Mavs to keep it simple in opener
December, 24, 2011
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks wrapped up their final practice before Sunday's season opener against the Miami Heat by taking the workout off the basement practice floor and onto the game floor of the American Airlines Center.
Overhead, space was carved between the franchise's 2006 Western Conference championship banner and other banners for retired numbers for the 2010-11 NBA championship banner that will rise during a ceremony prior to the 1:30 tip against the Miami Heat.
Dallas will debut a new starting lineup that is likely to include Vince Carter and a revamped bench featuring Lamar Odom (who could possibly start, but will likely play behind Shawn Marion), Delonte West, Brandan Wright and possibly Sean Williams (if he is active). The Heat will be the same team as a year ago starring the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Heat's continuity -- not to mention their motivation to come out swinging against the team that knocked them out of the finals -- would figure to be a significant advantage in Sunday's game.
"We’re ready, we’re ready," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle assured after Saturday's practice. "All things considered, we’re all in the same boat, we got 15-16 days to put things together and it’s going to be about simplicity and execution and sticking to our principles and executing our principles. If we do that, we’ll be in good shape."
Not much was learned from the Mavs' two preseason games against Oklahoma City. Neither one featured the full roster and the Mavs fell behind by 23 points in the third quarter of both games. The Heat split two preseason games against the Magic, winning in a blowout and losing after surrendering a 14-point halftime lead.
Dallas will stick with fundamentals Sunday because it simply hasn't had enough time to implement much.
"We’ve got to make sure we’re pushing the ball at all times," Carlisle said. "We’ve got to make sure our disposition is strong defensively and offensively, and it’s a helluva challenge on opening day."