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Mavs, Nowitzki Ready to Make Playoff Push

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The Mavericks are ready to hit the road to play their next three games, starting against the Washington Wizards on Saturday. On paper, the three games against Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia sound more than workable for Dallas but we know that games are not won or lost on paper. The NBA Trade Deadline came and went on Thursday and the Mavericks decided to stick with the current lineup and use that cast of characters to make the playoff push. Jason Terry mentioned on Thursday that the lack of a move instills even more confidence in the team.

Dirk Nowitzki spoke to the media on Friday and discussed what he thought when he found out that the team remained in tact and will go forward as is. "This is what we wanted," Nowitzki said. "We feel like we're healthy minus Caron (Butler). But other than that, Peja (Stojakovic) is looking good. Roddy (Beaubois) is coming back, getting his legs back. So, we're looking forward to a strong finish here and hopefully a long playoff push."

As of late, the performance on the court definitely gave confidence to everyone in the organization that everything would be OK as they have won four of its last five games. The Mavericks have now shot over 50 percent from the field in five straight games, marking the first time they have done so since March 28, 2004-April 6, 2004. Dallas has scored 100-plus points in 13 of its last 14 games. They are averaging 114.4 points per game on 54.9 percent shooting over the last five games. To further show that the offense is clicking, at least five Mavericks have scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games. Dallas is 28-4 when at least five players score 10-plus points.

"I think we showed it over the last couple of weeks that we have enough weapons offensively, we're scoring on any team," Nowitzki said. The offense is clicking, but Nowitzki also knows that the other end of the court has been suffering in the process. "We're slacking a little bit defensively and we can get better there," Nowitzki added. "Sometimes when you put the ball in the basket all of the time, sometimes your focus on defense gets away a little bit and you seem to relax a little bit. We're at our best when we get stops and push the ball."

One of the keys to success on both ends of the floor will be Roddy Beaubois. Nowitzki has been a major supporter of Beaubois and was itching to see him get back on the court. The feeling is that Beaubois is gaining confidence as he has returned to the court, but Nowitzki is not ready to make the call in saying that Beaubois is all the way back. "It's only been two or three games now, so I really haven't seen enough to make that judgment," Nowitzki said. "I want to see more and be consistent over a long period of time and we can talk about it, but he has been OK." The forward mentioned that Beaubois was incredibly active in practice on Friday and that he has noticed improvement in the guard's ability to play the point guard position. Nowitzki recognizes that Beaubois is making better decisions at that position and is trying to make his teammates better. The French guard, who turned 23 on Thursday, will need to be ready to flip a switch and be ready to play either guard position depending who is on the court with him at that time.

"I believe he’s made great strides considering he missed six-and-a-half months with an injury," Coach Rick Carlisle said of Beaubois. "He’s a student of the game. He watches our team closely, even when he’s been out. He knows what’s going on. He realizes expectations are high and he knows how he fits into what we’re doing and how he can help us. And it’s just important for me and the staff to bring him along at the right pace."

The game against the Washington Wizards in the nation's capital will tip off at 7 pm CST.


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