Monday, January 24, 2011
Mavs look to steady ship on homestand
By Jeff Caplan
Tuesday kicks off four games and a full week at home for the weary Dallas Mavericks. This team is eager to put the past behind and build off Saturday's win at New Jersey that ended an otherwise brutal stretch in which six of their last seven games and 11 of 17 were on the road.
"We’re going home, got some home games, some practice time. We’ve got to take advantage of it," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’ve got to build on our last three games. We’ve played better basketball and we’re getting healthy."
That practice time begins Monday and the Mavs might have a new teammate participating. Peja Stojakovic is expected to sign today, owner Mark Cuban said Saturday night. But, that all depends on the process regarding the league-delayed trade of center Alexis Ajinca that would open a roster spot for Stojakovic.
What normally would be a fun way to start a homestand with the Los Angeles Clippers in town Tuesday is suddenly a much more difficult task with stud rookie Blake Griffin making a hard push for an All-Star spot while making the other L.A. team a much tougher out.
Dallas is looking to get back their winning ways and start chipping away at the San Antonio Spurs' 8 1/2-game lead in the Southwest Conference. San Antonio plays 11 of its next 12 on the road starting tonight. The Mavs have not strung a pair of wins together since Jan. 2-4.
"We're close to getting our mojo back," guard Jason Terry said. After the Laker game we felt a little something. Chicago game we figured if we got to the fourth quarter, execute a little better, we win that one and now we’re really high. Coming into [New Jersey] was a must-win, we can’t lose this one, I don’t care what the score is, how close it was, we had to win it and the fashion that we did that builds your confidence. Things are good. We stayed positive through all this and [now] we've got a big homestand."