Nobody enjoys losing streaks, they aren’t fun. When our Dallas Mavericks welcome the Washington Wizards to town, it will be a tussle between two teams who have lost a combined nine consecutive games. The Mavs have dropped three straight against the Knicks, Bobcats and Timberwolves while the visiting Wizards have played six and lost six.
“If somebody said, ‘OK, 4-4, a couple of disappointing losses without Dirk and Shawn Marion, would you take it?’” Cuban said. “Yeah, we’d take it.”
Most people would concur with Cuban’s stance, .500 basketball without Dirk and Matrix is acceptable.
As the Mavericks steadily feel the void left by Nowitzki and Marion grow larger with each defeat, excuses aren’t in the cards. The Timberwolves came into the American Airlines Center Monday night extremely short-handed themselves without stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, but severely outplayed the Mavs.
This Mavs team right now isn’t in the position to take anybody lightly. We just aren’t that good. The Wizards will come in with nothing to lose and that characterizes the most dangerous teams. The Mavs sit in a vulnerable spot and a hungry Wiz group can probably smell it. To avoid disaster in providing the Wizards their first victory of the season,Dallas will need to shake it up a little within its roster.
Coach Carlisle has mentioned he’s a fan of the way guard/forward Dahntay Jones plays the game. Jones is hardnosed and brings a tough, aggressive attitude. Rookie Jae Crowder has been quiet over the losing streak and it’s very possible Rick experiments using Jones with the starters and Crowder off the bench. Crowder’s offensive numbers have slipped and opposing small forwards are filling up the stat sheet.
Another change that will take place according to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com is that center Chris Kaman will make his first regular season start for the Mavs. Kaman was expected to start from the beginning, but injuries changed that until now. It will be seen who starts at power forward because Carlisle has made it known he’s not fond of pairing Kaman and Elton Brand to begin games. Wright has played extremely well early and could get the nod if Carlisle wants to use Brand as a reserve.
The Mavs need be in attack mode from the tip. Aggression draws fouls. If you get the Wizards into the penalty early each quarter, the free throw line becomes your friend. We have the personnel to get the job done. Collison did attack the rim well in Monday’s loss despite missing on a dunk and a few chippies. O.J. Mayo, Roddy Beaubois and Vince Carter all need to follow suit.
Carter tends to take much heat from Mavs fan due to his volume shooting or ill-timed attempts. Fans complaints are warranted to an extent, but it’s not all on VC. Carter’s situation is similar to some bubble gum you throw in your mouth, the flavor’s robust and sweet for a short while, but the longer it’s in your mouth that sweet flavor loses its pizazz. Carter plays his best effective basketball in a contained role, not extended minutes. However, the injuries to Dirk and Trix have led to expanded court time for the 35-year-old vet.
This isn’t solely on Carter or any one Maverick, basketball is a team game. These guys win and lose together. Each and every player that sees the court needs to be ready to play with the will to be better than the opponent. The Mavs collectively have been outworked over the past three games. You can’t win often in the NBA when you don’t outplay your competition.
“I think the bottom line is that if guys aren’t playing with a collective toughness and a collective will, all these lineups are going to be horse (bleep) really,” Carlisle said. “I can’t put it any more succinctly.”
You have to love how straightforward and blunt Coach is when it comes to just about anything. If our guys follow his lead and work to meet his expectations for them, Mavs will succeed and get back into the left column. This losing thing is getting old.
The Mavericks and Wizards tip at 7:30 p.m. CT and will air on both FSSW and CSMA.