In the early third of the season, Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle has preached sustainably and improvement. How does that work when you have five days off in-between games and the holiday season wraps up? If you're the Mavericks, who have won 16 out of their last 17 games, you take a few days off and then you have a competitive and lively practiced with scrimmages sprinkled inside of it. "This is an unusual break for this time of the year," said Rick Carlisle. "We're trying to get the most out of it in terms of an opportunity to rest and spend time with family in the one hand and the other hand, have a hard practice day and try to keep the edge...It's a bit like an All-Star break really."
"This is an unusual situation," Carlisle said. "This is uncharted territory for me, I've never had a five-day break at Christmas time. It's great that we could go in to it on a bit of a roll, but we don't take anything for granted and we know the challenges ahead. We know it's going to get very busy coming out of this so we've got to make sure that our preparation is appropriate, aggressive and we've got to continue along the same tact."
Rick Carlisle mentioned that they caught this situation when they looked at the schedule and started brainstorming to find the best scenario to allow the team to have the best of both worlds of holiday and work. They had a nice practice today, will take Christmas Day off and then have a light workout on Sunday before heading to Oklahoma City to battle the Thunder on Monday night.
"I think (the break) is great," Tyson Chandler said while discussing the idea of the holiday break. "A lot of times during the holiday season, if you're playing games, you can lose focus because you're distracted on everything else; you've got family in town, you've got to do Christmas shopping, you've got to do this and that. It's good to have this break at this time and not play until after Christmas, because it allows us to get Christmas out of the way and then refocus on what we have to do."
Mavericks guard Jason Terry echoed the idea of the break being a blessing in disguise, "Sometimes it's good to get away from it and then get back into it a little later and now you're still hungry." The fact that they had practice on Friday and will have another one before playing the Thunder on Monday night, it almost seems like it's not an All-Star break but it seems like a Training Camp scenario.
"(Friday) was phenomenal," said Jason Terry. "We hadn't had a good practice like this for about a month and a half. I think it was good for us, we pushed the legs out and you're still competitive, you could see the guys really hungry. By the time we play Oklahoma City, we're going to be ready for a game because we're going to be tired of seeing each other."
Roddy Beaubois Watch
For the coach of a team that is 23-5, what does that coach want for Christmas? "Good Health," Carlisle said when asked the holiday-themed question. For the players we've seen on the court, there aren't any major injury concerns. For the player we haven't seen this season, Roddy Beaubois, the waiting game will continue. Beaubois broke a bone in his left foot in August as he was practicing with the French National team. He had surgery a few days later. After one comeback attempt landed his foot back in a protective boot for a couple more weeks, the team has taken on an extremely cautious approach with Beaubois. "There's no timetable, we'll let you know when there's something imminent," said Carlisle when asked about how the French second-year guard is progressing. "We're going to be very cautious about (bringing Roddy back) and we're going to continue to be conservative with it, and when there's time to report something we'll let everybody know." Roddy is still not jogging or running on the court and when he's on the floor with the team during practices, he's only permitted to take set shots.
"He’s a guy that we feel fits in," Carlisle said. "We feel that he’s a different kind of weapon. But, we’re a long way from a conversation about him playing any time soon."