Mavs' challenge: Avoid Game 2 letdown

DALLAS -- There was a lot of laughing after the Mavs wrapped up practice, as teammates cracked up while watching Dirk Nowitzki goof his way through some extracurricular shooting competitions.

The Mavs are relaxed with a 1-0 lead over Portland in the series. But they vow not to be too relaxed for Game 2, with the Mavs well aware that the Trail Blazers will likely crank up the intensity a couple of notches in an effort to avoid a two-game hole.

"That's always a challenge," coach Rick Carlisle said. "The team that wins the first game, there's always a human nature tendency to let up. We've been working on not letting that happen."

The Mavs don't have to look far for a lesson.

As Nowitzki noted immediately after Game 1, the Mavs let the Spurs split the first two games at the American Airlines Center in last season's first round, handing the Mavs a 102-88 loss in Game 2. Dallas didn't recover from that letdown, losing the next two games in San Antonio before ultimately getting eliminated in six.