NBA Power Rankings
Mavs Running Out Of Time
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks have lost six of 11 and two in a row. They can't stop anyone and lately they can't even hold on to the ball. Shawn Marion, the club's most dependable defender, is on the shelf for at least one game and possibly more, and only five games remain to get a grip on things before the playoffs begin.
Dirk Nowitzki listened to the lengthy list of ills and nodded his head.
"I always like having something to play for at the end and having a good rhythm going into the playoffs. For me, it's another perfect year, just like last year," Nowitzki said without smiling, winking or wiping away any dripping sarcasm from his voice. "I feel great, I have a good rhythm and I'm looking forward to the playoffs. And, teamwise, I think it should be the same. We should perform on a high level now and come together."
Now would be a good time considering the Mavs are challenging the slumping Denver Nuggets for fastest free fall to end the regular season. The No. 2 seed, not long ago seemingly in Dallas' control, is up for grabs. Even the Southwest Division crown remarkably remains in play with those sneaky San Antonio Spurs surging from behind.
"Just a little inconsistent. Other than that I'm not really worried," Nowitzki said. "If we [pick it up] more defensively we have a chance to beat anybody at home or on the road, and I think we've showed that so far. The only problem is if we're slacking defensively we can basically lose to anybody, too. So, it's a fine line and we have to be aware of that."
The final five-game run begins Wednesday at the American Airlines Center against the Memphis Grizzlies. When the Mavs saw Memphis last week, they had to save themselves from a devastating defeat with a double-digit comeback in the last half of the fourth quarter.
And before turning out the lights Saturday night at the AAC after a demoralizing loss to Oklahoma City, Nowitzki sidestepped a question asking if the team has confidence in one another, Jason Kidd questioned if the Mavs are as good as they think they are and Jason Terry, frustrated with his fourth-quarter benching, criticized the team's "plan of attack."
All in the course of a season, Kidd said coolly, even as the course is about to run out.
"The big thing is we're not panicking. We know what we have to address," Kidd said. "We're together, that's not a question. Frustration is going to be something that happens throughout a season. We can only address it and move on, do our work and get ready to come on Wednesday."
Schedule: Wednesday, April 7
NBA Today: 4/7
Ryen Russillo talks with the NBA on ABC's Hubie Brown and Hall of Famer George Gervin. Plus, Russillo shares his "Tales from the Couch."
Spurs-Suns Game Notes
• San Antonio enters tonight's game with a 20-18 road record. With one more win in its last three road games, it will register a winning record on the road for the 13th consecutive season. That would break the NBA record for consecutive seasons with a winning record on the road that the Spurs currently share with the Lakers (12 straight from 1979-80 through 1990-91).
• Steve Nash has assisted on 256 of Amare Stoudemire's baskets this season. That's the most assists any player has on a particular teammate's buckets this season.
• Nash enters tonight's action leading the league in assists with 11 per game. If he maintains his lead, he will become the oldest player in NBA history to lead the league in assists. That distinction currently belongs to John Stockton, who led the league with 11.2 apg in 1995-96 at 34 years, 25 days old (Nash will be 36 years, 66 days old on the last day of this season).
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