Shawn Marion: We got slaughtered on boards

DALLAS -- After mentioning that he thought the Mavs held their ground on the glass Monday night, Shawn Marion asked what the rebounding numbers were.

Well, Matrix, the Hornets had a 62-40 edge.

“What?!” Marion replied.

Um, 62-40.

“Was it really?” he asked.

Someone handed Marion the evidence, a box score from the Mavs’ 87-74 victory. There it was in black and white: The Hornets, led by rookie Anthony Davis’ 17 boards, grabbed 22 more rebounds than the Mavs.

Pretty ridiculous, right?

“Oh my god,” said Marion, whose 12 rebounds by far led the Mavs. “Man, we got slaughtered on the boards.”

Hey, that tends to happen when the two 7-footers a team counts on to play about a combined 60 minutes per night aren’t available. But the Mavs can’t afford to use that as an excuse.

Dirk Nowitzki will miss at least the first couple of weeks of the regular season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. If recent history is any guide, Chris Kaman will miss several games during the season, although he’s optimistic he’ll recover from his strained right calf in time to play in next week’s season opener.

The Mavs plan to play a lot of smallball this season, even when the 7-footers are healthy, so they better figure out how to avoid getting their butts kicked on the glass. Coach Rick Carlisle assures that it will be a “continuing area of focus” for his team.

As Marion noted, rebounding has been a problem around these parts. The Mavs ranked 21st in the NBA in rebounding differential (minus-1.1) last season.

The Mavs might be able to live with minus-1.1. Minus-22 will usually be a losing ticket.

“Ain’t a lot of nights you can win games when you give up 20 offensive rebounds, man,” Marion said. “We’ve got to find a way to help each other and get it done. We’ve got to make it happen.”