- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – How the heck does a 7-footer play 25 minutes without grabbing a single rebound?
“He’s very good at doing difficult things,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joked about Dirk Nowitzki, who lit it up offensively but had a zero in the rebound category in Monday’s preseason loss to the Orlando Magic.
Though Carlisle briefly made light of them, the Mavs’ rebounding woes are no laughing matter. They got dominated on the glass by the Magic, who had a 54-32 rebounding margin. It didn’t help that small forward Shawn Marion, the Mavs’ leading rebounder the last two seasons, got a planned night off, but that kind of butt-kicking on the boards is inexcusable under any circumstances.
Jae Crowder, who started in Marion’s spot, managed to grab only one rebound in 21 minutes. It’s never a good thing when a team’s starting forwards combine to grab a grand total of one rebound.
“At 7 foot, it’s actually hard not to get a rebound,” Nowitzki said. “I did a good job running the other way when the ball came. I’ve got some stuff to work on. You should never leave the game with no rebounds and we got killed on the glass, so gotta get better.”
It put a spotlight on one of the Mavs’ major problems from last season. Only two teams had worse average rebounding margins than Dallas (minus-3.7).
Carlisle is determined to do something about it.
“We did live rebounding drills [Tuesday] in practice, which I hate doing because there’s a lot of banging, a lot of bodies flying around,” said Carlisle, whose team plays a road preseason game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. “But we needed to do it. We needed to make a point. When the ball’s in the air, we’ve got to go get it. If we don’t, we’re not going to win. It’s pretty simple.”