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Rest, rust, whatever, Mavs happy to start

5/16/2011



DALLAS -- On the eighth consecutive day without playing a basketball game, the Dallas Mavericks continue to sound like a football team in training camp waiting for that first preseason game and salivating to finally smack somebody in a different colored jersey.

"Yesterday the scrimmage got a little chippy," center Tyson Chandler said. "So, it was obvious that we’re ready to play somebody else."

The Mavs are saying all the right things about their long layoff when it comes to the rest vs. rust debate. Let's just be clear, idling for nine days as Game 1 finally arrives Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center is just too long. Expect some rust. The question is just how quickly it will come off. If the Mavs keep the score close through the first half, it would certainly bode well for them.

Dallas made a living during the regular season and in the playoffs of hanging close for three quarters and then letting their defense take over in the final six minutes, typically leading to transition offense.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle certainly is expecting the Oklahoma City Thunder's just-completed seven-game series to set them back after just one day of rest.

"Most of their guys are 22 years old," Carlisle said.

That's true. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are 22. James Harden is 21. You've got to go to Nazr Mohammed, 33, and Nick Collison, 30, to find a couple of guys whose age starts with the number three.

This is easily the longest break between games this season for Dallas. The All-Star break wast just five days, or one day less than what would have been the Mavs' rest had the Western Conference finals started Sunday. After the All-Star break, Dallas dismantled the Utah Jazz by 19 points and won five in a row.

Game 1 is obviously a huge target for the visitors. Since 1964, 18 teams that have had eight more days off between series and are 9-9 in Game 1, but have won 11 of the series.

"I think the big thing is we feel good," point guard Jason Kidd said. "We’re happy we’re starting the series. We would have liked to have started it on Sunday, but now it starts here. The rest that we’ve had is over with. We’ve got to start playing basketball."