound battle, a daunting task for them. Also protect the ball as has been stressed every game. Defense helps fuel the offense and the Mavs can be quite effective on the break.
Mavs and Wizards tip off the new year’s first NBA game at 5:00 p.m. CT and it airs on FSSW/CSMA.
Get the win Mavs!
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