- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Coach Rick Carlisle can’t recall ever seeing an eight-game homestand on a team’s schedule during his three decades in the NBA.
The Mavericks don’t leave Dallas the rest of the month, beginning their marathon homestand Monday night against the Boston Celtics. The Mavs play every other day at the American Airlines Center over the next two weeks before getting a couple of days off entering the April 1 matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
“There’s opportunity here, but it’s going to be very challenging, too,” Carlisle said. “We’re going to have to work to keep our edge every day and every night. We’ll find out a lot about our character. The ability to keep that edge is one of the signs of competitive character. We’re going to have to have it.”
Dirk Nowitzki mentioned that the homestand could be “dangerous” if the Mavs get comfortable and relax. They’re 21-10 at home this season and need every win they can get to improve their odds of earning a playoff berth and perhaps even move up the West standings.
“It’s not like we’re playing a bunch of teams that are under .500,” Nowitzki said. “There are some heavy hitters coming, especially at the end of this homestand.”
Five of the Mavs’ eight foes are above .500, including a few West playoff teams: the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Warriors. The Denver Nuggets, one of the losing teams that will visit, are a tough matchup for the Mavs, as evidenced by Dallas’ defensive debacle in Denver earlier this month.
“We need to take advantage of home,” Vince Carter said. “We’ve played pretty well at home, but it’s one game at a time.”
19hMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon
1dMicah Adams, ESPN Stats & Information