For the Mavericks, the emphasis continues to be on defense and rebounding and the Rockets will provide a solid test in both areas as they are capable of lighting it up on the scoreboard, even without Yao Ming. "How we start is very important," said Coach Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks have had issues as of late when it comes to allowing quick starts and that is forcing them in to situations where they have to exert even more energy to get back in games.
"We’re concentrating on better starts," Carlisle said. "It was a priority coming into the season. We did real well with it the first third of the season. We had periods where we didn’t do so great. Now, it’s another area of emphasis. Right now, that’s one of our big priorities." The Mavericks believe that the slow starts should be rectified due to the fact they are starting games with some of their best defensive players on the roster.
As usual, Tyson Chandler echoed the coach's statements in regards to the defensive end of the court. "We need to turn it up now defensively," Chandler said. "We had a great practice (Wednesday). We were scrambling around, talking and in the right spots defensively. And that’s what we’re gonna need."
They are going to need it going up against the Rockets who have emerged as a potent scoring team, averaging just over 105 points/game. "We’ve got to kind of close the books on the Clippers game and really get ready for a really sophisticated, high-scoring offense in Houston," Carlisle said. "They present some real challenges." With the fact that their offense can light up the scoreboard, it is important that the Mavericks make a stronger start on the defensive end of the court.
Carlisle has always believed that if the Mavericks perform well on defense, the offense will be fine as they can then run their flow offense which consists of little to no play-calling. "It's great to score points, but in the big picture, our precision defensively is something we're always looking at," Carlisle said. "When you don't get off to a good defensive start it puts you in a hole offensively. One thing is kind of a negative feedback thing on the other."
The Mavericks catch somewhat of a break as Rockets have to go through the remainder of the season without their star, Yao Ming. Does Tyson Chandler have any compassion for the Rockets having to cope without their franchise star? "No, not at all," Chandler said with a smile.
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