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Saturday, January 30, 2010
Mavs must be smarter on defense

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- The Mavericks' defense this month has been simply unacceptable.

Coach Rick Carlisle made defense the focus of training camp. The Mavs responded with by starting the season with two strong months, ranking in the league's top six or seven in defensive efficiency.

Then came January. The Mavs are allowing their opponents to shoot 48 percent from the floor this month, which ranks near the bottom of the league.

"We’re still right there to be solid, but we’ve got to be steadfast about the commitment," Carlisle said. "It’s work. It’s work."

Erick Dampier's knee problem has been an issue, but Carlisle isn't satisfied with his team's defensive decision-making this month. He used a play in the fourth quarter of Thursday's loss as an example: Jason Terry gambled for a steal, allowing Goran Dragic to get wide open for a 3-pointer that sparked the Suns' run.

"It's a percentage game," Carlisle said. "You've got to be aggressive, but you have to have the right balance of aggression and discretion."