When you are in the midst of a rough patch, simple adjustments can be made in an attempt to get things back in gear. The Dallas Mavericks are looking to do that with a simple tweak on Sunday as they prepare to face the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks took Saturday as a day to review film and see what went wrong in the game against the San Antonio Spurs. On a typical game-day such as Sunday, the Mavericks would have a morning shootaround around 10 or 11 am. That is not the case on Sunday as they will take the court at 4:15, just over two hours before their 6:30 tip off against the Golden State Warriors.
Teams go through rough patches like the Mavericks are currently in, just look at the Boston Celtics at the moment. Dallas is struggling with starting games/quarters, their small forwards can't stay healthy and brain farts are running rampant. If the Mavericks want to reach their ultimate goal, they will need to find a way to get out of their rut.
Turnovers were a major issue for the Mavericks earlier in the season and it has reappeared as of late. They have turned the ball over 47 times in their three recent losses to the Los Angeles Lakers (13 turnovers), Portland Trail Blazers (15) and to the San Antonio Spurs (19). In those three games, the Mavericks turned it over 20 times more than their opponents. The opposition averaged 22.7 points off of turnovers during that span.
Here is a quick breakdown showing how the Mavericks are faring in the turnover department compared to recent years:
|Season||Turnovers Averaged||Overall Ranking in the League|
|2007-2008||12.1 turnovers per game||6th best in the NBA|
|2008-2009||12.2 turnovers per game||7th best in the NBA|
|2009-2010||12.4 turnovers per game||4th best in the NBA|
|2010-2011||13.3 turnovers per game||11th best in the NBA|
The numbers do not lie, turnovers are an issue. Dallas has had issues with even the simple situations like getting an entry pass to Dirk Nowitzki. Whenever pressure comes, they seem to fumble the ball off of their feet or throw a careless pass. If you mix an increased amount of turnovers with them coming at critical moments of the game, it is a clear recipe for disaster.
The Mavericks have averaged 14.5 turnovers/game during the month of March (10 games). Out of those 14.5 turnovers, 9.0 of them are coming from the group of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Rodrigue Beaubois. Kidd is the biggest culprit with 2.8 turnovers/game in the month of March while Beaubois has the fewest average out of the foursome with 1.5 turnovers/game.
The schedule has been a grind for the Mavericks but things are going to lighten up as they will have Monday off before two intense practices on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for their home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. After that game, the Mavericks will hit the road for a grueling nine-day/six-game West coast trip that will have the Mavericks face teams such as the Jazz, Suns, Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Lakers. The final match-up against the Lakers will be the last chance the Mavericks have in order to make headway in the race for the No. 2 seed; the Lakers currently hold a one-game lead over the Mavericks. "Right now this stretch of games is very tough, the travel, a lot of different kinds of teams, it's going to challenge us in a lot of different ways and that’s good for us right now," Rick Carlisle said. "We've got to win as many as we can."
Coach Carlisle has always preached that it does not matter if you are in the middle of a winning streak or a losing streak, there is a fine line that can push you in the other direction. Dallas will need to regain their focus, make smarter decisions and protect the basketball. If they are able to correct those, the positive results should follow. A slumping team is looking for a spark. A simple tweak such as mixing things up with shootarounds could help lay the groundwork to get things back on track; it certainly could not make things that much worse.
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