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Sunday, May 15, 2011
A scrimmage, then a game and an opponent

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks wrapped up a pretty intense intrasquad scrimmage Sunday morning, the seventh consecutive day without a game or an opponent, as they await Game 7.

Now it's off to a TV set to watch the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder battle it out. The winner advances to the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is 8 p.m. Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center.

"I was thinking about going out to eat, but I’m tired after this practice," J.J. Barea said. "I’m going to go sit on my couch, get some good food and watch the game."

Shawn Marion tweeted that he's devouring turkey burgers. Healthy.

How about you, Dirk Nowitzki?

"I watched them all so far. They’ve been very competitive games, fun to watch. I’m definitely going to watch this afternoon. And I’ll watch tonight’s game, too. It’s a fun time to be still playing. We’re one of four teams still in the hunt and it’s fun to watch the other games and still have that playoff fever. We’re happy we’re still playing. But obviously our goal is still higher."

Still unable to focus in one opponent, the Mavs continued their three-key approach in today's scrimmage.

To review, here's coach Rick Carlisle: "Transition defense, rebounding and efficiency with the ball. Those are the key major areas of the next series."

He's serious about it too. In Sunday's blue-white scrimmage, points were taken off the board for turnovers, offensive rebounds allowed and situations when people didn’t run back.

"There’s going to be a consequence once we get into this series if we make those mistakes," Carlisle said. "So we put some consequences on it in practice, and guys responded well."

At any rate, in a few more hours, the Mavs will have their opponent. And the countdown will finally begin.

"We’ve done a great job all week practicing and staying ready, staying focused," Barea said.

More to come once either the Thunder or Grizz advance.